A Swim and Chat with Andrea Whitcombe

Last week I sat down with Andrea Whitcombe, Silver Medallist at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and our very own Triathlon Coach. She gave us an insight into her competitive training past and some helpful advice to any competitive and beginner triathletes out there. With a long history of representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB  at the World Triathlon Championships, she is eager to help other triathletes hit their goals and achieve their dreams.

When she is not training herself, you can find her coaching our Swim4Tri classes on Mondays 18:30-20:00, Wednesdays 20:00-21:00 and Thursdays 13:00-13:45. If you are looking for advice on your next race, the best power foods to add to your diet or just some help on your swimming technique then try out a class this week.

N: How did you get into sport and triathlon in particular? 

A: I’ve always been very keen on sport since school. Any sport. I swam, ran, played netball, tried a bit of badminton, I was a very competitive child. I realised at school that I was a decent runner so I joined a club and started to train and race regularly. In 1998 I won silver in the 5000m Commonwealth Games and then competed in the Sydney Olympic Games 2000. After the Olympics I decided to quit my job and go to Australia to train for triathlon as I had been a county swimmer as a teenager. A year later I represented Great Britain in the World Triathlon Championships.

N: Who was your biggest inspiration or idol when training for triathlon?

A: It all happened so quickly really that I can’t say that I really had an idol. Of course I admired some athletes that I was competing against but I had to believe that they were beatable. The Australians at the time were a strong force and all pretty impressive. I only took up triathlon when I was 30 so perhaps I was too old for idols?! My running idol was Michael Johnson.

“However if I had a group to swim with as fun as my Swim4Tri group I would swim much more regularly!”


N: What was your typical session when training for the commonwealth games?

A: I was lucky to have a great coach Bob Parker and training partners to help pace me for sessions. A typical track session would be 12-15 x 400m with 100m jog recovery at faster than 5k pace.

N: Can you remember the toughest training session you did?

A: The toughest mentally for triathlon was always a long bike ride, as I can’t say I was fond of spending hours on the bike. Once on a GB training camp in Spain just before Christmas I had to ride for over 5 hours and it wasn’t pleasant!

N: What kept you going through the most grueling training sessions? And what was your motivation?

A: I knew that I had to do some sessions that I didn’t like in order to improve. It was my job and as with any job there are days when you don’t want to do something but you can’t just stop and go home.

N: What would you say was your biggest sporting achievement? 

A: When I was an athlete and went to the Commonwealths and Olympics, I had a full time job of which I had to take unpaid unpaid leave for the Olympics.  It was a great achievement to train twice a day around a job and run at such a level.  Another achievement i’m proud of is switching sport at 30 years old and making the World Championships in Triathlon within less than a year. I had only swam a little since I was 16, so it proves that technique is crucial as you never lose it!

N: What was your favourite discipline out of running, swimming and cycling?

A: Running for definite as it was my strongest discipline. I still try to run every day now and it’s the easiest to fit in around a young family. However if I had a group to swim with as fun as my Swim4Tri group I would swim much more regularly!

N: Why do you think people should get involved in swimming and group exercise classes like Swim4Tri? 

A: Swimming is great for all round body fitness. It is non weight bearing so there’s less chance of getting injured. We are so lucky in Swansea to have the Wales National Pool with superb facilities, both a 25m and a 50m pool is a real luxury. Training in a 50m pool is superb for triathletes and swimmers looking to improve their endurance. Group classes such as Swim4Tri are great for meeting new friends, having training partners, getting expert coaching advice and having fun. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can do when training in a group.

N: Finally, what does sport and fitness mean to you? 

A: I love sport and fitness. It is so important to stay fit and healthy. I have had children quite late in life so I really appreciate that I need to stay fit to keep up with them. I love coaching my Swim4Tri group. Seeing them improve and enjoying the sport keeps me happy.

Thinking about trying out Swim4Tri? 
Check out our Swim4Tri page with all the information on the different sessions we offer and what’s included here – https://www.walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk/aqua-school/fitness-classes/swim-4-tri/

Don’t Forget!
You can pre-book Andrea’s Swim4Tri class at the main reception desk or by calling 01792 513513.



Winter Water Safety

Did you know that during the winter season more people who walk or run alongside water fall in and in some cases drown? Slippery paths, darkness and ice on the ground can make walking by the water more dangerous than any other month of the year. 

What Happens When you Fall in?

The cold temperature of the water makes it difficult for you to catch your breath or use your hands to swim and climb out. Sometimes, it can even cause your to have a heart attack.

How to Stay Safe?

