Meet a member in lockdown – Guy

Guy is an out of towner who regularly competes for us at major and local meets, being a member of the Men’s 200+ 4×100 medley British record holding dream team and relay gold medalist at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea.

Can you remember your last swim session?

It was 12th March and I trained alone. I’d just heard I needed a fourth cancer operation on my throat and decided to train alone at Hillingdon rather than with Amersham SC, so I didn’t pick up anything that would delay my operation. That same day my daughter who is studying in Paris called to say she was scared she would get trapped in Paris, so I got the next Eurostar train and repatriated her. She has an apartment 200m from the Louvre so right in the centre. It was bizarre how Paris was completely deserted but London was carrying on as normal.

How are you coping with being out of the water?

Waiting for the operation results wasn’t easy when I couldn’t push those thoughts aside by swimming. Fortunately I only had to wait 2 weeks for the results and the lump they removed wasn’t cancerous (phew), so now I just need to wait for further tests on the lymph node which should be fine. Overall it’s hard, but nothing really in the grand scheme of things at the moment, certainly compared to many others. All I can say is it’s a good job I had my operation as my diet was just soup and soggy Weetabix for 3 weeks, otherwise I’d be really fat. 

What do you miss most?

What I really miss most, is training and knowing my fitness level down to the fine details. When you swim you know how fit you are by your capabilities during training, you know roughly what times you are capable of achieving in training and when you compete. Doing my current exercise programme is doing me some good (although not enough) but to what degree I have absolutely no idea.

Do you have a daily fitness routine?

I couldn’t do much for the first 3 weeks of lockdown due to my operation, so what was a good level of fitness built up this year with a good winter program ebbed away. I now have a weekly program in place – running 10k (2 x week), indoor cycling (30 mins 5 x week), rowing (30 mins 5 x week), varied workouts (30 mins 2 x week), yoga (30 mins 2 x week) plus my swim cords, weights and therabands. I’ve been careful to build it up gradually so I don’t get injured which has impacted my strength training in the past. I’m now at a level where I can start to mix endurance and some higher intensity sprints, so we’ll see.

How are you getting on with Steve’s gut busters?

I’ve incorporated most of Steve’s gut busters into my program. I have lacked upper body strength since my operations in 2017 & 2018 so this has given me the opportunity to try and build that up again without it impacting my swimming training or competitions. It started really slowly but I am getting there now and it is getting easier, although I still have no idea how to skip and my flexibility is still poor. My family all have hyper-extensibility so I just look like the crooked man walking the crooked mile afterwards.

Any recommendations for team mates?

A diet of soup and soggy Weetabix helps to reduce your fat levels – 4 kgs in 3 weeks.

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

I have missed the GB Masters and the Europeans in Budapest, not sure how many others will be missed yet. I was down for 11 races in Sheffield despite missing the Sunday due my daughter’s 21st birthday so it would have been a good endurance test. 

How is your family coping with you not swimming?

We’re all working from home so we see each other much more. I think they missed me when I went out swimming or when training impacts what we do Saturday mornings. However when I disappear upstairs to do some exercise or ride my bike indoors whilst we are watching a film, I get comments too that I’m making them feel guilty. 

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

The smell of chlorine always gets the adrenaline flowing. I’m not looking forward to the first few weeks to be honest. I know how much it will hurt and how despairing I will feel. If I take a week off I can catch up quickly, two weeks seems to take about 6 weeks to catch up, and 3-6 months absence from experience takes much longer.  Ignoring those first hurdles, I’m really looking forward to some serious competition to test where I am and the team spirit in the relays is always awesome!

Any plans for Open Water swimming over the summer?

As the indoor season was front loaded and expected to end in early June, I planned on doing a lot more open water this year, including 5km open water sea swims each day whilst on holiday in preparation for the Thames Marathon in Mid August. Now I have no idea but I do plan on swimming in the Thames shortly if permitted.

Looking forward to seeing everybody. Please take care in the meantime.


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