Thursday, May 19, 2016

Anita Wiedmann of Silver City Blues encourages you to give swimming a go!

If you’re in your thirties or forties, you might remember a Children’s TV programme called “Why Don’t You”.  That was the short name in the TV listings – the full name, as the programme always said at the beginning, was “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?”

Now while the Rio Olympics in August will be anything but boring, they might just inspire you to get off the sofa and give swimming a go. For some that might mean digging out a swimsuit from the back of a holiday suitcase, for others it might mean reconnecting with a former hobby. If you’re lucky, it might mean you discover a hidden talent – much like 37 year old Pharmacist & Robert Gordon University Lecturer Anita Wiedmann did three years ago. 

Anita was watching the World Championships in Barcelona on TV from the comfort of her sofa and something clicked in her head as she watched. Three years later, she’s been on a swimming journey that has led her to Aberdeen’s Silver City Blues Masters and medal winning performances in the pool. 

Anita says, "I didn’t swim much as a kid, other than the odd recreational trip to the local pool.  Then watching the championships in Barcelona, it just looked like so much fun and I thought ‘I want to do this’.  I looked online and found Silver City Blues, got in touch with them and went along for some training sessions."

Anita quickly found out that there is a difference between being able to swim and being able to avoid drowning.  She says, "I thought I could swim really well, but in reality I could barely swim 50m without stopping.  I could do a little breaststroke and frontcrawl, but it was very, very basic.  But the club were incredibly supportive and there were a couple of trainee coaches who needed to do some assessments and used me as a guinea pig.  You wouldn’t normally get that level one-to-one coaching, so I was really fortunate."

Anita’s swimming improved to the point she decided to enter a competition.  She says, "I entered the Scottish Championships and I was worried it would be really daunting. I thought they’re all going to swim like people do on the telly and everyone’s just going to laugh at me.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth – you only swim with people that are a similar standard and everybody is very supportive. That gave me the confidence to compete at British and European Championships, which I would have thought impossible three years ago.   I’ve been fortunate to win a British gold medal as part of a relay team and I’ve won a silver for 100m breaststroke."

Anita says her swimming journey is one anybody can make.  She says, "If you think you would enjoy swimming, you should find out if you do enjoy it. Masters Swimming is great and not just as getting you fit; it’s about all the people you meet, the support you get and the friendships you make. My social life has turned around completely because together we celebrate each achievement."

So why don’t you just switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead?  You’ll find everything you need to get started here on www.scottishswimming.com

(written by Anne Kane) 

You can read more of our Swim Social Interviews and Blogs here 

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