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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With 29 years and tens of thousands of athletes participating in the annual Florida Senior Games over that time, there have been some remarkable performances, in the state’s Olympic-style Sports Festival for athletes 50 and over.

These Great Moments show the dedication and passion the athletes have for, not only their sport, but for a healthy and active lifestyle.  They come from both men and women, from the 50s age groups into the 90s age groups and from athletes who may have been involved in a sport all of their lives or who have picked it up recently.

Whatever it is, they do it, more power to them and keep up the good work!

This is the first installment of more Great Moments of the Florida Senior Games.  Look for more in the coming weeks.

Andy McGuffin’s Scores First 30 for 30 Free Throw Shooting Mark in 2001
At the 2001 Florida Senior Games in Lakeland, 76-year old Andy McGuffin, of Umatilla, became the first Basketball Shooter to record a perfect 30 for 30 performance in Free Throw Shooting.  After McGuffin’s first perfecto, four other athletes matched the feat since.

Equally impressive is McGuffin’s performance from 1994 through his final performance in 2015, when he won gold medals in the 90-94 age group.  In 19 years of competition, McGuffin connected on 493 of 540 free throws for a 91.3 completion rate.

Putting his free throw accuracy in perspective, Mark Price, the NBA free throw percentage career leader connected on 94.8% of his free throws in 1992-93 when he hit 289 of 305 free throws for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  In McGuffin’s final 2015 outing, he hit 27 of 30 free throws.

U.S. Army Nurse takes Intercontinental Flight to Compete in Games
To win a pair of gold medals in the long jump and triple jump, leaping a combined 36 feet and run a combined 300 meters in less than 50 seconds, Mary Ittner traveled 13 hours in a C-17 cargo plane from Germany.

She definitely won a “Dedication Award,” for her effort at the 2012 Florida Senior Games in Lakeland.

Major Mary Ittner was serving in the U.S. Army as a nurse/clinic manager in Germany and competed in track and field events growing up in Northern Ireland. Having not competed since she was 17, she wanted to see how she has held up over the years.

To reach Lakeland’s Teneroc High School for her two events of Saturday, December 8 and two running events on December 9 at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven, she and her husband, Fritz, boarded a C-17 cargo plan on Thursday, December 6. Making a stop in Maine to refuel, they continued on to a base in Charleston, South Carolina, where they rented a car and drove to Polk County.

After the running events of Sunday, December 9, Mary and Fritz jumped back in the rental car to drive to Charleston and repeat the 17 hour flight back to Germany.

The couple chuckled as they described their waiting to see if there would be room for them on a flight and then traveling in the cargo hold “with Humvees and generators.”

An Epic Individual Medley Race at the Pool with Elite FSG Swimmers
It was a “Who’s Who” of Florida Senior Games swimming record-holders at The Long Center in Clearwater in the 200-yard individual medley 65-69 age group event of 2018.

When J. Nathan Leech, of The Villages; George Schmidt, of West Palm Beach; and Rudy Vazmina, of Sarasota climbed onto the starting blocks, the trio brought with them a combined 17 record-setting performances over their years in the Florida Senior Games.

After the first 50-yard leg of the race, the Butterfly, George Schmidt held the lead followed by Rudy Vazmina and Nathan Leech. After the second leg, the Backstroke, Leech had moved into second place and closed the gap on Schmidt in the third leg, the Breaststroke.

Entering the final leg, the Freestyle, Schmidt held a slight lead over Leech. By the time the two made the turn for the final 25 yards to the finish line, they were even.

“He looked at me, and I looked at him and we were off,” said Leech.

At the finish line, Leech touched the pad at 2:35.98 and Schmidt was right behind at 2:36.27. Vazmina came in third with a time of 2:42.34

Beaches team plays HS volunteers in Ft Myers in 2014
The Beaches volleyball team, made up of players from the Orlando area, accepted an intergenerational match challenge taking on a local youth club team, whose players had been volunteering as line judges, following its gold medal winning performance at the 2014 Games in Fort Myers.

The team was a compilation of 15-18 year old players from Naples and Fort Myers who compete in USA South Volleyball.  Coached by Ron Ritchie, the team, who defeated the VB Girls 25-23, 25-21, was made up of Sarah Kearns, Alyssa Collins, Gabrielle Detrani, Rebeka Ocsody, Julie Tanner and Kaitlyn Ziegelmaier.

“They were a lot tougher than I thought they would be and were very consistent,” said Kaitlyn Ziegelmaier, after the match.  Game one was tied at 23 before the youth club team scored the final two points.

The VB Girls were led by former college players Lisa Huntley, who played at Tennessee, and Sandy Monce Garner, a University of Memphis alum.  Garner is the girl’s volleyball coach at Daytona Beach Mainland High School and Huntley is a volleyball club coordinator in Lake County.   Other members of the team included Sandy Smaltz, Lea Burgess, Teri Russo, Susie Williamson, Kathy Russell and Devon Goyer.

Segismundo Pares deadlifts 600 pounds
The photo at the left is what it looks like when an athlete lifts over 600 pounds. The feat was accomplished not once, not twice, but three times by the 2011 Florida Senior Games State Championships Male Athlete of the Year, Segismundo Pares, of Ocala.

He completed lifts of 601, 634 and 650 pounds in the deadlift competition to win the “Push/Pull Award” Games and a gold medal in the deadlift 55-59 age group.  Since Powerlifting was introduced to the Florida Senior Games in 2006, only three athletes have deadlifted over 600 pounds.

While several athletes competed with their fathers at the 2012 Games, Pares was the only one to compete alongside his mother, Maria Pares, in the Powerlifting competition.