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Latest features in this month’s Swimming Times

Swimming Times is the official magazine of the ASA and British Swimming. Read about the latest issue below. Click on the buttons to reveal the story.

News Round-up

  • A Briton who was rescued from the bottom of a swimming pool as a child now plans to attempt the longest sea swim in history – 2,000 miles across the Atlantic. Endurance athlete Ben Hooper, from Gloucestershire, intends to swim up to 12 hours a day for four months to make the crossing from Africa to South America. Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who is backing Ben’s Swim the Big Blue expedition, described the challenge as “one of the last great bastions of exploration to remain unconquered.”

  • Swimming costumes from a bygone era made a comeback as more than 200 swimmers converged on the Lake District for the iconic Windermere Cross Lake Swim. While swimmers in wetsuits were included, many in the non-wetsuit category donned heavy 1920s-style woollen costumes for a swim with a history dating back more than 100 years.

  • A disabled couple chose a swimming pool as the venue for an exchange of wedding vows – because deep water is the only place where they can stand cheek-to-cheek. Although they married in a church ceremony at Babbacombe, Devon, bride Linda Vass was disappointed she could not stand tall and walk hand-in-hand with her new husband, Mike Simmons. Staff at Torquay’s Plainmoor Community Pool were delighted to help out by hosting a second ceremony the following day. The couple have been attending mobility classes in the pool for two years.

To read more of this month’s news stories, click here to purchase the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

IPC Worlds 

Several key withdrawals and a slow start made it tough but Britain’s IPC World Championship swimmers fought back well. Swimming Times reports from Glasgow.

It was always going to be difficult for the British para-swimming team competing in Glasgow to emulate the achievements of the 2013 worlds team. Following the decision to focus on those with podium potential, the team for July‘s IPC World Championships was only half the size of the Montreal team, at just 18 swimmers.

That number became even smaller after four withdrew in the run-up to the event. Jonathan Fox, reigning world champion in S7 backstroke, was the first to drop out, defeated by a long-standing shoulder injury. The subsequent withdrawals of Bethany Firth and Steph Slater weeks before the competition were even more of a blow to the team’s medal prospects.

Firth, a former Irish international swimmer, who was to make her debut for the British team, looked certain to top the podium in one or two events in the S14 class, having been top of the world rankings in all four world championship events. A fractured wrist means Firth has had to postpone her debut to next year.

Slater looked likely to snatch at least one title from America’s Jessica Long, who has dominated the S8 classification for almost 10 years now. The British swimmer, who is the current world record holder in 100m fly, had to withdraw after she failed to recover in time from surgery on her hip. Also missing was Swansea University’s Jack Thomas, like Firth an S14, who withdrew after injuring his wrist.

To find out how the team’s fighting spirit made a difference, click here to purchase a copy of the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Honesty Box

Dave Marsh, the recently retired head coach of Perry Beeches SSS, talks about his love of classical music and dark chocolate and dreams of peace and harmony in the world, as well as Birmingham having its own competitive 50m pool.

If I could bring about change… I would banish war and conflict. I was born during the Second World War and during the whole of my life, there has been conflict. I want to see everybody living side by side in peace and harmony. Why should gender, ethnic origin, religion, nationality and sexual orientation be so important and so defining? We should all be valued for who we are and what we contribute to society. I would like to see all ‘exclusive’ education removed whether this is religious, ethnic or the ability to purchase private education. I feel that this would engender a much greater understanding between the different sections of society.

The last time I cried was… I can’t honestly remember but I know that I cried when Ellie Simmonds won her first Olympic gold medal in Beijing. Ellie was a member of Boldmere Swimming Club where I was one of the coaches, and I have known her since she was five.

To read more from Dave click here to buy the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  


British Summer Champs

Plymouth’s Sam Dailley topped the individual medal tally at the new-look British Summer Championships in Sheffield but there were plenty of other triumphs to celebrate.

Dailley’s coach, Robin Armayan, described him as “highly talented” with an “amazing fly”. “He has great technique and is really good under water,” he said. “His skills are impressive for his age. He is a massive competitor who doesn’t like to lose.”

Stockport Metro topped the overall medal table with 31, made up of 13 gold, 11 silver and seven bronze. They were helped to their win by Katie Matts, who claimed gold in the 17-18yrs breaststroke, Holly Hibbott, who breezed her way to victory in the 16yrs 400m freestyle, Harrison Coulter, who won the men’s event in the same age group, and a gold in the women's 400m medley relay.

Plymouth Leander came in second with 32 medals, but one less gold, and City of Leeds were in the third spot with 26 medals.

Plymouth topped the men’s medal table with 22, including 10 gold, followed by Millfield with 20 and Loughborough University with 15. City of Leeds topped the women’s table with 24 medals, including 12 gold, ahead of Stockport Metro with 26 medals, though two less gold, and Ellesmere College Titans with nine.

Twenty-three records, including one world and two European para-swimming records, were set.

For a day-by-day commentary on all the records, medals and PBs click here to buy a copy of the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  


Trevor Clark 

At the Midland Masters Championships in May, 60-year-old Trevor Clark won 20 medals: 19 gold and one silver. Although others have done it elsewhere, he was the first person to complete every individual event during one weekend at the Midlands.

Wondering how the Leamington-based swimmer managed to keep on winning, or whether he was disappointed with the one silver medal among so much gold, Swimming Times caught up with the man with the Midas touch.

Trevor didn’t intend to win 20 medals, or to stand out in particular; it was a personal challenge that he fancied doing, and doesn’t intend doing again. He said: “I didn’t set out to do 20 events, I actually only entered 16. The others were relays. I often do quite a lot of events and people comment that I’m “doing everything again”, so this time I thought I actually would enter every individual event.

