Mieko Nagaoka at the age of 100.
|Birth:||31 July 1914|
|Death:||19 January 2021|
Tabuse, Yamaguchi, Japan
|Age:||106 years, 172 days|
Mieko Nagaoka (31 July 1914 – 19 January 2021) was a Japanese centenarian athlete who is known for competing in masters swimming. She was the first 100+ year old to complete a 1500 meters swim.
Mieko Nagaoka was born on 31 July 1914 in Yamaguchi, Japan just days after the start of World War I. She first started swimming at 80 years old to recover from a knee injury. In the beginning, Nagaoka didn’t know how to swim. She used to go in to the swimming pool to do exercises for her knee. At 82, she started to learn how to swim on her own. And because she performs in a Noh (a classical Japanese dancing drama) this was also an incentive for her to learn how to swim so that she could stay in shape for the plays.
When she was 84 she started swimming masters. In 2015, she became the first 100-year-old to complete a 1,500m freestyle swim in a 25m pool. She completed the feat in just over 1 hour and 15 minutes, using backstroke all the way. Nagaoka trains four times a week for two hours under the tutelage of long-time coach Shintaro Sawada. She likes to swim longer distances because she swims slowly and is able to keep her own pace.
Nagaoka died from acute respiratory failure in Tabuse, Yamaguchi, Japan on 19 January 2021 at the age of 106 years, 172 days. She fell ill shortly after a routine practice session at a swimming school on 15 January, four days before her death.