95-year old sweeps Freestyle records en route to 1500 World Record

US Masters Nationals began on Wednesday in Minneapolis, and 95-year old Willard “Wink” Lamb wasted no time obliterating a record that had been in place since 1999.

In the first event of the meet, the 1500 LCM free, Lamb broke the previous age 95-99 world record by over ten minutes with his time of 37:06.82. Better yet? He set national records along the way at the 100, 200, 400, and 800 marks. His 200, 400, and 800 were also world records. Here’s the “sweep” breakdown:

Distance Time Record Status
100 2:03:56 National Record
200 4:21:57 National & World Record
400 9:11:20 National & World Record
800 19:20.86 National & World Record
1500 37:06.32 National & World Record

Lamb clearly went in with a game plan: after taking his first five 100s out under 2:30, he settled in with remarkably steady 2:31s and 2:32s before bringing his last 100 home in a 2:24.83.

His sweep is reminiscent of Laura Val’s epic record-breaking swims. In 2011, she broke the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 masters world records for the 60-64 age group in one swim. In 2016, she broke the ages 65-69 records in the 200, 400, 800, and 1500.

As for his current workout routine, Lamb works out in a 32-yard pool. Monday-Thursday he swims 14 laps of freestyle, then 16 more, then 14 again, then finally another 16 laps with 30 second breaks in-between segments for a total of 60 laps. On Fridays, he swims 60 laps of freestyle straight through. He follows that up with a six backstroke, then two laps of sprint free with 30 seconds rest in-between, then two more cool-down. The whole workout takes him about 50 minutes, and he’s kept up this routine for the past five years.

A member of Oregon Masters Swimming, Lamb swam in high school then fought in World War II. He was a member of the famed 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Congrats, Willard! We can all only hope to be in as great shape when we’re pushing a century.


  1. CraigH says:

    What a stud!

  2. 2Fat4Speed says:

    Kinda slow. Does he even lift lift?

    Just kidding, what a stud!

    • CBswims says:

      So glad I read the second line before responding! And, completely relate to the user name 😛

    • MLAformat says:

      He had been lifting before this race, but he will start to decrease his workload in the coming weeks to prepare for his taper meet!

  3. Swimmer? says:

    Wow. Maybe I should try to break this when I’m 100

  4. CraigH says:

    He was just trying the get ge NAG records before he aged up!

  5. cynthiacurran says:

    This is remarkable for him. As for Laurie Val, there are younger master swimmers moved up through the age groups that are taking down her records since the younger swimmers did age group and were national caliber in their youth.

  6. Tim Waud says:

    Wink is actually 95

    • Leto says:

      Was wondering about the age and why he hadn’t broken the records earlier in the age group. If he’s 95 rather than 99 that makes more sense! Fantastic accomplishment.

  7. Big Calves says:

    Epic swim!!!!!

  8. BobS says:

    Thank you for your service Mr. Lamb. You are an inspiration. ATB!!!

  9. nlm78 says:


  10. Mlaformat says:

    To do all of this without shaving, tapering, or suiting up, is really something special. Hats off to him.

  11. Mlaformat says:

    Im personal friends with his coach, apparently his focus taper meet is coming up in a couple weeks.

  12. PowerPlay says:

    He went 36:00 in practice

  13. bodybyfood says:

    Wait a minute… 32 yard pool, so 1 lap = 64 y.
    60 laps * 64y = 3840y
    3840y in 50 minutes is avg’ing 1:18-1:19 per 100.
    So if his “focus taper meet” is coming up in a few weeks then he should really blow the record out of the water!

  14. Markus Rogan says:

    What an athlete! I’d love to learn more about his mindset and motivation. A true inspiration!

  15. Robbert says:

    Willard’s actually 95. Still an impressive swim. He’s an inspiration to all of Oregon Masters.

  16. Ernie and Bert says:

    A true role model for aging and for service to his country. This man is a special brand of tough guy from the greatest generation of Americans. Thank you for your service and for being a shining example of health Mr. Lamb.

  17. AppleT says:

    Absolutely incredible and inspiring!

  18. Mike Mann says:

    Fantastic job, I’m sharing with every couch potatoe I know !!

  19. Rick Stakel says:

    Five national and four world records in one swim? What an incredible feat! And to have fought for all of us in World War II? An even greater feat! THANK YOU does not say enough, Willard “Wink” Lamb. You sir, are a true hero and an incredible inspiration! Congratulations.

  20. Bey says:

    Congrats for an awesome feat

  21. Roberta Kelinson says:

    Fabulous! Congratulations to Willard. Proves that life does not end at 50 or 60!

  22. Roberta Kelinson says:

    Congratulations to Willard! It proves that life does not end when one turns 60, 70 or even 90!

  23. Staci says:


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About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in Media Studies and American Studies at Claremont McKenna College. When she's not writing about swimming or baseball, you can probably find her listening to a podcast or in a pool ... and/or watching Seinfeld, which she just realized is funny.

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