She believes exercising and a healthy diet make her a good role model.
Since January, Franklin has served as an ambassador to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games and Silver Arts. A four-year Senior Games participant, Franklin now speaks to groups about CMSG’s mission, which is to encourage seniors to stay physically active.
On Sept. 29, Franklin will represent Mecklenburg County at the State Senior Games in Raleigh. She will compete in six swimming events: the 100-, 200-, and 500-yard freestyle, the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, and the 100-yard backstroke.
Franklin dates her interest in good health to her childhood and attributes it to how severely her mother was stricken with multiple sclerosis.
“My mother was destroyed by MS,” Franklin said. “She was a total invalid from the time I started school. She died when I was in my mid-teens. Ever since, I’ve always had a great respect for health hygiene.”
Franklin worked 32 years as a job placement specialist for the N.C. Employment Security Commission before retiring in 2003. Since the mid-1990s she has been active in clogging and isa member of the Carolina Classic Cloggers.
In her 20s and 30s, Franklin said she found herself having to “count every calorie” to maintain her weight. Between eating a vegetarian diet, taking vitamins, and swimming regularly for exercise, Franklin says she has never been overweight.
Four years ago, she picked up a flyer at the Marion Diehl Center, where she swims recreationally, and has participated in Senior Games ever since. Her main events are track and field and swimming.
In her first year, 2009, Franklin participated in track and field at Alexander Graham Middle School and advanced to the State Senior Games in three events. The following year, Franklin qualified for the state meet but she did not compete because of another commitment.
Last year, Franklin earned medals in three swim events at the State Senior Games. She took bronze medals in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke and a silver in the 500-yard freestyle.
“At last year’s state games, after I would swim a heat, everyone was so friendly,” Franklin said. “No one would ask ‘how did you place?’ They would ask ‘how did your time compare against yourself?’
“If you are doing an individual sport, you (should try to) only compete against yourself. I don’t have the swimmers build. I’m not a Michael Phelps. But I do love it.”
Even-numbered years also serve as qualifying years for the national Senior Games, something Franklin hadn’t experienced until this year.
She’ll compete in the 65-69 year old age group.
“I think where I figure I have any chance,” she said. “… is that I’m in the younger division of my age group which can give you a little advantage. The fact I’m doing the longer events … I don’t think people tend to do those events. A lot of people are doing the sprints.”
Next year’s national Senior Games will be in Cleveland in July.
Franklin has also been involved on the Silver Arts side of Senior Games. In three of her four years, Franklin has performed at the local level with the Carolina Classic Cloggers.
Outside of Senior Games and Silver Arts, Franklin exercises regularly. She swims twice a week at the Marion Diehl Center, power walks five days a week, sometimes at Freedom Park, and works out with light weights at home.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at email@example.com.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/14/3521817/shes-a-senior-games-ambassador.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy