The Old Fossil


While Graham Johnston might be known as “the old fossil,” he is anything but petrified or prehistoric. This 85-year-old might be called one of the world’s foremost “aqua-tourists” — traveling the world with family and friends, eating out, sightseeing, enjoying the culture and always competing in major swimming competitions and open-water challenges.

One of the few iconic swims he hasn’t completed is the English Channel, which he attempted at age 60 in 52 degree water (without a wet suit.) He made it 14 miles before being pulled out with an extreme case of hypothermia. He was unconscious for three hours.

What’s his next big swimming trip? “I want to try the Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim in Turkey next year.” We caught up with Johnston at the U.S. Masters National Championships, where he won five events and set multiple world and national records.

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