Bronze tri­umph for swim­mer, 67

Sandy’s suc­cess in his com­pet­i­tive de­but

Ayrshire Post - - Ayrshire People - Gary Fan­ning

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’

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