Jaring Timmerman, age 104, sets 2 world swimming records
Winnipegger becomes 1st swimmer to compete in 105-109 age category
A 104-year-old Winnipeg man swam his way into the record books, finishing two races and becoming the world's oldest masters swimmer.
Pan Am Pool was packed with family members, friends and swimming fans who cheered on Jaring Timmerman as he completed the 50-metre backstroke and 50-metre freestyle races at a masters swimming meet Friday night.
Simply by finishing, Timmerman — who turns 105 in February — has established two world records and created a new competition category for swimmers aged 105 to 109.
Until now, the oldest age group recognized in masters swimming has been 100 to 104 years old.
"I'll be the only one that will have a world record at 105 because no one else has it at this time," he said in an interview before the meet.
Timmerman, who took up competitive swimming when he was 79 and trains twice a week, already holds four world records in the 100 to 104 age category.
"It's a challenge. That's what it is, so that's why I swim," he said.
Doctors have told Timmerman to stop when he had torn ligaments in his shoulder.
"That's what they call a swimmer's shoulder. I got that when I was about 100," he said.
But he just changed his stroke and kept going.
"I think always having had a goal, and working to achieve something, probably has given him longevity," said his son, Don Timmerman.
While he did not take the lead in either race on Friday night, the elder Timmerman did set a personal record along with the two world records.
"3:09:55. That's the fastest he's ever done it," his son said after the backstroke race.
Timmerman would go on to beat that time in the freestyle heat, clocking in at 2:52:48.
Out of the pool and wearing a black and white track suit, Timmerman told reporters he expects these races to be his last.
"It'll be the last one, yeah," he said.
When asked if he'll make it to the next age category, he replied, "No, I don't anticipate that."