Society generally considers a person in their late 60’s to be old. With that in mind, Pat Gallant-Charette figured she may as well be great at something while she’s old!
The Westbrook, Maine native is an endurance swimmer and continues to make history while racing against Father Time.
“It was gradual steps that brought me to realize that you’re never too old to go out and get your dream,” she told Maine News Today. “You’re never too old to improve your fitness.”
Gallant-Charette, who is one of eight children, got back in the water when she was 48-years-old in honor of her two brothers who faced untimely deaths. Both were open water swimmers.
Gallant-Charette had dreams of swimming the English Channel, so she trained and worked her way up to 20 mile swims. In 2010, Gallant-Charette became the third-fastest woman to swim from Spain to Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Seven years later, Gallant-Charette accomplished her biggest goal. She crossed the English Channel at 66 years of age; she became the oldest woman to complete the 21-mile swim.
“I feel strong. Stronger than when I was a teenager,” she told Outside magazine.
Gallant-Charette is a retired nurse who shows no signs of slowing down. In 2018, she completed four marathon swims, including a 28-mile endurance race around Manhattan Island. She also did a 16-mile swim across the Cook Strait in New Zealand when completing the vaunted Oceans Seven challenge.
“When you’re younger, you get caught up in it all, trying to be the fastest,” she said. “But when you’re 68, you just want to have a good swim. If you’re successful, great. If not, eh, you just reschedule and try it again.”
Gallant seems to be having far too much fun in a sport that requires one to endure a great deal of pain. She doesn’t appear ready to hang up her goggles anytime soon.
“I want to see what a 68-year-old swimmer can do,” she said. “Then I want to see what a 70-year-old can do. I can see myself doing this into my 80’s.”
God bless her!