Champion Masters swimmer Jan Croft, of Noosa, completes her race.
Champion Masters swimmer Jan Croft, of Noosa, completes her race.

At 72, Jan Croft is truly in the swim of things

ON ENTERING the 70s age bracket, most people are slowing down. Not Sunshine Beach's Jan Croft.

Fresh from winning the 70-plus division of the 3.8km marathon swim at Mooloolaba's World Swims Series Swim Queensland event last month in a time of 1:03:23, the 72-year-old swimmer actually has plans to ramp up her training.

"Last year I competed in the 70-plus age group at the World Masters Championships in Montreal in the 3km open water swim.

"I won't go to the worlds this year… I'm hoping to hang in there until the 75-plus age group for another hit-out," she said.

"I still enjoy the swimming, I have no plans for retiring, as long as the body holds out.

"You just manage the injuries. Anyone who has been swimming that long, it would be impossible not to have any issues."

Jan's son Nick is head coach of Multisport Consultants, and each week Jan joins his squad for three sessions of between 3.5-4km.

Among the faster lanes at squad, she joins athletes less than half her age.

"All I do is hang on to the young ones as long as I can," Jan said.

"I enjoy swimming with the young ones. I enjoy their company… it doesn't matter how old you are."

When training for major events, she lifts the training to four or five weekly pool sessions.

Jan regularly does gym work to maintain her strength and supplement her training in between swim coaching at Noosa Aquatic Centre.

Growing up in Ayr, Jan started swimming competitively from the age of six and during the 1950s she held state records for every freestyle distance between 50m-800 metres.

In 1961, Jan secured the Australian 800m title in Brisbane, and did it again one year later in Melbourne.

Married in her early 20s and then having three sons, Jan got back into swimming and at the FINA Masters championships in 1988, when she won gold in the 800m.

She has just completed the Arena Noosa 1000 event as part of the tri festival (where she won her age group with a time of 18:51).

Her next major events will include the next World Swims Series events at Noosa in February and Mooloolaba in March.

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