Meet a member – Di

Di is another Spencer swimmer who was recruited by the late Dave Mace.  She has swam for Spencer since the 1980s, setting many records as well as helping with many relay records.

Di’s mother taught her to swim when she was about 8 years old. At 11, she joined Heston Swimming Club, encouraged by Catherine Macadam, an international butterfly swimmer who went to her school.  Di started off as a butterfly swimmer but in those days most training was done on your number one stroke – very tough for the fly swimmers – so Di changed to breaststroke.   She won the Middlesex County ladies 200 yards breaststroke when I was about 16 or 17, represented Division 10 Middlesex and Hertfordshire at several English Schools Championships, and for a few years swam the breaststroke leg of the Heston medley team, winning the National Championships at Blackpool several times.

After a break when her children were young, Di moved to Hampshire and joined the fledgling masters section at Rushmoor Royals.  Her first competitive Masters’ meet was the Otter meet in 1981, swiftly followed by the Nationals in York that same year. She went on to compete at the inaugural World Masters Games in Toronto in 1985 in the 40-44 years age group, winning all three breaststroke events and setting new world records for the 50 and 200m, and the first World Masters Championships in Tokyo, where she won the 100m fly.

Di has competed in every Worlds and all but two of the Europeans and has set world records in all three breaststroke distances in most age groups.  .Di is currently upping her training in preparation for the Europeans in Slovenia where she will compete in the 75-79 age group, and is hoping to set some more records.  She loves travelling the world with Spencer, going to places where perhaps she would not otherwise have a reason to go to and meeting up with old and new friends from other countries.  She also still thrives on the excitement of the competition.

‘Ageing up’ means that there is always something new to aim for in Masters swimming, although it does bring its funny moments.  Di remembers once at Sheffield all four medley team ladies had an injury of some sort.  “We broke a record and then all jumped into the swim down pool, only to realise the steps had been removed and we were unable to get out unaided!”

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