"In the water you're weightless… in the water, it's just yourself and no weight at all."
In the water, Australian swimmer George Corones, who is a century-years-young since April, obliviates two world records in the span of four days at the Commonwealth Games Trials in Queensland from March 14th through March 17th. With the time of 56.12 for the 100-104 age group in the 50 Meter freestyle, he shaves off more time from a recent meet with a 55.75 becoming "the first 100-plus-year-old swimmer to go under 1 minute in the 50 short course meter freestyle last weekend" according to Braden Keith.
According to BBC News, Corones is "quite delighted" and "over the world" with his accomplishments since he was eligible for the title when he turned 100 back in April.
He stopped swimming towards the beginnings of World War II, but time away from the water did not hinder him from hopping back in the pool once he retired. Corones' achievement reminds swimmers all over about the lasting impacts the sport leaves behind. Whether one needs a mental or physical break or retiring from the sport altogether, the water will always find its way back to the athlete. From craving the exhilarating feeling after a competition, raging team spirit and rewarding practices, to pure exercising and enjoyment, behind every athlete young or old, is the child that fell in love with the sport, to begin with.
"I started swimming again for exercise," Mr. Corones says, "I was a little concerned beforehand because I've only just come up from a break away from swimming… I wasn't quite at the top but I was well enough."
True love for the sport does not just come from performing at the top levels, but for performing at their best and what is reasonable to their goals and standards. Any athlete that takes time off will not begin again at their prime, but with consistency and hard work, they will surpass their previous thresholds and become a better athlete both mentally and physically with time. The important aspect in swimming is not all about the times and the rankings, but from what is taken back from after diving through many obstacles, learning the value of resilience, and genuinely enjoying the sport for itself."
Mr. Corones reached new heights after deciding to pick up the sport again, "it wasn't a great hurdle to beat, but it had to be done. Somehow, by someone. We're on the unbroken ground, put it that way… 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."
"Swimming is the only activity that the human can indulge in that is gravity-free," he says. "You realize gravity incessantly is putting a strain on us." Like gravity, pressure puts a strain on swimmers. There should not be so much pressure on athletes for always having to drop time or consistently improve. Setbacks and plateaus help swimmers build mental strength and character.
With obstacles, it pushes the athlete to look at their races and practices from a different angle, encouraging them to focus on the minute details and reevaluating habits or techniques that may help them more in the long run. The same thing applies for taking time off from the sport. Many great swimmers out there may take some time off for themselves to recharge their energy and motivation for training as much as they normally do. That way, they can come back stronger and their love for the sport becomes stronger too.
Watching as other athletes have progressed versus how sluggish one may feel with the lack of stamina and endurance during a break proves how difficult recovering from time off is extremely difficult. But as Corones says, "I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing in the way I've been doing it," he says, "which is repetitively and patiently. I'm about to go through a stage of recovery, and as soon as I feel I'm ready, I'll start again."
It brings on new beginnings and it emphasizes how even though there will always be people out there busting out the next, being the best one can be for themselves is what matters most in the end. According to Corones: "The achievement of a performer is a goal for someone else to achieve a better figure."
Seeing that there are not many people within his age group swimming, George Corones reignites the passion for swimming and encourages others to join the master's swimming program, "these current figures are waiting for the attack from the burgeoning number of master's swimmers – ladies and men – who are waiting to see what can be done. They will surmount it, that's how it goes."
All source quotes come from the following articles: