Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Barry Young Medal Recipient, Avy Judelson

NZMS has selected the lovely Avy Judelson as recipient of the Barry Young Medal Award. This is a very prestigious award with only a total of 10 medals to be awarded. Avy has been swimming for Masters for 36 years and in 2017 she competed in the World Masters Games held in Auckland and broke Olga Johnson’s 50m freestyle long course record held since 1987 in the 65-69 women’s age group. It is for this record that Avy was awarded the medal.

Avy was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and at a very young age moved with her parents to Cuba, New York and then Mexico and returned to the USA when she was 11 years old.

As a young girl in high school, squads were for boys only and at the age of 16 Avy had a mere one year of squad training under her belt. However, growing up she was always sporty and loved horse riding, gymnastics, volleyball and became an "Aquette" doing water ballet. 

It was in the 1980s after completing her post graduate degree in Law and started work as legal counsel for the City of Chicago that she was introduced to Masters swimming. It was then, at the age of 30, that her love for swimming ignited.

In 1988, Avy swam her first World Masters FINA competition in Brisbane, Australia and that is also where she met her husband to be, John. John convinced Avy to move to New Zealand and together they moved to Gisborne in 1989, where she took and passed the NZ Bar Examinations. Avy and John, later moved to Hawkes Bay where they joined the Trojan Masters and competed and won many local meets. In 1992 she competed and medalled in the World Masters FINA Champs in Indianapolis. In 1993, Avy and John moved to Auckland where she joined a firm of specialist insurance lawyers. She joined the South City Masters and competed in another World Masters event in Montreal the following year. In 2002, Avy broke a couple of national records in the 50m freestyle events and also competed and medalled in the Worlds in Christchurch.

After a very successful 2002, Avy decided to take a break from swimming and took up bike riding and competed in the Round Taupo event. Sadly, in 2004 during a 100km road trip, she had an horrific biking accident that left her with a crushed pelvis. With months of recovery ahead of her, Avy did not give up and fought back taking a year to get her fitness back to where it was and has since never stopped training and competing.

Congratulations Avy! You are a star and a very well deserved recipient. All the best for your future swims.

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