Looking through paper work searching for adoption certificates for my children, I came across some old photos and neswspaper cuttings from my early swimming days when I swam for Barbados. My stroke was butterfly and I was good at marathon which was a mile and a half in the sea.
First boy and girl to finish the Marathon
still have a memory of being thrown in a pool by a swimming instructor and told to move my arms and legs to stay afloat. Then, when I felt confident in the water, I joined a swimming club – The Brighton Saddle boys, and trained with them when I was age 10 to 15. The great thing with the club was playing tabletennis in the evenings at the back of their house. Now we play at home and still love it.
First of the Blocks in Trinidad
My parents were really encouraging and tirelessly took me training before and after school. Even when we were on holiday in the UK, if there was a competition coming up , I had to train in Olympic size pools in England. Memories of matted hair, chlorine and red eyes, the smell of Optrex. I think I wasn’t all that competitive and realising I was mainly working this hard to please my parents, eventually other interests ( hanging out with boys ) took over and I stopped the competitive swimming.
Presented with a medal by my proud Dad
Living in West Cork, I love the quiet, pebbly beaches near home. I’m a fair weather swimmer, not brave enough or inclined to swim when it’s grey and windy. This summer has been amazing, so warm and close, so I am in the water a lot.
We go to Barbados as often as we can, and there, in the salty turquoise water I have found the pleasure of floating – it feels like a connection to all the oceans, the pulse of the tide, just cherished by the sun on my face and the coolth of the water.
Next life, I would like to be a surfer. Back in the day, when my boyfriends were all surfers, girls just didn’t surf. We waited on the beach for them to come in. Now, I put on too much weight and have silly knees that don’t work too well, so happy to simply swim… and float…