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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

  • Fifteen deaf swimmers will be representing Great Britain at the 2015 Deaf World Championships in Texas later this year – but unless they can find a major sponsor, most of them will be paying £2,700 for the privilege. Because the S15 category is not in the Paralympic Games, deaf swimmers receive no Lottery funding even though one member of the British team, Danielle Joyce holds deaf world records. And when it comes to international competition, they have to pay their own way.

  • Jackie Cobell, famous as the slowest successful Channel swimmer in history, has added Falkland Sound in the South Atlantic to her impressive list of extreme swimming locations. But this was no ordinary dip in freezing waters. The 60-year-old from Tonbridge, Kent, joined her Argentinian friend Matias Ola, 30, to form a two-person relay team as a gesture of peace and friendship between the two countries. ‘I first met Matias three years ago, when we were both swimming the Bering Strait. He said wouldn’t it be lovely for him and me to swim in the Falklands as a gesture of peace and friendship.’

  • Great Britain’s under 17 girls’ water polo team will be heading for the inaugural European Games after defeating the odds to achieve second place in a thrilling qualifying tournament. The team, selected from the England talent programme, sealed their qualification for the Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a 30-0 thrashing of Switzerland in their final match at Nice in the south
 of France. The host nation then did them a favour by dispatching the Czech Republic 14-7, which meant Britain qualified ahead of the Czechs thanks to a vastly superior goal difference of plus 52.

To read more of the latest news stories, click here to purchase the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

This Life

Former gymnast, Rhea Gayle, was a late starter in diving but she aims to make up for lost time, she tells Swimming Times.

I love diving but it was literally by chance that I took it up. I only got into it in 2009 when I was 16 after I was talent-tested through my school. I then went to Crystal Palace, which was within walking distance of my home, and it just went from there.

To be honest, I did not really know anything about diving until the 2008 Olympics, when the spotlight was on Tom Daley. Then I was like, ‘That looks quite interesting’. As it happens, I then got a letter saying I was going to be talent-tested and I was keen to give it a go.

When I first went diving, I was really scared and nervous because it is completely different to gymnastics. Also, in diving, there are heights involved and I had never been that confident with heights. I tried both platform and springboard, but I took to springboard more than platform. I definitely made the right decision giving diving a go.

To find out more about Rhea’s plans click here to purchase a copy of the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Honesty Box

Danny Mcgowan, the winner of the Scottish ASA’s 2014 Outstanding Service Award reveals that his career as an international swimming coach began on the diving boards

Nobody knows this but... Very few people know that I came into swimming as a diver. I was doing somersaults off the springboard at Coatbridge Baths when John Bell came up and invited me to join the local club. Along with Peter Heatly [three-time Commonwealth diving champion], John was the leading diving coach in Scotland at that time. I was already in the gymnastics club and to do the diving, I had to join Coatbridge Swimming Club. That was not bad for a young boy who was afraid of heights. I competed on the 1m, 3m and 5m boards but I never quite got to the dizzy heights of the 10m.

My favourite book and film are... My favourite book is Bounce by Matthew Syed, the three-time Commonwealth table tennis champion. He and his brother were both British champions and were among five people from the same street who were on the British team. This was because they had a teacher at school who loved the sport and taught them every day. The book dispels the myth that you are born to be a champion. The myth of talent versus the power of practice is what the book is all about and it confirmed my own long-held opinions.

To read more from Danny you can click here to buy the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

The House that Trevor Built 

Award-winning inventor and former international swimmer and stunt diver Trevor Baylis lives in an extraordinary house on an island in the Thames.

Trevor Baylis’s directions offered the first clues about his extraordinary home. ‘Turn left down Water Lane, head for the footbridge to Eel Pie Island and I’ll meet you on the bridge,’ he said.

As I headed down the aptly- named Water Lane, a large flock of gulls, geese, ducks, swans and coots contested the food scraps being thrown by passers-by.

The home of the inventor and former swimmer, stunt diver and swimming pool salesman is one of a few dozen houses clustered together on Eel Pie Island at Twickenham, south-west London – a community once described as ‘50 drunks clinging to a mudflat’ and where the Rolling Stones played gigs before they were famous.

And to think that this most sought- after of building plots was bought 45 years ago with the proceeds of 18 days’ work.

Not just any work, though. In 1970, Trevor spent two-and-a-half weeks in West Berlin as the star of an underwater escapology stunt in which an Egyptian pharaoh was lowered in a sarcophagus into 14 feet of water. Trevor played the pharaoh and the daring trick nearly cost him his life. But he was paid danger money and some.

