Stephen Zarzecki, a longtime Cutler Bay resident and community activist, won two silver medals in the National Senior Games swimming championship in Birmingham, AL, during the first week of June. He also placed in two other events in the 70-74 age group at the swim meet.
Zarzecki improved his best times in all four events in which he swam, earning second place silver medals in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle, earning a fourth place ribbon in the 50-yard breaststroke and an eighth place ribbon in the 100-yard breaststroke.
He was excited about his wins.
“This was the culmination of a two year effort,” Zarzecki said following the events. “To qualify for the National Championship meet, it was necessary to meet entry standards (times) at the state meet held in Clearwater, FL late last year. And, to qualify for the state meet, it was necessary to meet entry standards at the regional meet held at the Cutler Ridge Pool last year.”
The National Senior Olympics Organization, as it was initially known, was formed in 1985 in St. Louis, MO, to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport. The first National Senior Olympic Games took place in 1987 in St. Louis.
The Games, a 19-sport, biennial competition for men and women ages 50 and older, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. To date, the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) has held 15 summer national championships. This year the state of Florida placed highest in the medal count, with 226 total medals, placing above Tennessee, Texas, Ohio and California in descending order.
“I owe a lot to the lifeguards and staff of the Cutler Ridge Pool for their support and encouragement as I practiced there to prepare for these meets,” Zarzecki said. “I look forward to the next Senior Games swimming championship to be held at Albuquerque, NM in 2019. I will go for the gold in that meet.”
Cutler Bay resident Teresa Dickson had praise for Zarzecki.
“His perseverance and dedication really paid off,” she said. ”He is a good role model for senior citizens.”
For information on the National Senior Games visit nsga.com.