In my youth, I swam competitively for Romford Town through to my mid-teens. I still drop into the Master’s sessions every now and then when I get a few days back home. Over the last decade I’ve travelled much whilst working along the way. Many brief jobs eventually lead to swim guiding. Beach Lifeguarding, Divemaster, Deckhand, Barman, Activities Manager / Assistant Manager of a Hotel, Ski Host. In 2015 I was part of the first group of swimmers to cross between Corfu and Mainland Greece in the Ionian Sea 10.5km for Sail4cancer.
Greece Cyclades, Greece Activity Week Sivota , Turkey, Sicily, Sardinia, Thames, British Virgin Islands, Oman, Tenerife. This season will include Croatia and the Tremiti Islands
The Greek Island of Kastellorizo. Or the Island of Meis to the Turkish. From Kas, on the Turkey trip you can get a small ferry journey across. Local boat pilots take trips to a cave on the south side of the island. On a calm day the pilots will bring the boats inside, with all guests lying down to squeeze underneath the rocks at the entrance. They often allow you a quick dip. The Blue Grotto is a cavern illuminated by the reflection of sunlight from outside which leaves a bizarre blue glow, the awe has to be experienced from the water. Swimming back to the port from the Blue Grotto in Meis has definitely been a highlight of the last 4 years with SwimTrek. On the way we’ve spotted turtles, underwater cliffs and all the while you can see Turkey or Asia across the way. I’ve swum this a few times with a few SwimTrek guides which made it all the better.
Just a heads up on sighting and preparation… grab some good quality goggles and look after them. Your comfort in the water is essential because you may well be in the water for some time. To save fidgeting, get a pair that you have tried and trust, plus have a spare set ready to go. When it comes to using them in the sea there will be no excuses. Give them a rinse with fresh water after every swim and defog when necessary. There are many types available now but preferably try something with a wide range of vision. You’ll see more in and out of the water which will be beneficial for speed and enjoyment.
I was pretty handy at making a Pizza when I was younger- I remember 19 seconds being my record for a Margherita!
Rarely a day goes by when I don't get in the water. I love the buzz of open water swim races and the adventure of exploring the world from the water. I compete in the sport of lifesaving and love taking part in all water sports activities. I coach competitive youth swimmers, masters, open water swimmers and lifesaving groups. I also hosts video analysis swim sessions and am an experienced pool and beach lifeguard.
Greece, Turkey, Sardinia, Mexico, Croatia, Finland (& Turkey and Croatia Short Swims)
Wategos to Main Beach, Byron Bay, Australia This is a favourite swim I’ve done hundreds of times but in March 2013 after 3 days of travelling from Ireland to Australia I had my most memorable swim here. On arrival I cycled straight to the beach. I walked in the sun to Wategos and had the loveliest swim with friends and a turtle back to Main Beach. Having braved the chilly Irish waters with wetsuit and hood while surfing all winter the balmy waters were bliss.
Tempo trainer A tempo trainer is a fantastic little machine for pool swimming. It is like a watch face that slips under your swim cap. You can set it to beat at different intervals. I try to be at the far end of the pool each time it beeps. It is very simple but the immediate feedback on your pace is a great motivation to try hard, particularly when training alone. I set the beeps 0.04 seconds faster each week which is barely noticeable but by the end of the year it should mean an 8 second improvement per 100 metres.
If I were a book she would be an atlas. I love maps and travelling.
I've spent 20+ years as a competitive pool swimmer in California reaching as far as the junior national level. As I transitioned into university, I switched to playing water polo and competing in Masters open water competitions, as pool swimming had lost the allure for a short while. I also have been a coach for 13 years, first focusing on teaching kids, but for the past 8 years have found that coaching adults in the Masters world has been even more rewarding. I also have a history as a water polo coach at the university level and spent my summers as a pool lifeguard for 10+ years.
I have guided in the following locations: Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Mallorca Luxury Escapes, Mallorca Coaching, Brighton Swim Days. And no, I can't tell you which is my favorite because they really are all so different :)
I was on a 26-mile relay across Monterey Bay, California where we began at dawn when it was still dark, swam alongside sea lions, watched the sunrise, endured really rough seas, and within a mile of the finish encountered a great white shark and hundreds of jellyfish. We weren't able to finish the swim that day, which was disappointing, but we also witnessed the beauty of Mother Nature and learned that some swims don't always go your way, but there's always something you can take away from it.
