Jane Asher was born in ‘Nkana, Northern Rhodesia in 1931, but grew up in South Africa, loving the water and having swimming access anytime, anywhere. At the age of 22, in 1953, she moved to Britain to take a post-graduate diploma in personnel management at Manchester University. She swam on the university swim team and realized the swimming advantage she had had as a child living in South Africa. The children of Britain did not have the same access to water privileges Jane had, as during World War II and shortly before her arrival, Britain’s beaches were covered with barbed wire, and pool swimming time was at a premium.
As a world-class Masters swimmer, Jane Asher has set 75 FINA Masters World Records in the freestyle, I.M., backstroke and sprint butterfly events in the 55-59 through 70-74 age groups. She has won gold medals 30 times at FINA Masters World Championships and is the first masters swimmer to ever hold every freestyle record in her age group. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in the class of 2006.
Click here to a video of Jane in 2015
JANE ASHER, GBR, 80-84
Jane Asher earned her third spot on the World Masters Swimmers of the Year list, fourth if you count a runner-up spot in 2007. She last made an appearance in 2006 after earning her first berth back in 2004.
Asher had an outlandish resume for the ballot this year, ending the competitive season with 10 short course meter and eight long course meter FINA Masters World records:
SCM: 50 free (37.67), 100 free (1:24.44), 200 free (3:01.61), 400 free (6:34.92), 50 back (46.10), 100 back (1:44.88), 200 back (3:42.88), 50 fly (45.57), 100 IM (1:42.46), 400 IM (8:07.34); LCM: 100 free (1:24.66), 200 free (3:07.40), 400 free (6:57.31), 800 free (13:51.21), 100 back (1:46.11), 200 back (3:50.64) 200 IM (3:54.07), 400 IM (8:21.88)
“Because I turned 80 this year, I planned to swim all events, but later decided to leave out the 200 fly in both long and short course,” Asher said. “I might have a go at the 200 fly next year, but it will have to be at a meet where nothing else matters! It's quite hard to find long course events, when one has to get through 17 events in about five meets.”