Octogenarian Swimmer Still Making a Splash

Gill Turner has been a member of West London Penguins for half a century

Brownlow Road in West Ealing. Picture: Google Streetview



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March 2, 2023

At the age of 80 Gill Turner is still a regular attendee at the swimming club she has been a member of for more than half a century.

She still turns out for sessions with West London Penguins in Northolt three times a week. The group has been a home from home for the 80-year-old for more than half a century and she says she emerges from the pool ‘tired but happy’ after the hour long sessions.

"I swim in the older ‘masters’ group and we usually complete anywhere between 60-80 lengths in the ‘slow’ lane depending on how much energy we have. I’ve made some nice friends over the years and enjoy the social side of the club.”

It seems age is just a number to the octogenarian who ‘likes a challenge’ in the shape of long-distance walking, trail marathons and taking the somewhat murky plunge into open water swimming with the self-styled Wet Suit Wonders.

“I like to think of these things as an experience and it was certainly that trying to get in and out of wet suit for the first time.

“I haven’t made my mind up about open water swimming yet although the greatest danger we faced was a couple of angry ducks who didn’t like sharing the lake with us.”

Gill has also completed several long distance walks including the 192-mile Coast to Coast, the West Highlands Way and the mountainous Tramuntana Trail in Mallorca.

Her sports mad dad instilled a love of exercise in her but she says it is important to find an activity that you enjoy.

“It’s what I would call a healthy habit and is part of my routine along with several long walks a week. I don’t pay much attention to my age. You shouldn’t use it as an excuse not to do things.”

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