Though 89 years old, Margaret Cunningham broke six state records on the way to six individual gold medals in the Queensland Masters State Long Course Championships.
Though 89 years old, Margaret Cunningham broke six state records on the way to six individual gold medals in the Queensland Masters State Long Course Championships. Tony Martin

Nearly 90-years-old and still breaking sport records

SWIMMING: Margaret Cunningham turns 90 next month and you would think she'd be slowing down.

However, she's doing the opposite, and going faster than anyone her age has before.

Cunningham swam in the Queensland Masters State Long Course Championships in Townsville, breaking six state and four national records for her age group.

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She won all her races, although she was the only swimmer competing in the 90-94 years category.

Cunningham raced the 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle and breaststroke events.

In the lead-up to the championships, Cunningham was swimming one kilometre five times a week at Pioneer Swim Centre and with the North Mackay Sinkers Masters Swimmers club.

"It's good training with them because I don't like swimming on my own," she said.

Sinkers president Daniel Stampa said Cunningham was their oldest swimmer.

"She's an inspiration for all our members," he said.

The 89-year-old spent about 23 years living in Cannonvale and moved to Palmview Village, a retirement community in Mackay, more than a year ago.

Despite her age Cunningham is still physically and mentally fit, something she said swimming had helped.

Cunningham showed her competitive streak when asked about the feeling of winning gold.

"I'm disappointed when I don't get the medal," she said. "I am competitive but I'm getting a bit old and stiff."

Born in Inverness, Scotland, Cunningham has been swimming for 80 years, competing in masters events throughout Australia and the world.

"When I came to Australia when I was 60, I got into masters swimming and from then on I won most of my events," she said. "I just enjoy swimming but I'm getting a bit old for it."

Cunningham's competitive swimming career could be drawing to a close.

"I'm going to Cannonvale next month, the Whitsunday Masters are having their meet, so perhaps that might be my last one," she said.


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