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Valley retiree celebrates 91st birthday with one-mile swim

Nancy Moore swimming
Posted at 8:55 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 13:30:19-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Swimming a mile in the pool of a retirement community is no small feat for a woman who is 91 years old, but for Nancy Moore, this swim was a lot easier than the ones she is most proud of.

At the age of 71, Moore wanted to show the world that turning 70 was not really a big deal, so she signed up for the Alcatraz "Sharkfest" Swim and decided to go for the 1.8-mile swim across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island. She made it till the end, and she even beat several swimmers who were much younger than her. Since then, Moore swam across to Alcatraz Island two more times.

Now, a resident at Westminster Village, a retirement community in Scottsdale, Moore decided she was going to ring in her 91st birthday by showing her family and friends she's still got it.

Moore decided to swim one mile in the pool, which is 58 laps, but just to be sure, Moore said she would swim 60.

The swim began at around 10 a.m. Monday morning. Dozens of friends from the retirement community gathered under the hot Arizona sun, in triple-digit heat to watch Moore swim.

Staff at Westminster Village brought treated everyone to icy cold beverages, and cool treats like watermelon, fruit kabobs, and yogurt parfaits. Many Westminster Village residents showed up with pom-poms, ready to cheer on their friend.

Using hand paddles, Nancy started her swim and kept going at a steady pace, changing up her stroke every so often. Every time she completed a lap, there was a loud cheer from the crowd, with friends screaming "go, Nancy, go."

Swimming across the retirement community pool was much easier than swimming across the ocean. Moore's daughter Jennifer Unger said, her mother faced some tough conditions during the Alcatraz "Sharkfest" Swim.

"You know the water is filthy, the currents are high. The waves are so high. You can't see anybody in front of you. It's difficult," said Unger. She added that the water was slicked with oil from the ships and infested with sharks.

Despite the brutal conditions, her mother did not give up and just kept swimming.

Moore learned how to swim at a YMCA with water wings as a child living in Kansas City, Missouri. She told ABC15 that she had a best friend who lived across the lake, and she would often row or swim a mile across the lake to visit her friend.

In college and in her community, Moore took part in fun swim competitions, but it was not until she turned 70 that swimming became something more than "fun and games." It also keeps her young.

To date, Nancy is the oldest woman to have completed the Alcatraz "Sharkfest" Swim.

So, swimming across a resort-style pool was, even 20 years later, is a piece of cake for the spunky young woman.

"Oh, it gives you a high. I don't drink so I don't know what a real high is, but it's a high when you finish something, yeah," said Moore.

Moore mentioned Jack LaLanne, a motivational speaker and fitness guru as an influential figure in her life, and also one who inspired her to swim across to Alcatraz Island after watching LaLanne do it at the age of 60.

Even after her swim, Moore was not done yet. While many may have considered taking a nap after a long swim, Moore had other plans.

"I feel good. I was asked to go play ping pong with this guy so I have to leave now," said Moore as she wrapped her interview with ABC15 and walked off for some more competitive fun.