The RLSS’s Winter Water Safety campaign recommends 5 key things to make sure you stay safe this winter.

1) Keep back from the edge – When walking alongside water keep back from the edge
2) Only use well lit areas – Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route away from water.
3) Keep dogs on their leads – Keep dogs on their leads when near ice and don’t throw sticks or toys onto ice.
4) Teach children not to go on to the ice – Teach children not to go onto the ice under any circumstances.
5) Don’t go on the ice to rescue a dog – Don’t go onto ice or into to water to rescue a dog, move to somewhere that the dog will be able to climb out and call them towards you.

For more helpful tips and advice on a variety of different situations, take a look at their website – https://rlss.org.uk/winter-water-safety 

We want all our customers and members to stay safe around water this winter. If you can plan your route away from the water then do but if you can’t, please stay safe and remember some of the advice above.

Swim Safe, Swim Indoors.

Don’t forget! It’s not too late to pick up your 2 weeks swimming membership for just £12. Speak to a member of our team today through social media, our website or by calling us on 01792 51313.

Christmas Membership Offer

Give the Gift of Swimming this Christmas with our incredible membership offer!


Why Swim?

According to new research by Swim England, Swimming has significantly reduced the symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4 million adults in Britain. Swimming is a low impact exercise that increases flexibility and provides a full body workout. That is why this no contract membership offer will be great for you!

The Membership

This great deal gives you two weeks of swimming for just £12. This offer is ideal for anyone wanting to get into swimming, get back into swimming, or looking for that perfect gift for a loved one. This membership comes with NO contract or commitment period and full member access!  You’ll get access to our:
– Members only swim times 
– 10% off the swim shop 
– 10% off fitness classes
– The only Olympic sized pool in Swansea

Let’s break it down

So at only £4.75 a swim, if you swim twice a week then you are already making a huge saving. So commit to swimming and burn some extra calories before indulging in all the Christmas and New Year treats.

How to sign up?

All you need to do is pop into the pool with £12 in hand, fill out our quick application form and then our super reception team will set you all up with card and a timetable and you are good to go for the next 2 weeks. Remember to check out our timetable for the latest swim times – https://www.walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk/public-swimming/timetable/ 

Give us a call on 01792 513513 for more information.


Don’t forget we are also on social media! Follow us for the latest updates, offers, motivation, fitness advice and customer support.

Swimathon 2019 Entries Now Open

We are proud to announce that we will be once again hosting Swimathon at the Wales National Pool Swansea in 2019.

Swimathon is the World’s largest (annual) fundraising swim where thousands of people up and down the country take part and raise money for two charities close to nations heart, Marie Curies and Cancer Research UK.

We will be hosting the Swimathon 2019 on:

  Saturday 23rd March 2019 
1)  13:00 – 16:30
   Sunday 24th March 2019
1)  09:00 – 12:30
2)  13:00 – 17:00
    Friday 29th March 2019 
1)   08:00 – 11:30
2)  11:30 – 14:30

Swimathon 2019 will be offering distances from 400m to 5k, so there is a  definitely Swimathon challenge for you. If you are feeling really brave you can also try out the new Triple 5K challenge too!

Swimathon is an enjoyable experience whether you participate solo or in a group but most importantly you’ll be helping and supporting two incredibly important charities.

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness, offering expert care, guidance and support to help people living with a terminal illness and their families get the most from the time they have left.
Cancer Research UK are aiming to bring forward the day that all cancers are cured. They are dedicated to beating cancer through research and are fighting over 200 different types of cancer.

Check out our pool timetable and start your training today – https://www.walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk/public-swimming/timetable/ 


When you come for a swim – why not use a refillable (not glass) bottle and if you do use a one use plastic bottle why not recycle it in our designated bins!

Thank you,

The Reception Team!

Corporate Memberships

Corporate Memberships

We have a number of companies and organisations already signed up to our corporate membership schemes, including:-

• Natural Resources Wales
• Civil Service
• Mid and West Wale Fire and Rescue Service
• South Wales Police
• Natural Resources Wales
If you work for one of these organisations then please speak to reception and they will sign you up to the appropriate scheme.

If your organisation isn’t listed then don’t worry – as long as there is a minimum of three people who would like to join the scheme then just contact reception and we can pass on your details to the admin team
*Proof of employment status (e.g. staff ID card) is required in order for us to sign you up to a corporate membership scheme.

Existing Members Referral Offer!!!

Current members, we still have our referral offer on. If a friend joins the pool for 6 months you will receive a month free on your membership! Information can be found at reception!!!