CLASS OF 65
On Target at Any Age
When she was a student at Penn, Phyllis Wynn Shipman CW65 signed up for archery with the sole purpose of getting around the Universitys physical-education requirement. She was good enough, it turned out, to make the varsity teamthen All American. And that, she thought, was the end of that.
But Shipman, a 59-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Honolulu, recently took up the sport again and is now ranked ninth in the country in womens Olympic-style archery. In September she came in 11th in the Field Archery World Champ-ionships in Canberra, Australia.
into an athlete at my age, she marvels. Its remarkable because my inclination
was certainly remote. But I train; I lift weights and do cardiovascular
work. And one of the experiences I find totally unexpected is the support
that 19-, 20-, and 21-year-olds
Shipman was walking around a shopping center with her husband six years ago when they came across an archery store. I went in and thought, I used to like to do this. So she bought a barebow and began shooting in her backyard.
I was totally involved in my career and totally committed to my school, so I never thought I would get this involved in archery, she says. But what I found about shooting was that after an hour I was mentally relaxed and reenergized, because [in target sports] you need to focus on what youre doing. Thats all you can think about. So it was very reinforcing, and I would shoot a little more and a little more. After she retired, Shipman enrolled in a school that the National Archery Association runs at the ARCO/U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.
While its not unusual for people to take up archery at Shipmans age, says Lloyd Brown, the U.S. team coach, Its rare for them to do as well as she has. She really has done well in a short amount of time and has become very competitive. She could even be considered a potential Olympic athlete. Shipman will be a resident athlete at the Arco Olympic Training Center for at least a year, and plans to compete in Olympic trials.
The most important thing, adds Brown, is a lot of practiceand also the mental game is really important in archery. She has so much confidence. Its like she knows the arrow is going to go in the middle, and she makes it happen.
Tax-deductible donations can be made on Shipmans behalf to the National Archery Association, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909.
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Copyright 2002 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 9/02/02