A SCOTTISH pensioner has been honoured for his exploits in the swimming pool by the judges of a national competition.

Hamilton man Ken McKay, 83, secured his position as one of the UK's most extraordinary retired people by claiming the prize for achievement in sport in the final of the 2012 National Retirement Awards, run by UK retirement housebuilder, Mc-Carthy & Stone.

Having previously battled stiff competition from fellow nominees to be announced as the Scottish regional champion in June, Ken was declared as the national sports champion by the judging panel.

The category, designed to honour those aged over 60 who have achieved continued success within active sport, featured a number of recipients in the final round, but it was Ken's lifelong achievements in swimming that saw him finally clinch the prize.

Since turning 60, Ken, who won his first Scottish championship swimming medal in 1948, the year that the Olympic Games were last held in Britain, has gone on to win five world championships in Masters swimming in Australia, 31 GB golds and 168 Scottish golds, as well as setting World, European and British Records.

During his career be broke 100 British and Scottish records and was Scots Personality of the Year when he was 65.

He retired from the sport in 2008 but has refused to give up entirely.

He said: "You can't change growing old, but you can delay growing up."

Steve Wiseman, regional managing director for McCarthy & Stone, said: "We have had the pleasure of meeting some truly inspirational individuals throughout the course of this competition, but Ken's exceptional achievements in the pool really made him stand out from the crowd.

"We couldn't have wished for a more deserving winner."

The National Retirement Awards were aimed at honouring individuals or groups of people aged 60 or over, who have done something worthy of recognition, excelled in their field or gone all out to help their local community.

Ken's prize was a cheque for £1000.

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk