A generation ago when someone turned 100 it made national news. Today Show weatherman Willard Scott would display a photo and ooh and ahh over some poor soul with sunken eyes and a gaping mouth crumpled in a chair and covered in blankets. It was anybody’s guess as to whether they knew they were 100 or not.
Today, not only are centenarians aware, they’re shattering previously unthinkable boundaries never before attempted in the history of mankind. They are doing it with mental clarity and physical dexterity. They are active and involved. They are entering competitions to push their bodies and test their limits.
The latest head-shaking world record was set in Japan by a woman just shy of 101 named Mieko Nagaoka. She became not only the fastest, but the first centenarian ever to swim 1,500 meters in a 25-meter pool. It took her one hour, 15 minutes and 54.39 seconds to complete the distance. She was the only competitor in the 100 -104 age group at a Japan Masters Swimming Association event.
She’s yet another example of the Growing Bolder adage that it’s never too late! According to a report from CNN.com she didn’t take up swimming until she was in her 80s as therapy for her knee. Apparently, she liked it. Since then she has set age class records in the 100m, 200m and 800m freestyle, alongside the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke.
She works out in the pool two hours at a time, four days a week. Her son told CNN that he’s overcome with pride in his mother, and says she has no plans to slow down.