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Swimming with the kids

Masters Blogs

Helen Gorman (World Masters Champion, European and British record holder many times over) reflects on her experiences training at her new non-Masters City of Cardiff swimming club.

Being the eldest of the group

I refuse to say I’m old (yet), but having joined a new swimming club, here are some of the observed perils of being the oldest person in the club by twenty years…

  • Regularly being stopped at the entrance barrier gate by the receptionist, who doesn’t believe I’m going to train with the club.
  • I’m old enough to be my coach’s mother, and could feasibly be the grandmother of some of the others in my squad.
  • My personal best times are older than anyone I train with.
  • The warm-ups and the drill sets are the hardest parts of the sessions as kids do everything at 100mph.
  • Not understanding any of the frequently quoted cinema references or why Stormzy is cool.
  • Asking one of the teens whether he needed a bucket when he said he was sick at Saturday morning’s session. What he actually meant was that he was ‘sic’ (very good) at the synchro drill that we all did.
  • The volunteers on the club kit desk tried to sell me an age 7-8 t-shirt to fit my non-existent child when what I actually wanted was a size small t-shirt for myself. The wet hair and red face didn’t convince them that I was indeed, actually a swimmer.
  • Discovering that my fins are ‘old school’, but being able to get an upgrade via a hand-me-down from a 13-year old who has already grown of of hers (result!)
  • Being the only person in the club that doesn’t own a snorkel and being convinced that using it might lead to an untimely death through lack of oxygen (especially given the need to do drills at 100mph).
  • Being the person that constantly says ‘so, what are we doing?’ because I can’t see the white board, or hear the coach explaining the set.
  • Often informing my lane mates that we are ‘going on the bottom’, when the pace clock is digital and has no top or bottom.
  • But, there’s less confusion than at my previous club, as I’m the only swimmer called Helen. Apparently the name has become old fashioned…
  • There are a couple more upsides… Missing a PB is never cause for distress, they were all too long ago to care now; and the kids think that being a masters world champion is REALLY cool!

How many Masters out there train with ‘the kids’ and can add to Helen’s list?