Bowling Green woman breaks swimming world records

Penny Noyes is 63 years old, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the way she glides through the water in the Bowling Green High School Pool.

You also wouldn’t know that Noyes is a Masters World Record swimmer, holding the fastest times in the world in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle, 50 meter backstroke, and 50 meter butterfly. Most recently, she competed at the U.S. Masters National Championship Meet, breaking the record she already held in the 50 meter freestyle when she swam that distance in 26.20 seconds, faster than any women in the 60-64 age group.

Noyes says she began swimming when she was almost nine years old. She almost found her way competing in the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, but sadly she came down with an illness that kept her out of the pool for nearly two months. She got back into swimming at the University of Massachusetts, becoming the first female recipient of the Title IX scholarship in school history, so being a part of history is nothing new to her. 

In order to prep for her most recent races, Noyes began training with the SKY Swim Club in Bowling Green back in November. She said it’s been both a humbling (and exhausting) experience, but it’s also allowed her to serve as a role model and set an example for the next generation of competitive swimmers. 

The one takeaway from her 54-year long swimming journey has culminated into this: nothing is ever going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you stop working hard. Noyes says she’s still hoping to break the 25-second mark before she hangs up her wet-suit and goggles for good.