Our Masters swimmers haven’t had much of the limelight when we’ve been bragging about all our medal successes this year – but that’s about to change!
We’re delighted to see Sandy Mavor bagging a bronze medal on his competitive debut at the Scottish National Masters 1500m Championships at Tollcross.
Competing as a 67 year old (in swimming years) Sandy finished in a very impressive 27.58:90.
He began training with our squad at the Portal on Thursday nights after taking up the sport again when he retired 7 years ago.
“I swam at school a long time ago,” he explains. “I did the Loch Lomond 2 mile swim, and the Cumbrae to Largs in August, so I thought I’d try a pool swim.
“My longest swim has been Loch Lubnaig which is 5 point 8 km and it was really great just swimming down this loch and you saw all this beautiful scenery around it was just a different experience, fantastic!”
“The coaches here were brilliant here when I arrived. They couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful - especially for refining my dive off the starter blocks!
“I think Masters is not quite so competitive so you can just go along and enjoy it. It’s good exercise and you get a good community and it keeps you fit and ticking over.”
His first pool race didn’t go entirely to plan, it seems.
“I got this racing ‘bullet cap’ and they told me to put another one underneath to stop it coming off, but it didn’t seem to work,” he laughs.
“I don’t know at what point I lost it but apparently I was in the lead for the first 8 laps so maybe that was when it happened? I managed to retrieve it from the bottom of the pool at the end of the race, though, and I was very proud to be wearing the North Ayrshire cap.”
Sandy’s success in Glasgow is a great reminder that our club is about more than the young wannabes – impressive as they are – it demonstrates that swimming is truly a sport for all, with the benefits increasing as we get older as a fantastic form of resistance training which is also kind on our joints.
“It’s never too late,” he agrees. “I speak to a lot of people who’ve never done crawl and they say ‘I could never do that’ but I’ve heard of beginners starting really quite late on in life. Initially they can’t swim one length but before they know it they’re swimming a mile. Once they’ve cracked the mental barrier they’re away.”
Attracting new swimmers like Sandy is what our Masters squad is all about, according to Head Coach, Jess Wilikie.
“It’s good for all ages to come down and meet new people and learn new skills, which you can’t beat,” she says.
“We like to keep it varied and try and do a bit of everything to suit everyone from distance swimmers to those who want to come in and do a bit of technique work.
“What we always say that there’s a lane for everyone – it doesn’t matter what speed you swim, you can still participate.
“I think the oldest swimmer we have is in her 80s and she’s still firing up and down the pool and matching younger guys.”
“There are plenty of sessions to choose from whether you’re a morning person or prefer to exercise in the evenings.”
Take a look at the timetables section on the website to find out how you can get involved.