Keeping up with Siphiwe: Truck Driver turned Masters Champion (Video)

Siphiwe Baleka, swimming for Unattached – MOVY at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis, clocked a 1:08.13 for the men’s 100 Meter breaststroke. At 45 years of age, Baleka was the oldest male swimmer by ten years. That time placed Baleka 9th on the FINA Masters Top 10 of All-Time, and the 2nd fastest American male swimmer age 45 to 49 behind David Guthrie, who swam a 1:07.38 in 2008. In the 200 IM at Indianapolis, Baleka swam a personal best of 2:18.18, good enough for 10th on the FINA all-time list. Baleka also swam the 50 meter free, posting a 24.91. Baleka’s best time, 24.63, is 8th on the FINA list.

Last August, Baleka set a US Masters Swimming national record in the men’s 45 to 49 age group in the 50 meter breaststroke, clocking a 30.10. In November, Baleka set two more national records, breaking Matt Biondi’s short course meters 50 free record with a 23.58 and Anders Rassmussen’s 100 IM record with a 1:00.09.

Baleka is now ranked in the FINA top 5 in several events going into the FINA Masters World Championships in August and is seeking to win his first World title.

After becoming the first African American swimmer named to the First Team All- Ivy League and failing to make the 1992 Olympic Trials Cuts by 0.8 seconds in the 100 M freestyle, Siphiwe suddenly left Yale and disappeared for about 18 years. In 2008 he became a long haul truck driver and in 2011 returned to swimming and won two events at the USMS Spring National Championships. At 40 years of age at the time, and practicing just three times a week for about minutes, Siphiwe managed to swim a 22.03 in the 50 Free and a 48.42 in the 100 free, as well as a 1:01.63 in the 100 breast. That year he went on to compete in 8 triathlons, winning his age group in 2 of them, and then finishing the 2012 Ironman South Africa in 214th place. By this time he was being called “The Fittest Truck Driver in America”. (By the way five days after the Ironman he swam at the 2012 USMS Spring Nationals and still managed a 22.83; and 49.78)

Also in 2012, Siphiwe implemented the Fitness Trucking 13 Week Driver Health and Fitness Program that very quickly went on to become an award-winning weight loss program that outperforms weight watchers. All of this is been extensively covered in Men’s Health, Sports Illustrated, Swimmer, Human Resources Executive, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Fox Sports and many, many more. You can check for links.

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So many amazing older (or should I say experienced) breaststrokers, Steve West is another one, goes 1:03 LCM like clockwork at age 44. In awe of these men

Attila the Runt

Don’t forget David Guthrie. 1:07.97 at 55 in 100 LCM breast. Or Rick Collella in his mid-60’s.


I would have hoped comments would have been reflective of the person being highlighted, Sips. I mean, altho David Guthrie was mentioned in this read, curious why these two comments, yours and Marc’s, are about others who swim breaststroke and do not issue Sips props. Makes one wonder. Anyway… HELLA props to Sips! Just goes to show, there are veritable plethoras of techniques for maintaining fitness for life. Not to mention, Sip’s tissue memory seems to be serving him well, too. I understand Sips reached out to RITTERSP for assistance. I too practice RITTERSP’s offerings–such that the last time I raced, altho I was not race ready fit, I still managed to swim close to the same times as the… Read more »


Yeah, older women fall off the patch more in times than the men do. Truck driving sometimes makes good money, but they are now talking about driverless trucks.

Kelly Sigman

Talk about a good guy, I get the privilege to swim with him every morning!


Way to go Siphiwe – you are making lots of people proud, including Yale Swimming. Keep up the great personal and professional work. the are both equally amazing!

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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