“I wondered what it might feel like, and if I didn’t do it now I might never, as it’s getting harder. It was coincidence that Kenilworth picked me for all four relays, but it added to the challenge.

“Taking on this challenge at the Midlands worked out well as there are only two sessions a day there. There is enough time for lunch so you can eat and warm up, rather than just one or the other.”

Reflecting on the 20-race extravaganza, which event did Trevor think was the toughest? To find out, click here to purchase the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.


She used to herd cows but these days Charlotte Turnbull is busy running her Swimtastic award-winning Quackers Swim School. She shared her philosophy with Swimming Times.

From herding cows to running a highly-successful swim school, Charlotte Turnbull’s journey has been interesting and varied. She set up Quackers Swim School in Nottingham in September 2008 and, in the six-and-a-half years since, it has won three Swimtastic awards, most recently bronze in 2014.

Not that Charlotte expected to find herself immersed in a pool seven days a week. She planned for an outdoor life after studying agriculture at college, where she met husband Peter.

But she accompanied her children to swimming lessons and the rest is history. She explains: “Agriculture is my first love. I used to herd cows. I did some when I first left college and then basically my children went in the water and did parent-and-child and then they moved up and then they asked me to stay in and that is how it started me being a swimming teacher.”

Charlotte was teaching at a local leisure pool when a client informed her they were going to reopen a pool in Nottingham and encouraged her to set up her own business. The pool was the Lenton Centre – formerly run by the city council – which was bought by a charity of the same name for £10 following its closure while thousands of pounds were spent on repairs with money raised by grants.

To discover Charlotte’s top teaching tips, click here to purchase the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Quick Interview

Soldier David Wiseman tells Swimming Times about his love of swimming, the experience of being shot in Afghanistan and how he won gold and silver medals in the Olympic pool despite having a Taliban bullet lodged in his lung.

What’s your swimming background?

I have always swum for pleasure. I’ve always loved swimming. In sporting terms, I am a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none but swimming is the only thing that I feel very natural doing. It’s an amazing experience for me. I have always loved being in the water and as that progressed throughout the years, I realised I was quite quick in the pool, especially on crawl. That is my best stroke but I am pretty sharp on butterfly over 50m and I do backstroke. But I’m like a brick on breaststroke.

I swam in the cadets at school [Tadcaster Grammar School, Yorkshire]. But we didn’t really have a development team or a strong programme – just a gala here and there. I swam at Wetherby SC but didn’t really keep it up. I was playing football, cricket and rugby as well as swimming. My parents said I had to choose which one I did but it changed all the time.

I did my pool lifeguard qualification as soon as I was 16 and was a volunteer lifeguard at Tadcaster Community Pool and a paid lifeguard at Edmund Wilson Pool in York, which is no longer there.

At Sandhurst, I was in the swimming and water polo teams so represented the Royal Military Academy for the year I was there. After I graduated from Sandhurst, I was put in charge of swimming in my battalion.

To read more about David’s military experiences, his recovery and his involvement with the Invictus Games, click here to purchase a copy of the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.   

Masters Swimming 

Jo Mitchinson (née Chapman) was a handy youth swimmer but gave up for 10 years before discovering masters – and it’s a path she urges other one-time elite swimmers to follow.

As a youngster, I swam for Hertford SC following the usual competitive path: galas, county champs, regionals, national age groups to national championships. Training just twice a week, I first qualified for the national age groups 100m fly at the age of 13, just missing out on a place in the final, but thrilled to have just made it.

Twelve months later, I returned and was mortified that I finished midway down the field. I had made good progress but, suddenly, everyone else had made more. My dad Jeff Chapman – who was also my first coach – sat me down and said that if I wanted to get better, we needed to find a bigger club and another coach. I am so grateful for his honesty.

He had heard about the arrival of a new coach at Hatfield SC, made contact with him and I started soon after. It was 1993 and the coach was Nick Juba. I remember my first session there – I thought I was going to die. I genuinely didn’t realise that it was possible to train so hard. At the end of that session, Nick said: “I hear you’re a good fly swimmer – show me.” I showed him my fly – I guess he wasn’t very impressed as we started work on my 800m freestyle soon after.

To follow Jo’s story from age group to discovering masters swimming after a 10 year break, click here to buy a copy of the September 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

Swim Dem  

In early July, a group of young adults took on the Great Manchester Swim just months after learning to swim. Andy Akinwolere – former Blue Peter presenter, and the brains behind the Swim Dem Challenge, reflects on the project

It doesn’t seem long since we saw a group of ‘non-swimmers’ cross the finish line in the Great Manchester Swim, and two weeks later, the swimmers that didn’t do the mile in the Salford Quays, swam the Great Newham half-mile swim in the Thames instead, whilst others did the mile. They’d all been learning to swim since late January and I for one could not be prouder of their achievements.

In 2014, I came up with the idea to teach a group of non-swimmers of different ethnicities, ages and social backgrounds to prove that, with the right guidance and in the right environment, swimming can be taught to those disengaged with it as a sport. My aim for this project was to use my world record as a black swimmer (swimming the deepest water) to try and inspire those who have become disengaged with swimming for so many reasons.

Swimming comes with many obstacles so the idea behind this challenge was to focus on what affected people outside the pool and then have an open and frank discussion about it. The reality is that if people genuinely don’t want to do something, they won’t do it – so how do we draw them in? One of the ways is to get a group like the Swim Dem Crew (a community swimming group from Hackney) to join you on this journey – they look like the swimmers we’re teaching and speak their language.

To find out more about this initiative, click here to buy a copy of the September 2015 issue. 

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