‘I’ve always been a showoff – or a showman,’ he says. ‘When I was selling swimming pools, I would do somersaults to conjure the crowd. I loved doing crazy diving.’

To discover more about the inventor, former swimmer, stunt diver and swimming pool salesman click here to buy a copy of the May 2015 issue. 


The old man and the sea

Tony Pearce pays tribute to his old friend Dave Mace while Spencer Swim Team founder John Gordon recalls highlights from the club’s distinguished history

I wanted to comment on Dave Mace, who died late last year. I knew him for well over 55 years, having first met him when I was 13. It was the summer of 1958. Dave, a renowned open water swimmer at the time, used to train at Wimbledon Baths. I would sometimes join in with his training group and swim length
after length.

I have many fond memories of our friendship through swimming. I remember meeting Dave at Tooting Bec Lido one sunny Saturday afternoon. He had successfully swum the Channel in one of the fastest times ever recorded.

As one of the founder members of the Spencer Swim Team a few years earlier, I got Dave to join the club. He then teamed up with my great friend and coach at Spencer, John Gordon.
In my opinion, both men pioneered masters swimming in
this country.

To read more from Tony and John click here to click here to purchase the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

The Swim Doctor 

TV’s Dr Hilary Jones tells Swimming Times about his love of swimming and other exercise and how they have a vital role to play in improving the nation’s health

Is it true that you once took part in the Great North Swim?

I did it a few years ago. Andy Burnham [shadow health secretary and the Labour minister who introduced free swimming for the over 60s and under 16s] was in the same group that I went off with.

I was wearing a wetsuit and had been invited to acclimatise to the temperature before the start of the race, which I did, but I didn’t put my head under the water. That was a mistake. You get this reflex to inhale and it’s very difficult to breathe. It took me about 400 yards to really get into the rhythm of it. I was told afterwards that it can take six or seven swims to get used to that.

As I came out of the water, with Mark Foster waiting to interview me, I was staggering. I was really quite disorientated. I looked a bit drunk as I got out. But at least I beat Andy Burnham by 10 minutes!

To read more from Dr Hilary click here to purchase the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Swum to a Tee 

Bethany Firth marked her switch from Ireland to GBR with three S14 world records at the British Para-Swimming International. 

The British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow proved to be a thrilling curtain-raiser to the IPC World Championships, which will be held at the Tollcross International pool in July.

Doubling as the trials for the British team, the meet attracted the stars of GB para-swimming – 14 of whom made world qualification times – as well as a strong international field.

There was one standout performance, though, from Newcastle’s Bethany Firth, who set three S14 world records in her three events.

Firth, who will be making her debut as a GB swimmer at the worlds having switched from representing Ireland last year, broke world records in the 100m breaststroke, 200m IM and 100m backstroke. She took gold in the first two events and silver in the third, and marked herself out as one to watch with three storming swims.

 To read more from the British Para International Meet click here to purchase a copy of the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Born in a Barn 

When the Great Storm of 1987 blew down a barn in Sussex, no- one could have dreamt that this night of destruction would lead to the creation of the award-winning Helen’s Swimming School.

In 1987, a barn was blown down in Ticehurst, East Sussex, by the Great Storm. Rather than destruction, however, it proved to offer a new start to Helen Blake and was one of the first steps in an ongoing journey that took in the Swimtastic gold award in 2014.

Owner Richard Brown decided to construct a pool and rebuild the barn over it but he needed someone to teach him how to swim – and that is where Helen came in.

She explains: ‘I taught him to swim and I said to him one day: “You could do so much with this – you could actually run a business from here”. He came back about six weeks later and said: “I don’t want to but you can”.’

 To read more Helen’s Swimming School click here to purchase a copy of the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Quick Interview... Matt Ingram 

Matt Ingram had to choose between swimming and football as a youngster – and the Wycombe Wanderers goalkeeper is in no doubt he made the right decision.

When I got to the age of 12, it was literally the decision of football or swimming because at one stage I was swimming at 6 o’ clock in the morning, going to school and then having football training afterwards.

It was just knackering me out so I had to decide between the two and my love was more for football than it was for swimming at the time so that is why I am a footballer now.

In the off-season, when I’m getting ready for the season, I will swim rather than go running. I much prefer to go in the pool and do an hour of lengths rather than running, which is what the other lads do.

To read the full interview click here to purchase a copy of the May 2015 issue of Swimming Times

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