Meet Japan’s 100-year-old champion swimmer

By Efrosini Costa

Meet Japan’s 100-year-old champion swimmer
Mieko Nagaoka may be 100 years old but that hasn't stopped her from her love of competitive swimming.

The Japanese woman has become the first of her age to complete a 1500m freestyle swim in a 25m pool.

An avid swimmer, Nagakoa only took to the sport at the ripe old age of 82. She began swimming as therapy for her knees but soon began training several times a week.

The centenarian has since taken part in swimming competitions around the world and holds the record for her age category for the 1500m freestyle swim in a 50m pool.

Her latest aquatic feat was completed in just over one hour and 15 minutes using backstroke all the way.

Needless to say she didn’t have much competition, she was the only one taking part in her age range – 100 to 104 – at a competition in Matsuyama over the weekend.

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That hasn’t stopped the international swimming federation from awarding Nagakoa 24 world titles, over both short and long distances for swimming.

Her latest swimming achievement if expected to be recognised by the Guinness World Records.

She has even written a book about her accomplishments. After turning 100 last year, she released the title: I’m 100 years old and the world’s best active swimmer.

“I want to swim until I turn 105 if I can live that long,” she told local Japanese media.

Japan is home to the world’s biggest ageing population with 59,000 centenarians on record last year.

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