A SWIM FOR ALL WITH SWIMATHON

SCORES of Swimathon enthusiasts are set to take the plunge at Wales National Pool Swansea this weekend as part of Britain’s biggest charity swimming fundraiser.

Last weekend was a huge success with loads of swimmers putting in an amazing effort and even more are preparing to take on the challenge this Friday 29th March as part of the Swimathon official weekend. It is not too late to join them and you can take on the challenge as an individual or as part of a team over a variety of distances so there will definitely be a swim for you.

Jeremy Cole, General Manager at the pool said: “We had a brilliant weekend, the pool was really busy and there’s more to come.

“It was particularly pleasing to see some of our beginners entering and it just goes to show that the Wales National Pool Swansea is a community pool, offering a great place for local people to get fit and socialise, as well as a facility enjoyed by elite swimmers.”

Pictured Michelle 5 (Jill Burgess, Win Davies, Amanda Lynch, Chris Jones and Ivan Cardona)

More than 120 people ranging in age from eight to 80 signed up for the charity challenge which took place on March 24 and 25 and has still sessions to go on Friday.

Entries were well up on last year for Swimathon – the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim.

They include people from all walks of life including primary school children, students, work colleagues and pensioners and they include people of all ages. The youngest 5K swimmer being only 9 years old and the oldest being over 70 years old. It goes to show that age is just a number.

The Wales National Pool Swansea off Sketty Lane is one of hundreds of venues taking part in Swimathon, a cause it has supported since 2005, helping raise tens of thousands of pounds in the process.

Team Captain Jill Burgess was part of Michelle 5 who decided to work together to complete the swim at the weekend showing everyone that anyone can take on the challenge and how big a support your friends can be.

She said: “We have been swimming together as a group for over six years at the Wales National Pool in Swansea and we have become good friends who have supported one another on our swimming journey.

“The Swimathon challenge has always been something we have wanted to do and being able to do it as a group has really helped us stay motivated and has given a huge boost of confidence with our swimming ability.”

If you want to take part in one of the special Swimathon sessions on March 29, contact the Wales National Pool or go Swimathon.org/participants/register

To out more about the Wales National Pool go to www.walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/WalesNationalPoolSwansea/
https://twitter.com/WalesNatPool?lang=en-gb

Rookies Week 2019: A Swim & Chat with Alan

This week is #BeARookieLifeguardWeek and we are helping the RLSS share how important it is for young people to learn lifesaving and join the Rookies lifeguarding programme.

We run the largest selection of lifesaving courses for young people in Swansea. We are proud to be able to provide all four stages of the Rookies Lifeguarding programme and the RLSS Survive & Save programme. These are run at a variety of times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can book on by calling one of our helpful reception team on 01792 513513 or for more information, check out our Rookies Lifeguarding page.

We could list the reasons why Rookies is so great and why we think you should do it but we thought you’d prefer to read what our Rookies Instructor, Alan, has to say instead. I sat down with Alan before he was about to head onto poolside to teach the next generation of lifesavers and asked him a couple of questions.

N: When did you start getting involved in lifesaving?
A: I started lifeguarding when I was 16 at my local beach. I was part of my local swim club where we did all water disciplines like swimming, waterpolo and lifesaving. Then, when I was 20 years old I decided to start instructing because I love lifesaving and water activities so I wanted to continue by helping the next generation of lifesavers.

N: Why do you think lifesaving is such an important skill for children to learn and/or develop?
A: Developing their skills as lifesavers will help them in many aspects of their life like their education and in a possible future career and will keep them safe when playing or walking next to water, especially when living in a city so close to the sea. In addition, the skills that you learn on a lifesaving course, such as team work and problem solving, will help you in your education and any future career.

N: What sort of activities do you do in a typical Rookies session?
A: We tend to do a variety of activities in Rookies as there are many different things that make a good lifesaver. I will include some swimming in there because they will need some swim fitness when it comes to towing. We will also go over how to offer assistance safely to anyone who may be in trouble in the water and eventually we will cover some basic CPR. They are learning something very important but everyone has fun and they work together well as a group.

N: Why should children take part in rookies/survive & survive awards?
A: Because it is fun, friendly and they will learn a whole host of skills that will stay with them long into adulthood. Rookies Lifesaving is for everyone, it is the first taste of lifesaving for young people, but it is introduced in a fun and welcoming manner rather than being something too intense like the RLSS Pool Lifeguarding Qualification that they can do when they are older. They learn skills like team work and good communication and they learn about commitment and empathy. They build long lasting friendships and develop an active and healthy lifestyle. This is all on top of learning how to be a competent lifesaver so it really is a great course for everyone.