(As a SwimTrek guide): Watching a former professional football player (who believed he could never compete again in a sport due to a severely damaged knee) show up on a Croatia Short Swims trip thinking he would try out this "swim" thing. He left with the biggest smile on his face and a new love for open water swimming with goals to enter into some short races back home.
Even as lifelong swimmers, we all have our days where we aren't having fun on a swim. It's okay to feel that way! If you do get in a slump, try to pick one thing to focus on rather than thinking, "I hate this. I'm cold., etc" Focus on your head position, count how many starfish you can see on the bottom, practice breathing on the opposite side, or get on the boat/beach and tell yourself "I'll try again tomorrow." If you're having an off day, try to make the best of it and always have fun and know when to stop yourself if you feel the need to.
A non-aquatic related activity, but I can say I've ventured into horseback riding, cooking, and sewing.
From an early age, I have spent my summers living on the beach, and that’s where I learnt to swim. I started swimming competitively in the pool at the age of 7. I began surf lifesaving when I was 14 and was particularly interested in the surf swim. After spending one summer swimming alongside a channel swimmer I decided to begin long distance open water events. I started swim teaching in 2008 and beach lifeguarding from 2010. I train as an IRB driver (power boat rescue in surf) during the summer and volunteer at lifesaving events. I have recently graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc in Health and Performance Science which involves a variety of coaching modules in strength and conditioning and ties in aspects of sports psychology, nutrition and physiology.
Turkish Lycian Way, Greek Sporades.
The last 2k of my first 10k race last September.
Always work with the conditions you’re swimming in - “go with the flow”. Work with the rhythm of the waves to keep the continuity in your stroke. In choppy seas, I’ve always found it easier to breathe at the peak of a wave as the water’s pushing you upwards. Use waves behind you to gain every bit of momentum you can.
I’ve played the drums since I was 10 years old.
I have always enjoyed swimming as an adult but never competitively. After going on my first SwimTrek holiday in 2009, I got hooked on the open water and following laser eye surgery swam Lake Zurich solo 2010. After this I became a guide, but I make sure I still go away as a punter at least once a year as well!
Turkey, Sardinia & Montenegro. I've also been a guest in Egypt, Malta and Croatia.
Getting OUT of lake Zurich at the end of my swim!
Swim when you least feel like it - you will ALWAYS feel better afterwards.
My birthday is exactly ten weeks to the day before Christmas.
When I was 9 years old I was fortunate enough to move to Cornwall with my family and so began the start of a long relationship with the sea. Surfing was my main interest as a teenager and it lead me into surf lifesaving and working on the beach as a Lifeguard for several seasons. Open water swimming is among the skill set I developed as a Lifeguard and on quiet days on the beach it was part of our training routine. I have also always enjoyed pool swimming as a way of staying fit in winter and I recently started playing underwater hockey, Octopush, which I would highly recommend. Swimming is at the core of and gives me the confidence to enjoy many of the other water based activities that I take part in such as scuba diving, surfing, coasteering, kayaking, sailing and snorkelling. I also work as Event Water Safety at some of the UK's largest participation swims such as The Dart 10k, Bournemouth Pier to pier and Around St Michael's Mount swims.
A few years ago I entered the Falmouth Castle to Castle swim, it was my first open water swim 'race'. It's a mile or so long swim across the mouth of the Fal estuary between Pendennis and St Mawes Castles. I had been training quite a bit with lots of sea swims and was feeing fairly fit but really had no clue about where my position would be during the swim. My memorable moment was the feeling of euphoria upon reaching the far shore and crossing the line, and about being really chuffed to later learn that I had completed the swim in 27:12. Whilst some take the swim more seriously than others (it being more about participation then results) I had come in at 12th male and 14th overall out of field of about 300 and was really pleased.
Look up! Find a way of incorporating regular effective sighting into your stoke. This will need to be adaptable in open water to allow for wind and waves but a slower swimmer that goes in a straight line may reach their goal sooner than a faster swimmer that snakes through the water to get there.
