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Behind every picture, there's a story

If we’re honest, we didn’t give much thought to choosing a picture for our Review of the Swim England National Masters Championships 2017 article. It had the beautiful Swim England Masters branding in it… and that was about the only criteria.

But for a few people – including Aylesbury & District Masters swimmer Kate King, it was the image which caught their attention more than the article!

Aylesbury Masters swimmer Kate KingA quiet Saturday night

They say behind every picture there’s a story, well here’s mine.

It was a quiet Saturday night when my phone began to chime. Some of my eagle-eyed teammates had spotted something on the Swim England Masters homepage – me!

I had recently competed, for the first time, in the National Masters at Sheffield and there I was, pictured swimming fly, at the top of the event review.

What were the chances? Amazing!

After a little leg-pulling and hearty congratulations at training it was suggested I should try and get a copy. This made me really reflect on my journey to that point and how my life had changed.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, went through years of gruelling treatment and just continued to feel terrible for years afterwards.

The chance of staying in remission from breast cancer greatly improves if you can take regular vigorous exercise. But due to an old leg injury I found myself unable to run, cycle or row as I had done when I was younger.

It was while sitting watching my children’s happy faces enjoying their swimming lesson that I had an epiphany – could I learn to swim?

My husband’s gentle encouragement, and then not so gentle but appropriately applied size 12, convinced me to book some adult swimming lessons.

It was a terrifying but unbelievable turning point in my life. From being unable to get my head in the water I soon found I absolutely loved swimming. Every session helped me heal both mentally and physically.

One year later

After a year splashing up and down by myself I joined Aylesbury & District Swimmming Club in 2015.

After huge encouragement and patience from my lane-mates, including nearly being drowned by Di with a pair of tights (breaststroke kick torture), I eventually learned all the strokes and even started to compete.

This year I plucked up the courage to compete in both the Long Course and Short Course National Masters events.

Swimming has enriched my life in so many ways.

Despite some significant disabilities, I have been able to get super fit, meet a load of new and inspiring friends, compete, learn lots about myself and most importantly feel a little better every day.

Seeing that picture on the website really reminded me how far I have come and how fantastic this sport is!