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.

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What a stud!


Kinda slow. Does he even lift lift?

Just kidding, what a stud!


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


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!


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

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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