Record-breaking swimmer continues to inspire
22 April 2014
Just three months shy of his 100th birthday, John Harrison is officially Britain’s oldest competitive swimmer, and is still making a splash in a truly remarkable way.
Describing swimming as ‘relaxing’, six-time-world record holder John is living proof that age is nothing but a number.
“When I first started I was not a very good swimmer but I am like a penguin,” says John, who turns 100 in July 2014. “Once I am in the water I am happy. I like the training, I normally train once a week in the pool but ‘dry train’ every day for half an hour with strength ropes.”
99-year-old Harrison currently holds six world records, 15 European and 46 British records on his long list of achievementsJohn’s competitive swimming career began in 1992, when he was 77 years old. He currently holds six world records, a staggering 15 European and 46 British records on his illustrious list of achievements.
It’s fair to say the age-defying athlete feels as youthful now as he was in his first career as a 20-year old in the Navy.
“I never thought about giving up. When my body tells me to stop I will," John adds.
“My family friends think I am very lucky and a bit of a marvel. When people ask me what I aim for I always say the same, I just want to live until tomorrow and if I do that, will be a bonus. I am just a swimmer. A lucky one. I shouldn’t really be here after HMS Belfast. Most of the crew aren’t.
“I invalided out the Navy in 1945. I got blown up on HMS Belfast which didn’t do my spine any good at all. I have never had any injuries in the pool though.”
Having been swimming for 22 years and counting, he says he is determined to carry on swimming competitively for as long as he can and competes for the Godalming and Royal Navy Masters swimming clubs.
John is living proof you are never too old to make a splash in the pool - click here to find out more.