George Corones, a 99-year-old Australian swimmer appears to have smashed a world record for his age group in the 50 metres freestyle.

George clocked 56.12 seconds at an official event in Queensland – a new record for the 100 to 104 year old age category.

He beat the previous mark, by 35 seconds, set in 2014.  The result will now be verified by the sport’s governing body.

Mr Corones, eligible for the record as he turns 100 in April, said he was “quite delighted” and “over the world” by the result.

“It was an exemplary swim for me, well balanced… and I was ready to hit the wall at the end very hard with my hand,” he told the BBC.

Overwhelmed by the “roaring” crowd on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.  The event, where he was the sole entrant, had been specifically staged for him to challenge the record.

Mr Corones, from Brisbane, a keen swimmer in his youth, but had to give it up at the beginning of World War Two, only began swimming again for exercise aged 80.

He said racing “undeniably” challenged him physically, but it was manageable with preparation. On average he swims laps three times a week, and also fits in gym sessions.

“At this age it takes a while to get going… you get exhausted much more easily, but if you do it sensibly, the rewards are astronomical,” he said.

He attributed his success to his pacing and technique.

“My first dozen strokes were well balanced and the trick is to just carry it on progressively, putting a little bit of increasing effort in each stroke,” he said.

“I did that until the last 10m – I knew I was tired and done – but went on without any disturbance.”

isplay&dist=All&stroke=All&holder=&filter=*&js=on”>The previous record of 1:31.19 was set in 2014 by British swimmer John Harrison.

Mr Corones’s race took place just before the Australian Swimming Trials for the Commonwealth Games.  Masters Swimming Australia said the record was pending official verification by the International Swimming Federation (Fina).

Mr Corones will now challenge the 100 metres freestyle record on Saturday night, believing he can beat the current mark of 03:23.10, also set by Mr Harrison.

“I’m not a young man by any means, but I am really looking forward to it and confident I can do very well,” he said.

Reporting by the BBC’s Frances Mao


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