Mieko Nagaoka
Japan's oldest swimmer Mieko Nagaoka who holds 24 world records at the age of 100.fina.org

This 100-year-old woman is Japan's oldest swimmer and she made headlines across the country on Saturday by swimming a 1,500 metres race in about an hour.

Mieko Nagaoka completed the FINA masters swimming competition in Matsuyama in one hour, 15 minutes and 54.39 seconds, reports Xinhua.

It is not just her age that makes her so special and unique. Nagaoka is a self-taught swimmer and many of her achievements are from the years before she started taking professional training.

Unlike many others, Nagaoka developed interest in swimming in her early 80s, and has already won many medals in several competitions. Nagaoka started swimming at the age of 82. She would visit the swimming pool for her knee exercises, but one fine day she began swimming.

She started masters swimming in Japan at the age of 84 and at 88 she took part in masters swimming world - her first competition - in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002, and won a bronze medal. After the first win in her very first attempt, Nagaoka returned to the masters swimming competition (worlds) in 2004, this time in Riccione of Italy, and grabbed three silver medals in 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke competitions.

It was in the same year that Nagaoka received national recognition in Japan for the first time. She was acknowledged in her country after setting a national record in 800m freestyle – a swimming event started by her.

After her overwhelming performances and wins internationally, Nagaoka finally decided to get a professional trainer for herself and enhance her skills at the age of 90. After polishing her skills through private coaching, Nagaoka accomplished her first-ever world record in masters swimming at the age of 95.

In 18 years, Nagaoka has already broken 24 world records and is set for more success with coaching lessons four times a week. This newly developed interest of Nagaoka's has been passed on to her son and grandchildren.

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