Countless medals line the walls of one dedicated swimmer in Vernon.
Mira Grypink, is competing along with her daughter, Jacquie Grypink, at the Canada 55+ Games in Brampton, Ont. all this week, starting Tuesday.
This will be her second time swimming in the Canada games, the first was two years ago in Montreal.
This year, she expects the competition will be tougher.
“I’ll have to hustle,” she said as they opened up her age group to 75-plus.
Mira has been swimming for a long time, winning her first medal at 13 in Holland.
“Back in Holland, I used to play water polo before I started swimming competitively,” she said.
She’s also been racing in the 55+ B.C. Games since it started in Vernon nearly 30 years ago. Next year, she plans to compete in Vernon again.
“I can say ‘hey, this is where I started.’”
She also set a record in British Columbia for her age group in 2012 with her time of 2:13:89 which she said she is now able to beat.
At 84, she still enjoys the feeling of competing.
“I thought I would get tired of it.”
Getting her daughter involved was exciting for Mira, as her family lacks her passion for swimming.
“I said last year, ‘hey you have to come with your mother. I need help.’ Of course, I didn’t really need the help,” she laughed.
The pair will be competing along with three other swimmers from Kelowna who will be representing B.C.
“For my age group, I’m doing good. I have loads of medals,” she said, adding that even if she doesn’t win, she’s hoping to obtain a new personal best.
Last year, she won five medals, three gold and two silver, while competing in the Huntsman World Senior Games.
Mira trains three days a week and occasionally gets private lessons. For inspiration, she draws on the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club and the Olympic swimmers.
“They’ve got some good swimmers out there.”
Mira has three children, two granddaughters, and one great grandson and granddaughter, none of whom share her love of swimming.
She remembers putting them in a swim club when they were younger, but they didn’t stick with the sport. However, both daughters were lifeguards.
Jacquie, 56, is a teacher’s aid at Hillview elementary school.
In her spare time, Mira is an avid walker and gardener and although she notes that she’s bad with names, she creates games to keep her memory sharp.
While in Ontario, the pair plan to visit Niagara Falls.