Karl Donoghue joked that his 100th Canadian masters swimming record means he’s very old.
Donoghue, 76, earned the record in Richmond in the 1,500 metre long course. He completed the race in 25 minutes, 56 seconds, a full 1:18 faster than the previous mark.
“As you go through the age groups, you have a chance of breaking records,” said the Okanagan Falls resident who competes with the Okanagan Masters Swim Club. “I’m third in Canada’s male all-time list.”
His latest Canadian records include the 200, 400, 800-metre freestyle and the 50, 100 and 200-metre long course backstroke as well as short course records for the 200-metre backstroke and 800 and 1500-metre freestyle.
Donoghue trains five times a week, swimming an average of 12 to 14 kilometres and has been swimming competitively for 47 years.
“There is nothing else to do at 6 a.m. in the morning,” quips Donoghue when asked what drives him.
“Karl is an unassuming swimmer and we are incredibly proud to have him as a member of the OMSC team,” said club president Sharon Spring. “He is an inspiration to all of us and is living proof that swimming is a lifelong sport.”
Having the records is special to Donoghue, but he added it has been a lot of work.
“It’s nice to put yourself up against competition,” he said.
Donoghue represents the OMSC, but primarily trains at the Penticton Community Centre. He makes trips to Kelowna every week to get into their larger pool. What Donoghue enjoys of swimming is the training that comes with it. He said it’s something that has to be done consistently. Donoghue also has the short course record (800-m), which he earned in April at the provincial championships.
Donoghue said records are going to be broken and it is about having goals.
“It’s not like your first record anymore. I’m more interested in where is my world ranking,” said Donoghue, who is fifth overall. “That way you are comparing yourself with everybody in your age group over that distance in the world. That’s what’s more important.”
Donoghue, who competed in the Pan American Championships in Colombia last year and picked up five gold medals and three records, is now looking at his next major goal of competing in the World Master Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Last August he competed in the World Masters Championships in Russia, taking five second place finishes.
As for the OMSC, Spring said with Kelowna’s H20 Adventure and Fitness Centre as their base, the club has put together one of the best Masters programs in Canada.
“Our approximately 120 members can attest to the fact that swimming as part of a group makes exercise a whole lot easier and more enjoyable, even at 6 a.m.,” said Spring.
OMSC will be hosting the 2017 B.C. Masters Provincial Swimming Championships in April, and expects to attract up to 300 swimmers and their families to the Okanagan.