Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Joyce Mooney Celebrates 90th Birthday With Sunshine Swimmers

KINGSVILLE - October 05, 2010

Contact: Genesis Urbina
or 361.593.4143


Ten years ago, a group of women, now known as the Sunshine Swimmers and sponsored by the Department of Campus Recreation and Fitness, transferred from the local high school pool to the Steinke Physical Education Center (SPEC) at Texas A&M University-Kingsville due to the pool being shut down.

This group of women participates in an enjoyable and refreshing aerobic swimming session at the SPEC three times a week. The swimmers are faculty spouses, dean’s wives and others from the Kingsville community, and have continued to persist through physical challenges together.

“It doesn’t matter if they have aches or pains, they still come out three times a week” said associate professor and coordinator of the Community Health Program Sheila Harris. She stated that even though she has to get up at 4:30 a.m. to be in Kingsville by 7 a.m., it’s this group that motivates her to get up in the mornings. Some of the participants have a history of health challenges and she is proud to say that a majority of them have fully recovered by simply swimming.

On October 1, it was not just any other morning of aerobic training at the SPEC. It was the mark of a special 90th birthday for Sunshine Swimmer Joyce Mooney. Born in Robstown and raised in Driscoll, Joyce became a student at then-South Texas State Teachers College in 1937 and graduated with her husband Van in 1942. Van went on to serve as a engineering professor at the university.

A special birthday celebration took place at the Epiphany Episcopal School in Kingsville, where she was a kindergarten teacher 50 years ago. To honor her 90 years of life, each student individually placed a candle on her cake.

While the swimmers celebrated Mooney’s birthday with colorful cupcakes and juice, others realized that it wasn’t just a simple birthday celebration but a day of inspiration for all. As part of the Sunshine Swimmers group from the very beginning, Mooney’s swim mates emphasize that she will be around for a while.

If there is a message that Mooney would like to tell the young community at Texas A&M-Kingsville it would be to “Keep going.”

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