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Swimmer Spotlight - Jane Asher

Spotlight on: Marathon Swims Oldest Participant, Jane Asher

The second of our 2019 Marathon Swims interviews is with swimming legend, Jane Asher. Born in 1931 in Zambia, Jane has over 80 years of swimming experience. Now living near her family in London, Jane is part of the Kings Cormorants swimming club in Wimbledon. She took part in the 1k Marathon Swims challenge back in 2019. As Marathon Swims oldest participant, we caught up with Jane after her stellar performance.

How did you get into swimming?

I’m 88 years old and when I was a small child, we couldn’t swim because the rivers were full of wild animals and there weren’t swimming pools in the area. I started swimming when my parents moved to Johannesburg as there were swimming pools. I must have been about 7 years old when I started so I’ve been swimming for a long time! Swimming is in the blood. My mother and her mother were English, and they swam here in the sea.

Do you take part in competitions like this often?

Yes, I do. Every 5 years I move into a new age group with records to go for. Next year I’ll go to Budapest for the European Championships. I hold the world record for the 50m butterfly. Two weeks from now, I swim a 1500-meter race so you can tell, I’m always challenging myself.

Where do you train?

I’m part of Kings Cormorants swimming club. We were without a pool for a while as where we trained was an old pool which was pulled down and not replaced until a year later, so we were bereft! It’s hard because when you lose training time, the older you are the harder it is to get back.

Normally I swim 4 times a week but over the last year, I’ve not been able to swim as much which is why I did the 1k today. As a girl, I swam every day, sometimes twice a day. I don’t have time to swim as much as that now. I have 11 grandchildren, I do Pilates and tai chi, I coach, and I have lots of friends, so I have lots of things to do!

What do you like about Marathon Swims?

It’s good for you. 1km doesn’t sound like a lot but the short sprints are actually quite hard to do because you’re more tense than a longer swim. I always get sponsored, so it raises money which is important to me. All of my husband’s family have been impacted by Cancer, so I raise money for Cancer charities to keep researching a cure. Macmillan has been great so it’s good to support them too.

What do your friends and family think of your swimming achievements?

They know I’m a nut case! You’ve got to have fun, haven’t you? Also, because I coach, I need to set an example and show people what can be done. I enjoy it so much and I’m going to keep swimming for as long as I can.


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