- How did your swimming journey begin?
I turned the big 5-0 in January this year, and I had set myself a challenge to be a non smoker by the time I hit 50, that was my first challenge. It all snowballed from there, as I didn't want to put on weight from quitting smoking, and by quitting smoking it gave me extra energy and I got my lungs back so I thought I’d give swimming a go.
- Why did you choose swimming and not any other sports?
On my first smoke-free Sunday in January, I woke up early and was so restless I decided to head to the local pool. I learnt to swim at primary school as a kid, so I knew how to do a basic front crawl and backstroke, but I hadn't swam since high school. It seemed a good way to start doing some exercise and building my fitness; believe me, after 35 years of smoking, I was in poor shape and swimming seemed the ideal starting point for me. ~
- Tell us about the challenges you came across on your journey?
My main challenge was really just my body adjusting to my new active swimming regime. I got pretty much hooked on swimming after the first swim. Then a friend at work suggested the YMCA as it's so close to where we work and that was it, I found myself getting up at 5 in the morning just so I could fit in a swim before work in the morning, or I'd head for a swim straight after work. I also signed up to take part in the Swimathon, which the YMCA took part in for the first time this year; this was a great motivator for me. It forced me to start training regularly to prepare myself for a 2.5k swim which I successfully completed on the April 8th.
- How did you overcome these challenges?
I was very lucky, because I was loving swimming. I was also happy that I was improving my fitness and stamina levels. I joined a YMCA swimming class to improve my technique and I've met some great people along the way, it also helped that Martin is a fantastic instructor. I signed up to Swimtag which was a great way of tracking my training progress. It gives me personal best alerts and challenges that I can set myself, which has all helped to keep me motivated.
- Do you think that swimming has made a positive impact on your lifestyle?
Definitely, I've felt a bit lost since I completed the Swimathon, but I am now on the hunt for a new swimming challenge. I’ve continued going to my swimming lessons and I've just learnt to tumble turn, which is really exciting! I just want to get better and fitter.
- Have you seen any health benefits since you started swimming?
There have been so many. I’m much more active now, I have even started to venture into the gym. I love Modesto's circuit training class, and I really want to get into some weight training too. My diet has also improved. I eat a much healthier and I am starting to feel a bit more toned.
- How has the YMCA helped you on your journey?
The YMCA has been fantastic, the staff are great which makes all the difference. I have found everyone incredibly welcoming, encouraging and helpful along my journey. I feel very comfortable here and this is really important to me. The staff make the YMCA such a diversely rich environment.
- What have you achieved since you started your swimming journey?
My biggest achievement so far has been completing the 2.5k Swimathon challenge. I beat my personal best time by 4 minutes on the day, and this was despite losing 4 minutes out of the pool after a cramp attack on length 88 of 100. I also managed to raise enough funds for charity to be awarded my Swimathon t-shirt and towel. So at the age of 50 I was awarded my first ever medal.
- Will you stick to your swimming routine?
I will definitely continue swimming, but I really want a new challenge and something to train towards so I'm on the lookout.