An incredible Burnham-On-Sea pensioner has proven that age is no barrier to sport by becoming European swimming champion in his age group this week.
Grenville Cole, 85, became European Champion in the 50-metre breastroke at the European Masters, held at the Olympic Pool in London on Thursday (May 26th).
Grenville, who trains at Burnham’s Swim and Sports Academy, also broke the British record for a third time, with a time of 58.56.
“Huge congratulations go to Grenville – we are extremely proud of him,” Sara Cox-Conklin from the Academy told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
“Taking part in the European Masters has put him under a great deal of pressure but he took it all his stride and has done amazingly well. He is an inspirational person – a true role model.”
His accomplishment is all the more remarkable because he only re-started swimming in 2014 after a 68-year gap when his wife and daughter passed away.
He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I gave up swimming when I was 15 back in 1946 – the opportunities then were not the same as today even though I loved the sport and was a strong swimmer.”
“There was a 68-year gap before I got back into the pool in 2014.”
“I’d just wondered if I could still swim, and gave it a go. Despite feeling exhausted, the first few times I kept it going and now swim at Burnham Pool three times a week.”
“On one occasion Sara from the Swim and Sports Academy asked whether I’d considered entering the Swimming Masters. I didn’t think I’d have a chance, but said I’d give it a go and haven’t looked back. I love swimming.”
There was also more local success at the championships on Thursday when Burnham-On-Sea’s Sarah Dykes won gold in the 100-metre butterfly (45-49 Years) with a superb time of 1:09 which was only 1/800ths of a second off the British record.