Swimming: 'Supa Sid' no slouch in pool

Record breaker Sid Salek at Moana Pool. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Record breaker Sid Salek at Moana Pool. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Eighty-year-old Sidney Salek (Mount Maunganui) displayed the enthusiasm and aggression of a teenager when he punched the air with his fist after breaking a New Zealand record at Moana Pool this week.

He had just won the men's aged 80 to 84 400m freestyle in 7min 48.53sec and reduced the old record by a massive 33 seconds.

"It was a 1995 record and I slaughtered it," Salek enthusiastically told the Otago Daily Times.

"I've been working hard on my technique, because I know that Moana is a fast pool."

It was a successful championships for Salek, who won four gold medals and broke three records.

His other records were in the 100m backstroke (2min 05.09sec) and the 200m butterfly (5min 52.42sec).

"That's great, getting three records and four wins. I'm stoked," he said. "I'm just happy to be here."

Salek is no ordinary 80-year-old. He works as a lifeguard on the beach at Mount Maunganui and trains as vigorously as a 20-year-old.

He swims five days a week in the pool or in the ocean and also lifts weights.

He has been dubbed "Supa Sid" for his confident and aggressive approach to life.

"I mix with young people and elite athletes and it keeps me buzzing," he said.

His record speaks for itself.

He won bronze medals in the 200m individual medley and the 200m freestyle at the World Masters Games at Sydney.

"I've lost count of the number of New Zealand records I've broken over the years," Salek said.

His enthusiasm for life keeps him motivated, but he also adds a healthy diet and takes natural supplements to make sure he gets all the nutrients his body needs.

He has been living on his own for the last 14 years after separating from his wife.

"Perhaps that's my secret," he quipped.


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