Going for the Gold

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Gold Medal Winners Bill Powers and John Geis.

Carolina Meadows‘ own John Geis, 83, competed in the annual NC State Senior Games Championship in September, bringing home the gold in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle and the 50-yard backstroke – an impressive feat for a man who took a 62-year hiatus from the sport. An avid swimmer in high school and college, Geis stopped competing back in 1953. But this year, the call of the waters grew too loud to ignore, so he competed in the Chatham County Senior Games back in April, where he qualified for the state championship in Cary.

After qualifying, Geis knew he’d have to train diligently if he wanted to perform his best at the state finals. Geis worked on his stroke with several expert swimmers and improved his diet with help from Carolina Meadows dietitian CeCe Eckert and wellness director Michele Marino. He also credits his wife, Lou Ann, for her endless encouragement.

“I worked hard, and it paid off,” said Geis. “Not only did I win each race, but my winning times were all lower than my qualifying times, and lower than the State 2014 winners’ times in two of the four events.”

Geis was not the only Carolina Meadows resident to have a remarkable performance at the NC State Senior Games Championship. Resident Bill Powers medaled in multiple events as well, taking first place in the 400-meter dash and 5k run. Powers started his running career in his 40s and frequently participates in 5Ks around the area. Resident Jim Butcher also has a few NC State Senior Games victories under his belt.

The NC Senior Games began more than three decades ago with a vision to create a year-round health promotion and education program for North Carolinians 50 years and older. Today, there are over 60,000 participants in 53 Local Games programs that serve all 100 counties across the state. Events include swimming, track, archery, bowling, basketball, cycling and many more, as well as performance and cultural activities including dance, drama, woodworking, knitting, painting and cheerleading.

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Kayla Anderson

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