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Why Simon is a fan of Transplant Games

Simon Randerson is no stranger to the British Transplant Games.

Having undergone a liver transplant in January 2002, Simon was determined to get back into sport – and the British Transplant Games proved to be the perfect route.

Now, ahead of this year’s Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Birmingham in August, Simon has told how the competition ultimately helped him achieve success on the international stage.

Simon is one of the founder members of Positive Strokes – believed to be the first openly HIV positive swimming group in the world – and said: “I swam at school because teachers told me to. I enjoyed it and I guess I was good but I was nothing special.

“In 1998, I and a friend did a triathlon at the Gay Games in Amsterdam, which was an amazing event. I’m not a runner and I certainly can’t run now. But we got finishers’ medals and that was great.

“At the end of 2001, I needed a liver transplant and the doctors kept using the fact that I had done this triathlon to show how fit I had been before becoming ill.

“You go through a big process to be put on the list for a liver transplant and it was touch and go if I would be put on the list.

“I got on the list in December 2001 and was transplanted in January 2002. I’d heard about transplant sport and thought that if I ever did get my transplant, I would compete.

British Transplant Games success

“The British Transplant Games are a multi-sport event and all the hospitals that do transplants compete against each other. Swimming is quite a big event within that.

“My first Transplant Games were at Norwich in 2004. I just entered for the fun of it. I trained a bit but not particularly hard but I got a gold in the backstroke and was invited to go to the World Transplant Games in London, Ontario, in 2005.

“I trained very hard and that’s when I came to the Positive Health swimming scheme. I trained with them all through that year and in my very last race in Canada I won a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke.

“I was very pleased. I would have ben devastated to leave without a medal. Up to that point, I had never realised I was such a competitive person. I have been swimming ever since.”

This article first appeared in the March-April edition of Swimming Times. View the Swimming Times page to purchase a copy of the magazine or subscribe.