I’m not very good at winning… I don’t actually mean that I don’t win things, because in the past I have won various competitions in different fields. I wrote a couple of days ago about swimming because that was my sport.

I used to train really hard, in the pool, at weightlifting and doing circuits (this was before there were gyms or weight rooms or leisure centres with all the facilities there are now) and I cycled everywhere and I played sport at school. I would swim miles and miles every week, maybe between 30-40 some weeks, so I wasn’t afraid of hard work, and I did work hard; no-one could fault me at training.

So I had fitness, stamina, strength… but I just didn’t have that extra something that made me a winner. I wanted to win, but maybe I didn’t want enough. I would race as hard as I could, but if I didn’t win I would congratulate whoever had beaten me, genuinely pleased that they had swum well… and even though I might have been annoyed that I hadn’t swum better it perhaps didn’t matter enough that I had been beaten. For me it truly was the enjoyment of taking part, and when I did win then that was a bonus… but it wasn’t the all. I was county and area champion which was great… but I never went further, never represented my country.

Training for sport is so different now, I wonder if I would have got further if I had the coaches young people have now… or whether I wouldn’t have enjoyed my sport and have lost interest or still not been quite good enough and been even more disappointed. I loved my swimming, loved being in the club and training for it and working hard at it… I don’t think I would have wished it any other way!



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