Bronze triumph for swimmer, 67
Sandy’s success in his competitive debut
Swimmer Sandy Mavor proved age is no barrier as he claimed a bronze medal on his competitive debut at the Scottish National Masters 1500m Championships.
The 67- year- old finished the ‘ swimming marathon’ at Tollcross in Glasgow in a very impressive 27.58: 90.
Sandy trains with the Masters squad at North Ayrshire Swimming at the Portal in Irvine after taking up the sport again when he retired seven years ago.
“I swam at school a long time ago,” he explained. “I did the Loch Lomond 2 mile swim, and the Cumbrae to Largs in August, so I thought I’d try a pool swim.
“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 eight 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 shows that swimming is a sport for all ages, with the benefits increasing as we get older as an ideal form of resistance training which is also kind to the joints.
“It’s never too late,” said Sandy from Dundonald. “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.”
Masters swimming is increasing in popularity, according to North Ayrshire’s head coach, Jess Wilkie.
“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 is 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.”
Sandy Mavor The 67- year- old scoops bronze at his first attempt at the ‘ swimming marathon’