G. Harold “Gus” Langner (USA)
Honor Masters Swimmer (2003)
FOR THE RECORD: MASTERS SWIMMER: (freestyle); 80-84 AGE GROUP: 57 world records, 114 national records; 85-89 AGE GROUP: 98 world records, 147 national records; 90-94 AGE GROUP: 30 world records, 68 national records; TOTAL: 185 world records, 329 national records.
Maybe it was the competitive spirit that Gus Langner developed as a youngster that drives him over 90 years later as a stalwart Master swimmer. Perhaps it was his training as a swimmer at Yale University under Hall of Fame coach, Bob Kiphuth, that inspired Gus to swim 2,000 yards per day, three to five days per week throughout his working life as an engineer, and conditions him to continue to swim today. Whatever it was, it is the Masters Swimming Program in which Gus thrives today and excels as one of the world’s best – in five age groups.
He missed qualifying for the 1928 Olympic Team by one place in the 1,500 meter freestyle, but now, 67 years later, he is a Masters World Champion and holds over 31 world records. His robust, 5-11, 200 pound frame likes to swim the distance freestyle events. Gus says he has never been a very fast swimmer, but he hasn’t slowed down very much either. It’s also true in life, he hasn’t slowed down very much – and now in his 90s, he is an example of what is to come for those younger than he.
“One of the things about being a champion is to survive,” says Gus. And he laughs, “I’ve outlived a lot my competition, or what might have been my competition.” It may be the competition which keeps Gus going, but its the by-products of competition which Gus likes – the exercise and fitness, the camaraderie at meets and training and the feeling of pride and success. From his first year of Masters swimming, Gus Langner represents the longevity and dominance in a sport which has been a part of his life – all of his life.