Soller.—Richard Harding came to Majorca this week to celebrate his 80th birthday.
Nothing unusual in that, you might think, many people come here for special occasions.
What makes Richard stand out, is how he was preparing to celebrate his special birthday.
The celebration dinner was a given but a 3'000 metre swim starting at 6 am was the unusual part.
Richard is one fit octogenarian he is a ‘Master Swimmer'.
Master swimming is a special class of competitive swimming for swimmers of over 25 years.
They compete within age groups of five years which means that Richard now swims in the 80 – 85 year category.
Master swimming
Masters Swimming is a fast growing leisure activity with clubs worldwide. They usually have experienced coaches in the club to help the swimmers get the best out of their category. They swim against their own personal best speeds and raise thousands for charity particularly for him the McMillan Cancer Charity.

Master Swimmers travel to meetings all over the word and are part of a friendly band of like minded sports enthusiasts, who have found the answer to their fitness and health needs in swimming.

Richard and his wife Jennifer love Majorca and are frequent visitors here. Indeed a few years ago they travelled here in their Toyota Prius Car – one of the the first hybrid car, ever produced.

This paper did an article on it's arrival in Majorca – it caused quite a stir at the time and was the first of its kind. This car is still owned by Richard, and lives in Oxfordshire at his home base. He is the UK correspondent on EV World, an organisation for the propagation of the wonders of Electric Vehicles.

An Engineer by trade and inclination he also has, the vehicle pedigree of being the the first cousin of the Hon Charles Rolls of Rolls Royce fame.
Backstroke is what he does and this is his competitive stroke. From early beginnings as an asthmatic and sickly child he has developed an exercise programme that really works for him.

Every day
He swims every day of of the year and is normally in the pool at 6 am. At the age of 60 he made a decision to use exercise to keep himself mentally and physically fit and it has worked.

Up early, a drive to the local swimming pool for an hour and a half swimming ,every day, before going home for breakfast.
The goal he set himself for his 80th birthday was to be in the Majorca that he loves. In the heated outdoor pool of his favourite hotel the Es Moli in Deya, swimming 3000 metre backstroke from 6 am. I am so glad to report that he did just that! Happy Birthday Richard Harding.