- Human Interest
Grace Altus Breaks One Hour Postal Record
3,600 yards at Age 70
A recollection from Grace Altus on February 2010 to her daughter about her record breaking 1994 USMS One Hour Postal National Championship swim at the age of 70. Grace swam a phenomenal 3,600 yards in one hour at age 70 breaking the existing women 70-74 age group record by 240 yards in 1994.
From Grace via email:
"I promised to let you know about my record hour swim, and it was a nice diversion amongst all the chaos here. On January 8, 1994 when I was 70 years old, I swam a little more than 3,600 yards in an hour, swimming alone at UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara pool) with three official timers etc. to make it legitimate. I paid our then-coach Susan to appear and do the paperwork. It was a fundraiser for the Friends of Los Banos and had tons of publicity firsts: TV appearances, newspaper write-ups, etc. I swam over my head, breaking the previous record by a lot (it was 3,360 yards) and was officially the number one in my 70-74 age group that year and the U.S. Masters Swimming record holder. I was a nervous wreck before the day with all the buildup. Lots of friends and relatives showed up...unexpected swim friends. My laps were a metronomic, one yard per second identical, beginning to end. I was on the 6 p.m. TV that night: "Grace Under Pressure." Obviously it was the swim of my life. But I wouldn't want to have to repeat the pressure and uncertainty."