In the summer holidays I run a Coasteering business in Cornwall. Coasteering is everything you always wanted to do at the seaside when you were a kid but were not allowed! We swim, climb and jump our way along the cliffs, play in the waves and explore sea caves.
A solo English Channel Swimmer and swim coach, he still guides on some of the tours himself. Continuing his swimming adventures around the world, in 2009 Simon swam across the River Volta in Ghana and broke the Australian record for swimming across the Gibraltar Straits; in 2010 he swam to the Isle of Wight. He spends a lot of his time now scouting for new SwimTrek locations.
Simon founded SwimTrek, after spending many years organising open water swimming trips for himself and others. Originally from Australia, Simon lives in the UK and prior to SwimTrek, was working overseas in the mining industry.
He was introduced to open water early by both his mother and father. His most memorable open water swim was the Hellespont in Turkey, which he first completed in 2000.
I have worked at various locations as a diver/superintendent, including the Middle and Far East and took any opportunity to swim in these places, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia. I qualified as an ASA Level 2 coach in 2000 and coached my local swimming club, also giving one to one lessons to adults in open water. I have competed in masters swimming competitions at local, UK and European level. With the growing popularity I qualified as a Level 2 triathlon coach and co founded our local triathlon club, coaching the swimmers in both pool and open water swimming.
Swimming with the seals around the Farne Islands in Northumberland. Crossing the Firth of Forth as part of a Triathlon and winning 4 gold medals in Alicante at the Spanish Open Masters competition.
Practice bilateral breathing, it will pay big dividends in both stroke symmetry and the ability to change your rhythm to suit the sea conditions.
I’ve spent every summer living on a beach and exploring all watersports from this vantage. I began swimming competitively at the age of eight and swam throughout University as well. As we had no official swimming team, I played waterpolo with University and kept up my training by dropping into sessions in my swimming club at home and with the local triathlon club. I began surf lifesaving a little later than my peers at 17 and loved it, especially the combination of so many facets such as swimming, running, international ski, paddleboarding and so on. I was already a beach lifeguard at this stage but surf lifesaving saw me beach lifeguard for five years and kept me highly motivated throughout. I train as an IRB driver (power boat rescue in surf) during the summer and volunteer at lifesaving and open water swimming events. I am a qualified Irish and Physical Education teacher and have spent the last two years working in Dubai as a PE and swimming teacher.
I’ll never forget my first competitive open water swim, my aunt running along the rocks cheering me on in Irish like a mad woman, trying not to laugh as I crossed the finish line in first place of the women.
Keep reaching until you find your perfect grip in the water.
I love travelling (I’ve seen twelve countries in the last two years) and hope to do my first snow season next winter. I love to take photos of my travels!
I started swimming at my local club at the age of 8, progressing through the squads and achieved over all county/regional age group champion at the age of 14 and became a national open qualifier by 15. I left my club at the age of 17 due to the pressures of college and working life and didn't return to the pool until I'd finished college and settled into a full time job, at this stage I was swimming for pleasure alongside running and rock-climbing. The years rolled on till at 32 I started longing for some direction to training and started looking at open water swimming. I decided to enter the Epic 1 mile swim in Ullswater and managed a respectable 10th in the Male open category, this good result spurred me on and I entered several events over the following years. As some of the events required SASA membership I joined a local club and found myself back in the pool and entering Masters swimming events.
I started coaching swimming in 2013 and now spend a lot of time coaching a local club and progressing my qualifications. I also enjoy sailing with my local yacht club and provide safety boat cover for the Dinghy races with boson responsibilities for the safety RIB.
Winning a bet with my swimming coach (he said I could never make the qualifying time) and competing in the Scottish Open Swimming championships in 2012.
Technique is key when swimming and even more so when training for distance swims. When you start out try to not be so concerned with pushing out the laps and spend some quality time working on your stroke technique. The biggest improvement I see that people can make is getting the catch position just right, your fingers should be the lowest point of your arm followed by your wrist, elbow then shoulder. Aim for this at the start of the catch and keep your elbow high throughout the whole stroke.
I have a brewery in my garage and grow my own hops.