"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." – Maya Angelou

Stop Making Excuses!

5 Lessons we can learn from 99-year-old swimmer, George Corones

It is no small feat to break a record.

So much more for setting a world record. Add to that doing so when you turn 100 in a month’s time! We’re talking about a real record at a sporting event. Not how fast the old person can wobble down the nursing home hallway with a walker without falling—the way we often (incorrectly) picture octo- and nonagenarians.

This past week, Mr. George Corones, became the fastest freestyle swimmer in the world in the age group 100 – 104 in Queensland, Australia at the Commonwealth Games. His time was 56.12 seconds. (It still has to be verified by the sport’s governing body.) He has bettered the 2014 record by 35 seconds!

Mr. Corones was the only competitor on Wednesday evening in a race staged specially for him, to see if he could break the existing record. Afterward, he told the BBC he was “quite delighted” with the result.

Perhaps it is time that we rethink the belief that aging equals decline, frailty and decrepitude. Much of how we age has to do with the personal choices we make—day after day. Perhaps it is time we stop making excuses.

Mr. Corones’s swimming career:

    • Born toward the end of WWI, he gave up swimming at age twenty-one
    • The start of WWII “stopped things.”
    • Turning 80, he took up swimming again (when he ran out of excuses)
    • He’s been swimming since.

The 99-year old’s weekly program:

    • Lap-swimming three times a week
    • Gym sessions every week
    • Lives alone and independently
    • Drives himself around

Why does he swim? Why does he race?

    • I started swimming again for exercise
    • Racing challenges him
    • The rewards are “astronomical.”
    • “If you don’t use it, it just goes away”

His approach and philosophy:

    • Be sensible
    • Preparation makes all the difference
    • Focus on the first strokes, keep building on each one thereafter
    • Keep moving, keep going

His next goal: to challenge the 100m freestyle record, currently at 03:23.01, set by Mr. John Harrison in 2014.

5 Lessons we can learn from Mr. George Corones:
    1. You are NEVER too old to start:
      • Getting fit and in shape
      • Write your book
      • To start a new career
    2. Preparation matters
      • It sets you up to succeed
      • If reduces your stress
    3. Show up – do the work
      • It is HARD work
      • Be consistent
    4. Don’t become self-complacent.
      • Keep pushing yourself
      • Challenge yourself constantly.
    5. Keep learning new things.
      • Learn things that challenge you, scare you a bit
      • It’s like doing push-ups with your brain
      • It expands your horizons—realizes your own and other’s potential

Lets’ stop making excuses. What’s holding you back?

Age? Lack of money? Fear?

Yes, I don’t know your situation or your circumstances. Life can be incredibly hard, harsh even. Often it is not fair. It hurts. It’s often overwhelming.

In the same instance, life is also incredibly lovely and filled with moments and hours and days that take our breaths away. The kindness of others often carries us through difficult times. God’s love and his Spirit of peace can heal many wounds.

The question remains: what is holding you back? Let’s not confuse excuses with reasons. You don’t need to break a world record like Mr. Corones, although, it would be grand.

Call to Action: No more excuses! Remember the five lessons.

So, let’s go!


    1. Swimmer, 99, ‘breaks world record’ in Australia. 
    2. 99-year-old Australian sets world record. The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 March, 2018.
    3. This 99-year-old smashed a world record.

© 2018 All rights reserved.

Image – The Independent

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