Swim England

A nation swimming

How boat drama led Hall of Fame inductee Steve Parry on path to Olympic success

Steve Parry has revealed how falling off a barge as a youngster was the catalyst that ultimately led him on the path to an Olympic medal.

Parry was named as one of the first inductees into the Swim England Hall of Fame for his achievements in the pool but also his work as a tireless campaigner to improve learn to swim provision.

He was eight-years-old when tragedy almost struck while on a boating holiday after he fell into the River Thames – and his parents enrolled him into swimming lessons soon after.

“I was messing around with my brother and fell in the river,” he said. “I could not swim and my parents got me straight into a swimming club after that.

“Nineteen years on and I won an Olympic medal and that was definitely the catalyst.

“That’s why I care so much about being able to swim. It’s one of the most important life skills that our children learn in schools.

“I keep banging the drum about it but we still have a lot of deaths due to drowning and it’s not something I will stop talking about.”

Parry, who won a bronze medal in the 200m Butterfly at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said it was fantastic to be among the first inductees of the Swim England Hall of Fame.

“I had no idea it existed. I thought it must have been something that’s been around for ages if they had got down to my name,” he joked.

“I feel really honoured to be inducted, especially in the first round. There are so many great people in the Swim England community so to be in the first induction is absolutely fantastic, especially with legends like Duncan Goodhew and Sharron Davies.

“They are people that inspired me when I first started to swim.”