The Masters Hub continues to look deeper into the lives and personalities at the heart of the UK Masters community through our ‘Beneath The Surface’ feature.
Look out for video interviews as well as some fantastic underwater photos courtesy of GB Swimstars.
Our eighth feature is with 24-year old teaching assistant Lewis King. He went from being a regular age group swimmer to joining Putteridge Masters Swimming Club and has gone from strength to strength since, winning medals at his first long and short course Masters nationals in 2013.
How long have you been involved in swimming?
I started swimming lessons when I was about five. I started swimming for a club when I was about eight and have just carried on since then. I started swimming Masters in 2013 and I’ve really enjoyed it.
What are the differences between age group swimming and Masters swimming?
I think there’s a big difference in terms of flexibility of training. As a Masters swimmer, you just don’t have to train as much and commit as much time! Personally, I feel that when you’re at a Masters competition, it’s a more relaxing atmosphere and you meet a wider range of abilities and age groups.
How do you fit your Masters swimming around work?
I train four times a week if I can and those sessions range between an hour and one and a half hours. I do two mornings a week before work, one evening after work and usually one afternoon during the weekend.
What is it like getting up to train before work?
Ha, well I’m used to it because I used to get up really early for morning training before going to school at sixth form and university. And it’s slightly later than that now anyway!
What do you do when you aren’t in the pool?
I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school, supporting a child with special educational needs, and as a part time swimming teacher, teaching a wide range of ages and abilities. I also enjoy playing and watching tennis, running, going to the cinema and out for meals, eating anything and everything, travelling, music and reading sports autobiographies!
What are your favourite events to compete?
200m and 400m Freestyle, 200m and 400m Individual Medley. I can’t sprint to save my life!
What’s your favourite memory from Masters swimming?
I’d say the first time I did short course nationals which was October 2013. I had no expectations because I’d been out of mainstream swimming for a while but I managed to come out with a silver medal so I was really pleased with that.
What do you love about swimming?
Loads of things! The sense of camaraderie with my coach and teammates, meeting new people and making new friends, travelling to new places, the sense of achievement when you accomplish your goals, the competitiveness and the fact it keeps you fit and healthy, and the fact that it’s a good form of exercise and an excellent stress reliever.
What do you hate about swimming?
Waking up early for training, smelling of chlorine, jumping into freezing cold swimming pools and sweating buckets on a hot poolside during competitions!
What are your most proud of out of the water?
I volunteer in fundraising and administration for Keech Hospice Care (a Luton based hospice which looks after individuals who are terminally ill or have life limiting illnesses). I find the volunteering extremely rewarding and humbling. It puts my life into perspective and makes me appreciative and grateful of how fortunate I am.