An 85-year-old grandmother from Merton Park is hoping to smash 32 world swimming records this year, having already claimed 25 since her 80th birthday.

‘Supergran’ Jane Asher, a mother of four with 11 grandchildren, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame more than ten years ago, having already won 75 world titles by that time.

Her next big challenge is the European Masters Swimming Championships, held at London’s Aquatic Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from May 25 to 29.

Mrs Asher will compete in the 85-90 section of the contest, having recently enjoyed a winning streak at events in Crawley, Sheffield, Wales and Guernsey.

Earlier this month, on May 7, she carried her good form into an event in Norwich, where she had previously spent 40 years working as a primary and secondary school teacher and swimming coach.

She said: “Norwich was fantastic. I smashed the world record for 100 metres freestyle by over 13 seconds, and had the audience on their feet as they were all old friends; either people who I had coached during my 40 years there, or present day swimmers who know that was quite an achievement.”

Born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and raised in Johannesburg, Mrs Asher swam competitively at boarding school and university, but after she married her husband Robert and had their four children, the sport took a back seat until she took up coaching children in her forties. 

After Robert sadly died 25 years ago, her passion for swimming gave her a focus and she began competing seriously.

Alongside her demanding training schedule, Mrs Asher coaches the King’s Cormorants Masters Swimming Club in Wimbledon, and attends classes and activities run by local social welfare charity the Wimbledon Guild.

Mrs Asher said: “I have such a busy schedule with my swimming and other activities, but through attending the classes I know the staff there are doing really valuable work.”

Wimbledon Guild chief executive Wendy Pridmore said she hoped other older people in the community would follow her example.

She said: “Jane is an amazing lady who inspires us all and we will be following her progress and cheering her on in the swimming championships.

“We hope more older people in the community will come along and get involved with the activities we have on offer.”

The charity’s Ageing Well programme is an initiative which aims to help older people fulfil their personal aspirations so they can continue to live independently with confidence, and provides great opportunities for older people to socialise and make new friends.

Wimbledon Guild also organises the Wimbledon Guild Village Fair, one of south London’s biggest free outdoor events.

This year’s fair takes place on Saturday, June 18 on Wimbledon Common.