Age Not a Factor for Oleksandr Bezuglyy at Ithaca Speedo Sectionals

Photo Courtesy: Emma Miller

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By Emma Miller, Swimming World Contributor

Though he is the oldest swimmer competing at the 2017 EZ Speedo Sectionals, Oleksandr Bezuglyys age doesnt show in the pool.

Twenty years, Ive been swimming 15 miles per day, and thats why I can stay in shape,Bezuglyy explained. Just swimming like, three, four, maximum five times per week.

The 31-year-old from Ukraine is in a unique situation. Bezuglyy is an assistant coach for the Brooklyn-based swim team Matchpoint NYC, home to seven Sectionals qualifiers and over 90 athletes in total. He says that swimming at large competitions like Sectionals allows him to set an example for his kids to follow.

I also am swimming coach, I have junior swim team. Sometimes, Im competing at competitions with them in order [for the] parents to see me and try to compare,he explained. They may think what their children should be like in the future.

Matchpoint NYCs head coach Konstantin Petrov explained why his assistant coaches choose to swim in competitions.

Theyre younger coaches, they very love to be swimmers, they love to continue to swim,Petrov said. I have them as coaches, and the assistants – they know the kids look up to them.

Petrov himself has extensive swimming experience. Hailing from modern-day Kazakhstan, he was a member of the Soviet Unions national swim team from 1983 to 1988. With an Olympic bronze medal from the 1988 Summer Olympics under his belt, Petrov continues to swim to this day and expects the same of his coaches.

Reflecting on his personal swimming background, Bezuglyy remembered what it was like when he was up against much older competition.

Before, back in my day, I was struggling,he admitted. Because you know, its very hard. Its exactly the same experience I had back in my days when I was 15, 16, and by my side swam the big guys, maybe 30 years old. I thought, how is that possible?But its okay. You just turn off your brain and enjoy your swimming.

Bezuglyy qualified for finals in four of his five individual events throughout the weekend, all of which top-five finishes. His 3:56.07 in the 400 IM was good enough for second, while he earned bronze after going 2:01.85 in the 200 breaststroke.

I expect one more medal [Sunday night],Bezuglyy said with a grin. I want to gain a full set – gold, silver, bronze. Well see how it goes.

Bezuglyy was unable to gain a full set,but he did manage to capture silver in the 200 IM with a time of 1:51.36, a whole two seconds faster than his swim at prelims.

Throughout the weekend, Bezuglyy was ousted by men nearly half his age. Going forward, however, he is going to take on competition his own size.

In one month, Im going to attend the U.S. Masters National Championship competition in California,he explained.

Bezuglyy is currently ranked first in the mens 30-34 age group in four separate events by U.S. Masters Swimming: the 100 and 200 backstroke, the 200 breaststroke, and the 400 IM. In preparation for the Spring Championships meet, which will feature upwards of 2,000 swimmers, Bezuglyy says that hes dreaming big despite the short window of time remaining to train.

I have a goal to set a national record for my age group in one mile. Im going to do my best,he said, laughing. Only three and a half weeks, so well see.


  1. Alexander Bezugliy

    Thank you Maftuna! It’s unusual to read articles about myself (;

  2. avatar

    Swimming 26,400 yards per day (3-5 times per week) for 20 years? I call BS on this one Swimming World….

    • avatar

      you misunderstand he used to swim 20kilometers a day back when he was younger. now he swims 4-5 times a week but much less yardage wise. he is saying how swimming that much allowed him to develop a good base that now even though he swims less he can still swim well.

  3. avatar
    Igor Shoukhardin

    If Emma Miller is a real author of this suspicious Russian – English text, would like to ask: what’s a point of the article? Where is a conflict? Is it just for mention Olexander’s name? Who is an initiator?
    It could be understandable if Olexander achieved extraordinary success in his studies, career, family life – whatever, besides of only swimming day after day…
    But in Ithaca he was competing against students-amateur athletes! That’s why I find this material as either empty and incoherent or harmful.

    • avatar

      Dear Mr. Shoukhardin, the point of this article is that double older guy able to compete young and furious students! If we are discussing extraordinary point so there’s no any extraordinary considering the fact that 30 and over guys still getting Olympic medals. But for local event it’s pretty much unusual to see old swimmer. And journalist just admitted that fact and decided to get interviewed me despite I didn’t have much time because I should have been participated in relay right after that! And one more thing Mr. Shoukhardin, we are achieving success in our club in a way of personal appearance and building up strong confidence!

      • avatar
        Igor Shoukhardin

        I’m very sorry for you…. I couldn’t assume that swimming is the only your occupancy. In 30 and over people usually try to exercise their brain as well…

  4. avatar

    Suum Cuique Mr. Shoukhardin. Each person exercising its brain in its own way! Somebody is swimming and somebody is typing wise comments!