If there’s one thing you can say about the 2015 Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year, it’s that Janet Brown and Rudy Vazmina produce results when they show up at the golf course and the swimming pool. The pair of veteran Florida Senior Games athletes will be recognized for their efforts at their respective competition venues during the 25th Annual Florida Senior Games, to be held December 3-11, in Clearwater.
Besides winning gold medals in 12 of the last 13 years in women’s golf competition, Janet Brown, of Lakeland, shot the overall lowest women’s score, a 72 in the 2004 Florida Senior Games, in The Villages.
When the Florida Senior Games went to a 36-hole competition in 2015, there’s Janet Brown shooting the lowest two-day total of the women’s field with a 170. She carded an 85 on both days to win the gold medal in the 65-69 age group.
In her years of Florida Senior Games competitions, between 2003 and 2015, her scores have consistently ranged between 72 and 85 and have always been among the top five overall women’s scores. She also won a gold medal at the 2005 National Senior Games, with a three-day total of 239 in the 50-54 age group.
“I enjoy the fun competition of the game of golf,” said Brown, who didn’t start playing until the age of 40 with her husband. “I strive for the best and do as well as I can. The Senior Games events give me a chance to meet new people, see old friends and try new courses. When you play with good people, that helps you.”
Florida Senior Games swimmers are limited to six events over the course of two days of competition and in 2015, Rudy Vazmina, of Sarasota won six gold medals in the 65-69 age group and set records in four events (50, 100 and 200 breast and 100 fly).
In three of the record setting performances, he finished 10 seconds or more ahead of the second place finisher. In the 200 breast, he was the top finisher of all swimmers.
Since he began swimming in the 2012 Florida Senior Games he has dove into the pool 24 times and won 24 medals (19 gold, four silver and a bronze). In the five races he did not finish first, he was a combined 15 seconds behind the winner.
“Competing in the Florida Senior Games helps me to continue to maintain good health as I get older,” said Vazmina, a Sarasota lawyer. “I find that swimming and the cross training I do helps to reach that goal of good health.”
After qualifying at the 2012 and 2014 Florida Senior Games, Vazmina took his talents to the National Senior Games. He won a gold, two silvers and a bronze medal at the 2015 National Senior Games and two gold, a silver and two bronze medals at the 2013 National Senior Games.
By winning the 2015 Florida Senior Games Athlete of the Year Award, Brown and Vazmina become the 43rd and 44th athletes to earn the award. Brown, who will be recognized at the golf competition on Tuesday, December 6 at Countryside Country Club, is the first female athlete from Lakeland to win the award and only second overall, along with F.L. McFadden, who won in 1996. Vazmina, who will receive his award on Saturday, December 3 at the Long Center, is the first Sarasota athlete to win the award.
More than 2,500 athletes, age 50 and over, will compete in the 2016 Florida Senior Games and over 45,000 athletes have competed in the Games since its inception in 1992. For competition and extended registration deadlines for the 2016 Games, please visit www.floridaseniorgames.com, call toll-free 1-866-FL-GAMES (354-2637) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year
2014: Danuta Kubelik, Crystal River; Walt Deal, St. Petersburg
2013: Nina Hammer, Bonita Springs; Tom Bliss, Melbourne
2012: Linda Frisch, The Villages; James Richling, Port St. Lucie
2011: Essie Faria, North Miami; Segismundo Pares, Ocala
2010: Avis Vaught, The Villages; Richard Merrill, Lady Lake
2009: Patrice Hirr, The Villages; John Shultz, Inverness
2008: Suzy Nothhouse, Estero; Dean Davis, Fort Myers
2007: Claudette Braswell, Lake Wales; Larry Wallen, Jacksonville
2006: Sari Kisbany, Redington Shores; Roger Gentilhomme, Dunedin
2005: Patricia Sargeant, Melbourne; Andy McGuffin, Umatilla
2004: Lillian Webb, Sebring; Harry Carothers, Pinellas Park
2003: Madelaine “Tiny” Cazel, The Villages; James Anderson, New Port Richey
2002: Janice Lathouwers, The Villages; Allen Bjork, Sebring
2001: Sperry Rademaker, Floral City; Howard Hall, Port Charlotte
2000: Erika Messner, Clermont; Al Treichel, Spring Hill
1999: Patricia Bond, Bradenton; Gordon Johnson, Dundee
1998: Lucia Schatteleyn, Englewood; Donald Ritenour, Belleview
1997: Ethel Lehmann, Largo; Seymour Duckman, Daytona Beach
1996: Hope Fage, Largo; F.L. McFadden, Lakeland
1995: Mary Melehan, Englewood; Leonard Stone, Barefoot Bay
1994: Doris Prokopi, Land O’Lakes; Wayne Wakefield, Bradenton