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New NZ Record for 87year Old Swimmer


New NZ Record for 87year Old Swimmer

May Hill from Auckland was still catching her breath today after a golden performance in the swimming pool yesterday at the Otago Community Trust New Zealand Masters Games. The 87year old swam in the 50 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres in both freestyle and backstroke taking the gold medal in each of these events in the 85+ category and set a New Zealand record for the 85+ 200 metre backstroke. May set a new time of 7:37.01. The previous record was 7:42.44.


May says, “I treated the first few events as warm-ups and by the time I got to the 200 metres backstroke I went for it. Initially I was blinded by the sun in my eyes and I kept crashing into the ropes so I knew I needed to speed up in the last length”.

May has been coming to the New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin since she took up swimming in 2000. She found that her favourite sport badminton was too hard on her body and decided swimming was still something she could do. She joined the Manakau Masters Swimming Club, where she swims every second day.

“At first, I used to get disqualified in competitions for not touching the end of the pool, but I know the ropes now. I learnt the hard way!”

May has her own coach and says she trains hard using hand blades and without kicking. A float is placed between her legs which she has to squeeze.

“This training exercise helps strengthen the muscles, it is as good as using weights. It’s hard work but it pays off!”

She says she loves the time she spends in Dunedin and will be coming back for more in 2020.

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