Swimmer Spotlight: Virginia Phipps 1


Virginia Phipps
Age 91; Oregon City Tankers

Virginia Phipps

Virginia Phipps

In the spring of 2015, at the age of 90, Virginia found herself in a role reversal.  After countless years of taking her kids to swim practice, her son Tom was taking her to swim with the Oregon City Tankers.  A year later, with two swim meets under her belt, she has set three Zone and one State record in the W90-94 age group.

Virginia describes herself as a water baby.  Whether it was swimming in the creek in Tumwater, in her brother’s diaper tub in Independence or learning to float in Lake Stevens she always was drawn to the water.  When she was 11-years-old, she taught herself to swim by watching and mimicking the kids that were taking the swim lessons her parents could not afford.

In adult life, after she had started a family, she became acquainted with Virginia Van Rossen, who was deeply involved in Oregon aquatics – coaching and teaching at the University of Oregon.  Virginia Van Rossen helped ignite Virginia’s passion for the water and swimming even more.  She became a certified Red Cross swimming instructor and a senior swim meet official.  Moves took her to Washington, California and Arizona, where she continued her involvement in swimming in a variety of positions.  After retirement she began swimming with a group in Arizona, and six years ago she moved back to Oregon.

Virginia, working with other swimmers during a workout

Virginia, working with other swimmers during a workout

Virginia, working with other swimmers during a workout

Virginia, working with other swimmers during a workout

Oregon City Tankers’ Coach, Tim Waud remembers that he and Virginia hit it off immediately.  “We both share a long history with swimming that has deep roots.  Virginia was best friends with Virginia and Don Van Rossen, and I credit these two individuals with my own passion for swimming, as they were my mentors in college and helped me develop my coaching and aquatics career,” Tim explains.  “She is always helping the teammates in her lane and giving them valuable feedback.  I love having Virginia swim with the Tankers.  She always has a smile and her lane mates enjoy the camaraderie she brings to the team.  To have Master swimmers involved with kids on the USA Swim Team in Oregon City really brings things around full circle.  The kids love seeing the Masters compete at the annual Dual-Sanctioned meet at Oregon City in March, and Virginia is a crowd favorite!  To have a mother and two of her children, Tom and Tracy, swim on the team is what Masters swimming is all about.  Virginia is the perfect example that “Swimming is for Life!”


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One thought on “Swimmer Spotlight: Virginia Phipps

  • Sharry Jarrell

    Hi Virginia! I envy anyone who can swim! I never learned how and it always looks like so much fun! Jere & I miss you & Maury at the AZ Rallies.
    Sharry