Severn's Nancy Peterson insists she brought her swimsuit along "justto cool off" from eight straight days of temperatures above 90 degrees. But her husband, Jake, wouldn't have it.
Before long, Nancy was winging her way through the University of Maryland Baltimore Countypool and past her counterparts in the masters swimming competition at the seventh Maryland State Games.
Swimming in the 60-to-64 age group, the 60-year-old lovebirds each captured three gold medals.
"When we got to the pool, she still wasn't sure she would do it," said Jake.
Nancy, who was first in the 50-yard breast stroke, freestyle and backstroke, said, "I only swim for relaxation, but (Jake) was able to get me to swim because they (organizers) were taking deck entries."
As for Jake, he was first in the 100 breast stroke, 100 individual medley and the 50 breast stroke.
"It was a good feeling for me," said Jake, who won three goldmedals and one silver a year ago. "But I was more proud of my wife. She claims she's not a swimmer, but I know better."
As Nancy's performance indicates, the games are geared for just about everyone.The three-day event -- which ended Sunday -- featured competition in 24 sports, with categories from beginner to expert and no age restrictions.
There was Glen Burnie's Pam Hinkle, 31, in the women's black belt division, and Severna Park middleweight Stephen Rudge, 12, each winning gold medals in judo. In cycling, Genesee's Deborah Dudas, 33, won the gold in the senior women's category and Crofton gymnast Shannon Courtney, 8, was first in both the bars and the floor exercise.
The eldest local gold medalists in Saturday's swimming competitions were Severna Park resident Cecil Hull, 70, winning the 50 butterfly inthe 70-74 age group, and Glen Burnie resident Chuck Eremchuk, 65, who won the 50-yard butterfly, freestyle and breast stroke events in the 65-to-69 category.
Eremchuk is a five-year veteran who also competes in the Senior Olympics.
"Three of the last four years, I've taken three first-places in the games," said Eremchuk. "But I took twofirsts and a second in 1989. That was the same year I had my triple bypass."
Among the other men winning gold medals in swimming were Arnold's Ken Pollock, 58, in the 100 freestyle and backstroke and 50 freestyle, Glen Burnie's Carr Robinson, 60, in the 100 freestyle and Annapolis' Steven Jones, 32, in the 50 backstroke.
Beside Nancy Peterson, there were several other female winners, including Arnold's triple gold medalist Susan Brennan, 24, in both the 100 and 50 freestyles and the 50 butterfly.
Diane Barath, 34, and Lee Myers, 30, -- each from Pasadena -- were double winners. Barath took the 100 freestyle and individual medley and was third in the 50 freestyle, while Myers was first in the 50 freestyle and backstroke.
Annapolis' Devora Dudas, 33, won the 100 and 50 breast strokes and the 200 open. Arnold resident Elizabeth Chambers, 44, captured gold medals in the 100 freestyle and breast stroke and took second in the 50 backstroke.
Some events, like wrestling, were held at Catonsville High School on Sunday.
Heavyweight wrestler Don Marco, who will be a senior at OldMill this fall, beat Aberdeen's Aaron Wanless for gold medals in both the freestyle and Greco Roman categories.
"The first match, I slipped and was put on my back. I was about an inch from being pinned, but I got up from that and pinned him with a headlock," said Marco, who had not wrestled since his third-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament in March, which helped the Patriots win their third state title.
What made Marco's effort so impressive Sunday is that he still is recovering from the cracked sternum he suffered in the statemeet.
"I went to a camp about two weeks ago, but I was still rusty," said Marco, a county champion and regional runner-up.
He won his Greco-Roman match, 8-1, over Wanless, but added, "I'll probably see Wanless in the states next year."
Gold medalist Josh Marder (124), a student at Broadneck, used a pair of takedowns and fought off Ron Alexander's headlock to win his freestyle title, 2-1.
Marder's victory was a mild upset, since the highly touted Alexander (Chesapeake) had placed third in last winter's county tournament and had reached the freestyle finals on three pins and a 10-8 overtime decision.
"It was difficult at first, because it was my first time wrestling freestyle, and I really didn't understand it," said Marder, who captured a bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Millersville's Tim Patterson, 14, a 101-pounder, won a gold medal in the junior high division.
Other county wrestlers winning medals were Joe Stolkovich (124), of Severna Park, in the juniors freestyle category, and Khris Reina (154), of Pasadena, in the open category. Stolkovich, 14, was second, and Reina, 17, was third.