Swimming has become more than just a hobby for Wilma Turner.
Since she learned to swim as a child in Peru, it has become an important part of who she is.
“My dad had us in the swimming pool when we were about two or three, and I swam from then on. I guess it’s my thing,” said Turner.
She started competing as a child while still living in Peru and then when her family moved to Calgary, she continued to swim.
“I took aquatic courses through the Royal Lifesaving and the Red Cross, and then I got married and moved to Nelson, and had children and I knew that swimming was going to be a part of their life. I got recertified and became a swim instructor and lifeguard,” said Turner.
She began managing pools and the guards at Lakeside Park and Gyro Park in the 1960s.
“We really decided we needed an indoor pool and I got on a committee in 1966 and it was to strive to get an indoor pool,” said Turner.
It took seven years for the indoor pool to get to a referendum in 1973, and the pool that is at the Nelson and District Community Complex is the one that Turner helped create.
“It was managed for a few years, and it wasn’t too successful to get it going, so they came to me and said ‘Well, you wanted this pool, so what would you do different?’ They hired me as manager in 1979 and I managed until 1995,” she said.
Turner spent many years completing courses in synchronized swimming, diving, first aid and other aquatic courses.
“I loved it and a felt like that was where I really belonged,” she said.
The BC Seniors Games will be the first time that Turner has swam competitively since she was a 18 years old.
“I’ve had two knees replaced and I’ve found going back to the pool and the gym three days a week is just the best thing you can do for yourself if you want to achieve that mobility again,” she said.
“Now that I’m training for the BC Seniors Games, I’ve been going to the pool and working on what I’m going to compete in, and then I go up to the gym, and I love it.”
Turner has some nerves about competing for the first time in such a long time but feels good about the competition.
“I’ve looked at the times from last year and I feel that I’m close, but there’s no promises just a lot of positive thinking,” she said.
Swimming will take place at the Trail Aquatic Leisure Centre.