Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Linda Jordinson - From Open Water Rookie to a Masters and Open Water Medallist!

At the 2016 Scottish National Open Water Swimming Championships at Loch Venachar (13-14 August), 47 year old Linda Jordinson crossed the line first to win the 44-55 year old category in the 2km event.  Her victory comes just twelve months after she had to be fished out of the water at the same event by a rescue boat. 

Linda, who only started open water swimming eighteen months ago, says, “In 2015 I was really nervous and when I got in the water I didn’t do anything the coaches at the “Come and Try” session told me to do.  I didn’t relax, I didn’t acclimatise to the water and I panicked.  I had to signal to come out half way through and was in tears in the car on the way home.  I was with my ten year old son and it was a total role reversal when he was saying to me ‘You can do it, you’ve just got to keep trying’”.

With her son’s words resonating in her ears, Linda got some advice from Scottish Swimming and joined her local Masters Club.  She says, “I just took the right steps to go back a bit and practice what all the instructors taught me.  Masters swimming was great and everybody was really welcoming and friendly.  That really helped me improve my swim stroke and my confidence in the water.  So much so that I entered a Masters competition and was really nervous – I’m forty seven and this was my first ever swimming competition!  I won a couple of bronze medals in backstroke and butterfly and again that just kept building my confidence.  That, and I’ve been doing lots of swimming at Knockburn and taking part in “Come and Try” sessions".

Linda felt she had a point to prove at Venachar in 2016, saying, “It was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line this year and even more amazing to win my age category.  This time last year I felt like I had failed enormously, but the man who helped me out of the water in 2015 helped me put it in perspective in 2016 when he came up to me and said ‘congratulations because I know how you were feeling last year’. He asked if I’d mind talking to some of the swimmers about my experience and try to encourage them not to take risks and not to feel like it’s the end of the world and I’m really happy to do that.”

“I would say any swim for any swimmer at any level can end with a raised hand to come out of the water.  It could be the water is too choppy or you’ve copped a mouthful of water or you get cramp or you get too cold, or whatever.  It’s really important to recognise that when you are in open water, if something is not right, then stop and come out.  It’s always better so swim safely and live to swim another day.”

Linda’s next open water adventure is the “Chill Swim” at Coniston Water in the Lake District in September.  At five and a quarter miles long, it will be the longest swim Linda has attempted and will help her keep her sights on something much longer.  Linda says, “I want to swim the English Channel before I’m fifty.  My husband thinks I’m mad, but he thinks I should have something to work towards!  My cousin swam the channel a couple of years ago so I’ve got some contacts at the Channel Swimming Association and I’ve been speaking with them and hope I’ll get onto one of their courses next year.  I’ve got three years to go, so I am on the right track.”

After offering words of encouragement last year, Linda’s kids are now sharing in mum’s success.  Linda says, “My kids are really proud of me.  The always want to take the medals that I win into school or into nursery.  They weren’t at Loch Venachar with me this year and I didn’t get home until after their bedtime, but they were there cheering me at the window when I arrived.”

Congratulations Linda! What an amazing story of motivation and inspiration to others.

If you’d like to follow in Linda’s wake, then click here to find out more about  a “Skills and Drills” class or a “Come and Try” event near you, click here.

Thanks to Chris Kane for interviewing Linda; more interviews/blogs can be found here.