“I thought it would be an exercise in futility because I didn’t think I could do it,” said Jackson. “Turned out better than I thought.”
Jackson is a living legend. The veteran of World War II competed in the Masters Swim meet in Bentonville at the ripe old age of 95.
“Inspirational,” said Master Swim coordinator Brent Tininenko. “He’s my idol. Love watching him, love supporting him.”
There was plenty support for Jackson as he attempted to break the national record time in the 100 meter breaststroke in the 95-99 age group. Not only did he break the old record of 3:38, he absolutely crushed it with a new time of 3:16. A full 22 seconds faster.
“I thought ‘What have I done?'”, said Jackson. “I was very happy about it.”
Jackson didn’t start swimming until his 60’s when he asked Ian Bullock to teach him to swim. It was Bullock who had to convince him to attempt the record.
“He was a little reluctant. He said he was having trouble with his breathing, his sinuses,” said Ian Bullock. “I said ‘Okay, you got four more years to do it’ and he said ‘Well I may not be upright in four more years.'”
Even after history was made, Jackson remained humble.
“Well it’s only in this one event, remember, it feels okay,” said Jackson. “There are a lot of other swimmers out there in my age group that are faster than I am in other events.”
When told he was still one of the best, Jackson simply smiled and said…
“Well thank you, thank you.”