At the age of 85 and with multiple world records under her belt, there’s no question Jane Asher is an inspiration to the water leisure industry.
Since taking up Masters Swimming over 30 years ago, Jane has smashed over 75 world swimming records. Now competing in the 85-90 bracket, Jane is hoping to break even more records this year as she gears up for the European Masters Championships 2016, which will take place at the iconic London Aquatics Centre in May.
“I’m feeling confident about the competition,” reveals Jane. “I know what times I’ve got to beat and I know I can do it. Although, sometimes I do surprise myself at how quick I actually am!” Born in Rhodesia, Jane swam competitively at school and during her early twenties before moving to the UK and taking up coaching when she became a mother.
Whilst living in Norwich, Jane set up the East Anglian Swallow Tails swimming club, for which she is still the Honorary Life President. The turning point for Jane came in 1991 when she lost her husband, Robbie, to cancer; it was at this point that she decided to pursue competitive swimming.
“I’ve never thought of swimming as a career,” says Jane. “It has always been my hobby and is my favourite interest outside of spending time with my family. “After Robbie passed away, Masters Swimming became a lifeline for me. It kept me busy and gave me something positive to focus on. I also made lots of new friends and it gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world,” explains Jane.
Over the last three decades Jane has barely lost a race, despite having a double hip replacement at the start of the millennium. She has competed in some of the world’s most high profile swimming pools, but she maintains that her favourite pool to swim in is our very own London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Park.
“For me, the social side of swimming is almost equal to the health benefits. Not only is it good for the body, but it also opens up a whole new friendship circle of people that are interested in you – not your background, what you’ve done or where you’ve come from,” says Jane. She adds: “I just love the buzz of being in the water. I don’t know what I would do without it.”