Meet a member at a distance – Georgina

I have been a member at Spencer since 2016, am currently an out-of-towner on a secondment with work and will return to London post lockdown. I used to be a 100m freestyler then Steve introduced me to longer distance events, 400m and 800m and this progressed to my love of 5km and 10km open water racing.

Where are you based?

I am in Hertfordshire living with my parents and two dogs.

How have you coped with the break from training and have you managed to get back into the water yet? 

I have coped by switching it up. This has been a great opportunity to try different exercises, a new routine,  challenges I would not have considered and to sleep more! My mum is my inspiration and has been my biggest emotional and training support. She has seen me through the 2 month gap from swimming by signing us up for virtual 5km and 10km run events, a run 100km in a month challenge, joined me on bike rides and encouraged me to enter our county’s virtual duathlon through our Triathlon club. We both came first in our age groups because we were the only females in the 20-29 and 60-69 categories, which shows you have to be in it to win it and the triathlete age demographic in Hertfordshire is primarily 40-49. She also signed us up to a twerking dance class which began at 1.30am because she hadn’t realised the 7.30pm class start time was in the Pacific time zone. Twice a week we do land training run by my out-of-town swimming club and we go early morning and late evening lake sessions in varying 14-20 degree water temperatures. The lakes opened mid May which has meant I can train 4 times a week in Open Water with the occasional sea swim on a Sunday.

How are you getting on with Steve’s gutbusters?

Motivation for starting this came from Olegas’ routine of Gutbusters on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Virtually, Olegas, Jason and I do the cycle, including a wild card round each, which could include switching up the order, speed, number or way of doing the exercise. Initially this began at 7.45am, and now Olegas is back in the office, the video calls and warm up begin at 6.15am. One of the great things about working out with team mates is that when you really want to stay in bed you also know you can’t let your team mates work out alone, and soon enough the endorphins kick in and the early start doesn’t matter.

Any recommendations for team mates?

Our swimming community and the motivation we drive in each other as a team is something we don’t need to lose in lockdown. This is why we started the Virtual Summer Series Event for motivation and encouragement. I remember in my second week of training with Spencer, Steve asked me to name the people in my lane. I couldn’t because I hadn’t spoken to anyone. He then made me introduce myself and would test me during different sessions on who I knew. Team mates are the people you go to the pool to see, are the ones who get you through the tough sets and are therefore the ones to get you through tough times. Any external event, Zoom call, or virtual training are what I believe help us feel connected. It has been lovely catching up with the Spencer team on Zoom and I have loved speaking with Becky and Mel, I miss us three sisters training in the pool together! I would recommend checking in on each other, sign up to a challenge, and try swimming in the open water; even if you do not own a wetsuit, a quick dip can do wonders!

Which competitions have you missed/will you miss and how will that affect you?

Qualifying for and coming top 5 in the age group Open Water Nationals was my goal this year. I was also due to volunteer and compete at the Best Fest Mallorca, a brilliant week of sea racing. For me, my passion and love of swimming has remained and competitions will return at some point. Until then I can keep training, get stronger in different ways, and set my own challenges, preferably challenges I can complete with other people.

Any plans for Open Water training or racing over the summer?

All my swim training at the moment is in the lake and the sea and I am loving it! I was due to swim the English Channel in a 6 person relay in July to raise money for Aspire. This may take place in 2020 or in 2021 therefore my next Open Water Challenge is one made up by my friend, Joe, for him and I to each complete a 19km swim together in our local lake, Box End Water Park. This will take place Saturday 27th June 2020 and we will be fundraising for Aspire ( and Mind ( For those in the UK with the ability to come to Box End, I would love to see you and for you to swim with us for an hour. Booking slots available ( 7am and 1pm.

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