George Corones, an honourary member of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games team, passed away last week aged 101.
Born on 6 April 1918, George captured hearts when at 99 he set a new world record for the long course 50m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games swimming trials. His time of 56.12 ‘shaved’ 35 seconds off the previous record.
The inspiring performance moved Gold Coast Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti to name George as an honourary member of the Australian team for the Games.
Welcome to #TeamAUS George!@steve_mona today welcomed 99yo swimming world recorder holder George Corones onto the team as an honorary member. The offical Australian team of 473 athletes is now confirmed. Bring on #GC2018. pic.twitter.com/YT0vgomog6
— Comm Games AUS (@CommGamesAUS) March 20, 2018
“It was hard not to notice George’s amazing effort in the pool on the Gold Coast a few weeks ago. It was everything we like to see from an Australian athlete – inspirational and courageous. I’m pleased to welcome George on to the team as our honorary 474th athlete for Gold Coast 2018,” Mona said at the time.
Having attended the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney as a 19-year-old, the Gold Coast Games capped an 80-year passion for supporting Australia.
George later became the first 100+ athlete to break one minute for the short course 50m freestyle. Bursting from the blocks, George powered off the wall at the turn to stop the clock at 55.75, smashing the previous world record of 1:16.92.
The Queenslander had a passion for the pool, and returned to competitive swimming in his 80’s. He remains the short course world record holder for the 50m and 100m freestyle in the 94-99 and 100-104 age categories.
Corones’ granddaughter, Jess, who works at Swimming Australia as Performance Solutions Manager, said her grandfather lived a wonderful and fulfilling life.
“While we as a family are incredibly saddened by his passing, we know he lived an extraordinary life and brought joy to all those around him,” she said.
“We are so proud of his achievements and what he accomplished during his time both in and out of the water and we’ll always treasure those memories.”
Corones was laid to rest on the weekend in a service that was streamed to family and friends.
Rest in peace George.