Meet a member in lock down – Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara Halls and I joined Spencer in April 2018 as a non-competitive member, only swimming one session a week to try keep fit. However, after our coach Steve asked me if I would like to join some of the team participating in a few friendly relays over the Summer of 2018 I quickly got the bug and found my love for racing all over again (after an 18 year break!!!).  

If you fast forward 2 years to now, I continued to increase my training sessions with Spencer and had been training super hard with the team here in London in preparation for the GB Championships that were due to take place in April.  

Can you remember your last swim session?

I can absolutely remember my last swimming session. It was on Thursday 19th March at Ernest Bevin College in Tooting. We did a great main set of 100’s and finished with some sprints off the block which I always really enjoy. 

How are you coping with being out of the water?

It is strange! Swimming is a big part of my life and weekly routine, but knowing that everyone is going through the same thing does help you to accept the situation we are in and to try make the best of it.  Also seeing what some other families are going through at this difficult time does help to put my feelings into perspective. We will be back in the pool again when the time is right and I am really looking forward to when that happens. 

What do you miss most?

I miss being in the water and that wonderful feeling you get when you have completed one of Steve’s great training sessions knowing that you worked hard.  I also miss being able to eat anything and not feel guilty :o) One of the great advantages of swimming is that you burn a lot of calories.   

Do you have a daily fitness routine?

I had started running as soon as the pools closed averaging 7 miles per run, but unfortunately I began to suffer from knee and lower back pain, so I decided to stop.  In retrospect I think I was too keen to try maintain fitness levels and although the distance felt fine from a cardio perspective, I should have started off with shorter runs and built up the distance so that my joints could get used to the impact.  So I may try running again when all my ailments subside. As such my daily fitness activities have consisted of several activities, be it high intensity work outs, circuits, yoga, press ups, sit ups, Joe Wicks PE class with my daughter, skipping and of course Steve’s Gut Buster.  I tend to keep a note in my calendar on the fridge of what I have done each day, as I like to mix things up.  Having this record allows me to easily see what I have/have not done for a while so I know when to do it again.  

How are you getting on with Steve’s gutbusters?

I dread doing them but I feel great when I have completed it.  Plus it does get a touch easier the more times you do it, so my advice would be to persevere.  No pain no gain right! :o) 

Any recommendations for team mates?

Everyone’s situations, living / working arrangements and circumstances will all be different, so just do what you can whenever you can, enjoy it and stay safe.

Which competitions have you missed/will you miss?

I will miss them all to be honest.  I enjoy the team spirit and camaraderie at the competitions and getting to see all the Spencer “out of towners” that I don’t get to see on a weekly basis. I was looking forward to the GBs in Sheffield, the Surreys in June, the Mid Sussex Marlins in July as that would have been a great team event and I suspect the short course Nationals won’t go ahead in October so I will really miss them too.  

How is your family coping with you not swimming?

Thankfully they are all fine (well they have not told me otherwise anyway!). Doing some form of exercise every day tends to keep me sane and I am really enjoying having this time with my daughter that I otherwise would not have had.  So I feel as long as we can all find the positives in this situation we will remain happy and harmonious.  

What are you most looking forward to when you can get back in the water?

Just swimming and swimming and more swimming!!! :o)

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