Competitive swimmer Dorothy Dickey, 94, finds joy in and out of the pool

webnexttech | Competitive swimmer Dorothy Dickey, 94, finds joy in and out of the pool

Ninety-four-year-old Dorothy Dickey has just stepped out the pool after an 800m swimming race, which she travelled across the country to compete in. She leans in and tells me a secret. The Melburnian was simply enjoying herself so much at the Masters Swimming National Championships in Darwin, she didn’t want it to end. “The most beautiful swim, the water quality was fantastic, the weather was perfect …. I couldn’t race, it was so nice,” she says. “[My] time was pathetic — 17 seconds slower than I should’ve done.” ‘Dose of chlorine every day does world of good’ These days, Dorothy uses a walker to get around on land, but being in the water she feels totally free. “It’s beautiful because there’s no pressure, when you’re walking you’ve got pressure on your back,” she says. In and out of the pool, she is full of vitality and often asked about the source of her energy. “It must be the chlorine,” she jokes. More seriously, she says finding and keeping motivation is key. “Thank goodness I’ve got it,” she says. “Once you get down there [to the pool], you have a cup of coffee afterwards, a chat with everybody and that’s where the fun is. “Fun, fitness and friendship: that’s what masters is all about.” Jetsetting swimmer Masters swimming — basically the only way to compete in swimming after schooling years — has seen Dorothy travel across the country and the world since her daughter convinced her to join her swim club about 40 years ago. “I’ve been with them ever since, it was the best thing I ever did,” Dorothy says. “I’ve travelled all around Australia, and I’ve done some international ones — the world masters — England, Tokyo, there’s too many to think of. “A lot of new friends, a lot more parties and just a very good life”. Doncaster Dolphins president Caroline Clarkson says Dorothy is a role model for other members. “She is an inspiration to stay in the sport, we can see from her example how important it is to be able to participate in a sport like swimming later in life,” she says. When asked how competitive their oldest club member is, Caroline laughs and says “super competitive”. “When you look at her on the world stage and the times she is doing, they’re still pretty jolly good for somebody who is 94.” Dorothy shows no signs of stopping swimming yet, with her sights set on a new age category next year. “I’ve just got to keep going until then — I’ll see how I go anyway. “This age, you just play it day by day, enjoy every minute.”

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