Champion swimmer Sam, 92, bets he'll live to 105

Sam Almond, who has written books about how to live a long life, is fighting fit - and swimming every day


Sam Almond is not your average 92-year-old, nor is he usually a betting man, but he has put a bet on himself living to be 105 because he is sure his healthy lifestyle and exercise routine will stand him in good stead. 

Mr Almond, who lives in Eastbourne, gets up at 6am to swim 30 lengths every morning and is currently the UK 90 to 95 year group swimming champion.

He plans to plans to live to be 105 and hopes to be the first 100-year-old to write a book about living to his own centenary and how others can do it too.

“I like to think of myself as a longevity expert,” he tells me. 

The 92-year-old is a motivational speaker and gives talks on how to live longer. 

“I am writing a book about how to do it and I want to be the first 100-year-old author to have written a guide on how it can be done.”

And although eight years is a long time away, he is confident he will achieve it.

“I’ve got a bet on myself living to 105. If I win I’ll get £100,000,” he says.

He has not thought about what he would do with the money if he wins, although he says he would like to spend some on his children. 

“I have a daughter and son, we lost a daughter in her 30s and you don’t get over something like that. That pain as a parent never leaves you.”

Mr Almond says regular exercise has helped with his mental health and encouraged people to embrace getting old.

“No matter how old you get you continue to learn. I learn something new every day.”

The former RAF pilot, who was born in Manchester in 1926, was shortlisted for the 1948 British Olympic swimming team in the 3m springboard section but was unable to compete because he could not afford to travel to the training. 

But it did not deter him from his passion and he has remained an avid swimmer who “always” swims in the sea — weather and temperature permitting. 

“I’ve been swimming all my life. I’ve always done a lot of sport. I’m very good at it. If you go in the sea on a beautiful sunny morning when the sky is blue it is the nearest thing to heaven as you’ll ever get,” he says.
Mr Arnold, who lives with his wife Hazel, swims in the sea from May to August and during the colder months he goes to his local David Lloyd pool where he tries on average to do at least “30 lengths in 15 minutes”.

The key to living longer he says is having discipline, love and good habits. 

“Love is extremely important for longevity. It fortifies you and gives you strength. I love being married. 
“As you get older it is also important to insure you keep your stamina. The more exercise you do the more likely it is that you’ll keep it. There is an age old saying, ‘if you don’t use it then you lose it’, and that is true.”

Mr Arnold was not always in great health. He suffered two minor strokes in his early eighties — something that inspired him to make a change. 

“I changed my diet, I cut down on the things that are bad for me and made sure I eat healthily. I don’t think I am unusual — everyone can do it.”

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