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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Michael Jordan Joins The Half Century Club

Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, has turned 50.

How time has unceasingly marched on.

In the basketball world, that age is far beyond a player's prime. The same is true in most athletic endeavors. The body ages and time catches up with you. As strength, stamina and speed decrease, responsibilities and available time to train decrease. It is a natural phenomena accepted in the athletic world.

Previous to the 20th century, in fact, the life expectancy was very short. Ranging from 28 in Classical Greece and Classical Rome to 30 in Medieval Britain, and later up to 40 years as history progressed. Dial forward to 2010 and the world life expectancy average is 67.2 years, ranging from 49 years in Swaziland to 82 years in Japan.

But take mankind from terra firma to water and it appears that time slows, at least when you look at the members of the Half Century Club.

Half Century Club is a club that is exclusively limited to individuals who successfully completed a marathon of 10 km or more in distance or a channel swim who are at least 50 years ago. There are Half Century Clubs in the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Santa Barbara Channel, Molokai Channel, Rottnest Channel Swim, Strait of Gibraltar, Cook Strait, Lake Ontario, Lake Zurich and many other open bodies of water around the world.

Like Michael Jordan in his prime, these people are flying high in their middle age. They prove that some things do get better with age.

But it is not only limited to marathon swimmers and channel swimmers who are enjoyed health and wellness benefits from swimming. As a low-impact cardiovascular/aerobic exercise, swimming's benefits are well-documented and understood. From improved flexibility, strength, stamina and speed, swimming also helps reduce stress and can be used for rehabilitation after land-based injuries.

1. Roger Allsopp (England), 70 years and 4 months, England-to-France in 17:51 in 2011
2. George Brunstad (USA), 70 years and 3 days, England-to-France in 15:59 in 2004
3. Clifford Batt (Australia), 67, France-to-English in 18:37 in 1987
4. Ashby Harper (USA), 65, E/F in 13:52 in 1982
5. Joe Smith (England), 65, E/F in 14:09 in 1999
6. Roger Allsopp (England), 65, E/F in 15:30 in 2006
7. Sue Oldham (Australia), 65, E/F in 17:11 in 2010
8. Michael Read (England), 63, E/F in 15:29 in 2004
9. Veljko Rogosic (Croatia), 63, E/F in 11:27 in 2004
10. Robert West (USA), 61, E/F in 15:35 in 1996
11. Sue Oldham (Australia), 61, E/F in 16:03 in 2006
12. Jean-Paul Madelenat (France), 60, E/F in 14:46 in 2002
13. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), 60, E/F in 15:57 in 2011
14. Linda Ashmore (England), 60, E/F in 15:11 in 2007
15. Vijaya Claxton (USA), 59, E/F in 22:27 in 2007
16. James "Doc" Counsilman (USA), 58, E/F in 13:07 in 1979
17. Mo Siegel (USA), 58, E/F in 14:18 in 2010
18. Barbara Held (USA), 58, E/F in 12:10 in 2012
19. Carol Sing (USA), 57, E/F in 12:32 in 1999
20. Kevin Murphy (England), 57, E/F in 15:14 in 2006
21. Alan Macleay (England), 57, E/F in 22:14 in 2006
22. Richard Haan (Czech Republic), 57 in 14:07 in 2005
23. Peter Urrea (USA), 56, E/F in 14:38 in 1996
24. Kevin Murphy (England), 56, E/F in 13:35 in 2005
25. Jackie Cobell (England), 56, E/F in 28:44 in 2010
26. Duke Dahlin (USA), 55, E/F in 14:37 in 2003
27. Christopher Blakeslee (USA), 54, E/F in 14:44 in 2004
28. Michael Miller (USA), 54, E/F in 16:10 in 2008
29. Roger Finch (South Africa), 54, E/F in 12:39 in 2011
30. Marilyn Korzekwa (Canada), 54, E/F in 16:28 in 2011
31. George Hunihan (USA), 54, E/F in 16:30 in 2008
32. Otto Thaning (South Africa), 53, E/F in 10:29 in 1994
33. Klaus Stutzer (Germany), 53, E/F in 14:09 in 1997
34. Morris Finkelstein (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2003
35. Bill Hoehn (USA), 53, E/F in 15:53 in 2004
36. Hugh Tucker (South Africa), 53, E/F in 13:37 in 2004
37. Tom Hecker (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2005
38. Steven Smith (England), 53, E/F in 14:28 in 2005
39. Vasanti Niemz (Germany), 53, E/F in 16:50 in 2010
40. Dan Richards (USA), 53, E/F in 12:32 in 2010
41. Doug McConnell (USA), 53, E/F in 14:18 in 2010
42. Henry Eckstein (USA), 52, E/F in 14:24 in 2000
43. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 53, E/F in 17:18 in 2004
44. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 52, E/F in 14:57 in 2003
45. Dennis Dressel (USA), 52, E/F in 12:08 in 2003
46. Jorge Rikarday (Mexico), 52, E/F in 20:24 in 2003
47. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
48. Elizabeth Fry (USA), 52, E/F/E in 24:39 (two-way in 13:20 + 11:19) in 2011
49. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
50. Gilles Chalandon (USA), 52, E/F in 14:31 in 2010
51. Mark Stone (USA), 52, E/F in 13:07 in 2009
52. Kevin Murphy (England), 51, E/F in 14:29 in 2000
53. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 51, E/F in 17:08 in 2002
54. Anne Cleveland (USA), 51, E/F in 11:33 in 2007
55. Michael Ball (England), 51, E/F in 12:55 in 2009
56. Paul Downie (Australia), 51 E/F in 12:39 in 2011
57. Nancy Steadman-Martin (USA), 50, E/F in 11:20 in 2004
58. James Fitzpatrick (USA), 50, E/F in 14:32 in 2005
59. Frank Chalmers (Scotland), 50, E/F in 16:48 in 2005
60. Tim Cheesman (England), 50, E/F in 16:14 in 2005
61. Terry O'Brien (Australia), 50, E/F in 15:50 in 2006
62. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), 50, E/F in 12:54 in 2009
63. Jim Bayles (USA), 50, E/F in 10:59 in 2002
64. Jim Boucher (Ireland), 50, E/F in 16:51 in 2011
65. Andrew Hunt (Australia), 50 E/F in 13:54 in 2011

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association


  1. the legendary player of all the time

  2. I didn't see the article mention what 10K+ swim Jordan did. Nobody can deny his achievements, but you don't get to be a member of the Half Century Club just by turning 50.

  3. Half Century Club is a club that is exclusively limited to individuals who successfully completed a marathon of 10 km or more in distance or a channel swim who are at least 50 years ago. Michael has not done a marathon swim. The title merely implies that he turned 50 years old.


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