South African Roland Schoeman was selected in March, after the South African National Championships, to compete at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka. In Fukuoka, he is set to swim the men’s 50 freestyle and the 50 butterfly.
What stands out is that he returns to Fukuoka 22 years after having competed at the 2001 Worlds, his debut, where he won the bronze medal in the 50 free. He will be returning to compete at the World Championships after a 10-year hiatus – his last appearance was in 2013, when he placed seventh in the 50 free.
Swimming Stats’ Instagram page has published the list of the oldest swimmers who are set to compete in Fukuoka. Schoeman will be 43 years and 19 days old when the swimming events begin next Sunday. He will be the only swimmer over 40 competing in Fukuoka.
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At 37, Chile’s Kristel Kobrich will be the oldest among the women. In Fukuoka, she will complete 11 appearances at the World Aquatics Championships, the most ever by any swimmer. No other swimmer has more than nine appearances.
Among the 10 oldest swimmers in Fukuoka, four have already won medals in previous editions: Schoeman (gold in the 50 freestyle in 2005 and bronze in 2001, gold in the 50 butterfly in 2005 and 2007, and silver in the 100 freestyle in 2005), Brazil’s Joao Gomes Junior (silver in the 50 breaststroke in 2017 and bronze in 2019), Spain’s Jessica Vall (bronze in the 200 breaststroke in 2015) and Italy’s Piero Codia (gold in the 4×100 medley in 2022).
In fact, Schoeman will not only be the oldest swimmer at the 2023 edition: he will become the oldest swimmer in history to compete at World Aquatics Championships.
Previously, the oldest was Brazilian Nicholas Santos, who, aged 42 years and 125 days, won the silver medal in the 50 butterfly in 2022. If Santos competed in Fukuoka, he would be even older than Schoeman, but he announced his retirement at the end of last year.
Among women, American Dara Torres swam the 50 freestyle final in 2009, where she finished in 8th place, aged 42 years and 109 days.
Below you’ll find the 10 oldest swimmers to ever have competed at World Aquatics Championships in pool events. If the list considered open water athletes too, there would be another swimmer over 40: Germany’s Angela Maurer, who was 41 years old when he last competed in 2017.
Oldest Swimmers To Compete at World Aquatics Championships – Pool Events
|Nicholas Santos (BRA)||2022||M 50 butterfly||42 years, 125 days|
|Dara Torres (USA)||2009||W 50 freestyle||42 years, 109 days|
|Serkan Atasay (TUR)||2009||M 100 butterfly||39 years, 143 days|
|Aikaterini Sarakatsani (GRE)||2015||W 4×100 medley||38 years, 218 days|
|Lars Frolander (SWE)||2011||M 4×100 medley||37 years, 66 days|
|Mark Warnecke (GER)||2007||M 50 breaststroke||37 years, 40 days|
|Kristel Kobrich (CHI)||2022||W 800 freestyle||36 years, 318 days|
|Joao Gomes Junior (BRA)||2022||M 4×100 medley||36 years, 155 days|
|Sven Lodziewski (GER)||2001||M 4×100 freestyle||36 years, 129 days|
|Jules Yao Bessan (BEN)||2015||M 50 freestyle||36 years, 115 days|