Monday, April 18, 2016

Beneath The Surface of Masters: Kevin Barrie (Haddington SC)

We are looking deeper into the lives and personalities at the heart of the Scottish Masters community through our ‘Beneath The Surface’ feature. 

Enjoy our next interview with Masters swimmer Kevin Barrie, a twenty six year old PE teacher who swims with Haddington Swimming Club. 

Tell us your swimming story?

My mum can’t swim and so was determined to get her kids into the pool.  I’m one of four kids and my dad took us to the pool when we were young and taught us the basics.  I was quite good at it and when I was eight years old I got a trial at Haddington Swimming Club.  That’s when I really started to get passionate about it and I progressed from novice squad to junior squad and on to club squad.  I was competing all around the country and it was all thanks to my mum pushing for us to develop a skill she never had, and my dad getting us into the pool and getting us confident in the water. When I was seventeen, the next step would have been to join the East Lothian swimming team, but I guess because by that time I wanted to be a PE teacher I was committed to learning a lot of different sports rather than commit to training every day in just one. 

How did you come to Masters?

I never really lost the passion for swimming and about a year ago I realised I missed being in the water, missed competing and missed the social aspect of it.  So I joined my local club and have been training for the last year and will enter my first competitions this year.  Swimming is a really good stress reliever and a great way to relax – I feel really good after each session.

What competitions are you aiming for?

I’m aiming for the Masters at Prestonpans at the end of the year.  My distance is 50m and my best stroke is backstroke, so we’ll see what happens.  I’ll probably enter the 50m in breaststroke, fly and the relay as well. 

How is training coming along?

I’ve recently upped my training to three times a week, so Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings I’m in the pool. There are a few of us training, so we do a fifteen minute warm up and then one of us puts a set on the board and while its challenging, there is a relaxed feeling about it as well – hopefully it’s a good mixture and a good balance. 

What do you do when you aren’t in the pool?

My day job is pretty intense, teaching primary one to seven pupils at three different primary schools in East Lothian.  I see about 800 kids a week and I’m trying to give them a solid grounding is different sports and prepare them for high school.  I teach football, rugby, hockey, swimming, tennis, table tennis, athletics, rounders and a few others.  If they’ve got knowledge and passion from a young age, they’ve got a better chance to progress at high school and in later life. 

How popular is swimming with the kids you teach?

Every pupil gets a block of swimming in Primary Four and the chance to pass a swimming certificate.  A lot of them can swim really well because their parents have had them in the pool from a young age, but there are some who have never been in a swimming pool before. For them it is a big deal and we work hard to ensure they finish the ten week block with a better understanding of what swimming is all about. 

What do you love about swimming?

I love the physicality of it. It takes a lot of stamina and it’s probably one of the best overall sports out there and I just love that feeling of being in the water and feeling the difference. When I first started Masters I wasn’t able to manage a full set and now I am managing a full set and feeling the benefit to my overall health.

What do you hate about swimming?

Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself motivated especially if you have come home from a long day at work and it’s cold outside and you wonder if can be bothered going that night.  Once you’re in the pool you don’t seem to remember how you were feeling before you got in, so you can get on with it.

What are you most proud of out of the water?

Being a PE teacher, I am proud of that. I left school with two Highers and so went back to night school and got my Higher English so I could become a teacher.  I was then working as a life guard and swimming teacher at my local pool part time while doing a Sports Science degree.  I kept pushing myself and managed to get into a postgraduate PE teaching course and got through that, got through my probationary year and here I am. I am proud of the kids I get to help and they inspire me to do more. 

What would you say to recreational swimmers who are thinking about masters?

Stick at it. Try and make the most of each session. What you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. Try and make that third session a week and it will make a massive difference and it’s good to keep it going for a social aspect and meeting new people and just getting into a routine were you are constantly swimming.

What are your top tips for recreational swimmers?

Buy a decent pair of goggles, there’s nothing worse than having to stop every few seconds to fix them. Don’t take it too seriously because you want to have fun and enjoy it. Really push yourself. See how far your body can really go. Try and make one more session a week than you really want to. Stick at it. Try and make the most of each session. It’s about a mind set and attitude. What you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. 

Kevin was interviewed by Chris Kane. Read more Swim Social Blogs/Interviews here