If you are interested in getting your children involved and want to know more then head over to our Rookies page or give us a call on 01792 513513.

Embankment Stabilisation work 25th February – 5th April

Please note that we are undertaking work to stabilise the embankment at the front of the pool/ Work will commence on Monday 25th February and is expected to last until 5th April. The work WILL NOT impact on Wales National Pool customers as the work is external. During this time, pedestrian access to the track will be diverted via the Pavilion. Please see the attached map for details of pedestrian routes.

Swimathon 2019: Ray’s Story

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 nation’s heart, Marie Curies and Cancer Research UK.

This challenge is taken on by anyone and everyone, by both regular and casual swimmers and people of all ages. With their new distances, the triple 5K and 400m we hope to see even more people take on the challenge. We will be hosting the Swimathon on Saturday 23rd March, Sunday 24th March and Friday 29th March with a variety of times available.

One team member in particular we hope to support in March is our Swimming Teacher, Ray Mellor. To Ray, age is not a number but a state of mind. He completed the full 5K last year and he hopes to take on the 2019 5K challenge too. I caught up with Ray, just before he was jumping in the water to start his training for this year’s Swimathon.

As a child Ray was not always a fish in the water. It was his children that got him into the world of swimming. He said, “Always having towels and bathing costumes on the radiator started for me following my children’s interest on joining the local swimming club. It also triggered my own addiction to chlorine. Like many parents I became involved with the club helping with the Admin and organising the Galas. Over a period of more than 2 years I completed the teacher/ coaching training which in the late 80s included three levels of accreditation together with the required number of hours on poolside teaching at each level.”

“In my experience the fruit of everything good in life begins with a challenge.”

He had completed his teacher training in a variety of swimming pools including the pool at St Athan’s RAF base. He shared one amusing anecdote with me about his time on the base:
“The pool at the Airforce training base was unique 100ft x 50ft and no shallow end. It was holiday time when we arrived at the practically deserted barracks most of the personnel were on leave. Somehow, we inadvertently circumnavigated the security check and found ourselves inside the perimeter fence driving down the Runway trying to work out which direction to get to the pool and classroom. Before we had time to find our way I saw the Military Police Land rover speeding up behind us in my rear-view mirror. They pulled up alongside us looking very threatening with their stern expressions, and after the customary checking of ID, patting down the four of us and after looking in my boot and under the car etc we were escorted to the Nissan Hut classroom. The next day we arrived at the barracks we were directed through the fully manned security gate house. They opened the boot held mirrors under the car and we were shown to our classroom, no more runway adventures.”

Through all the difficult training, Ray persevered and successfully became one of our top swimming instructors, implementing his energy and enthusiasm into his teaching to help our Adult swimmers improve their technique and confidence in the water. At this point, he was eager to get into the water so he left me with one final thought, “Swimming for fitness has been an enjoyable and important part of my life and continues to give me great pleasure and satisfaction getting in the pool most days for my daily fix of chlorine. Currently I am privileged to inspire adults also to take the plunge and learn to swim thereby experiencing the same reward I enjoy on a daily basis.” 

Why should you take part in Swimathon 2019?

By taking part in the Swimathon, you reap so many wonderful benefits. You not only get to support and help two worthwhile charities but swimming has been proven to improve your mental health. Swimming uses all major muscles groups making it the best form of exercise to tone up and lose weight. Swimathon is not just about fitness and raising money but it is also about having fun and just getting involved with everyone else. There is a great team atmosphere on the day and if all that hasn’t sold you then you get a shiny finisher’s medal at the end.

Distances include 400m, 1.5km, 2.5km and 5km (both 2.5km and 5km can be done as team) and with a  variety of helpful activities running in the National Pool, you will feel fully prepared to take on the Swimathon Challenge. If you want to train on your own then we have a variety of swim plans at reception or if you are motivated by others then you can try out our Adult Fitness and Swim4Tri sessions run throughout the week.

If you are interested in taking the plunge like Ray and want to join us in raising money for two fantastic charities then you can sign up here.

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.

 

 

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/ 

#PassOnPlastic

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:-

• ABMU
• Natural Resources Wales
• Civil Service
• DVLA
• 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!!!