More than 30 years after retiring from competitive swimming, Gail Jonson returned to the pool – and came home from the World Masters Games (WMG) with six medals, including four gold.
As a teenager Gail, from the Criminal Justice Support Unit at Hamilton, swam for New Zealand at tournaments including the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games.
After retiring at 19 she spent ten years as a police officer, mainly in Hamilton, raised a family and later rejoined Police in a non-constabulary role.
With WMG practically on her doorstep, she could not resist – and for nearly a year put in five or six training sessions a week.
She admits being nervous beforehand – “just ask my Sergeant” – but thinks this helped her performance in the swimming events at the National Aquatic Centre, on Auckland’s North Shore.
“I absolutely loved it,” she says. “It was so well organised, the swimming was fantastic and the facilities were first-class.
“I was impressed by the number of people in all age groups. There was one 95-year-old lady – she was amazing.”