George Rogers is a Dorset-based Para Swimmer. This teen superstar competes nationally and is no stranger to winning medals. He tells us five interesting things you should know about about being a para swimmer
1: It’s a team & individual event
Para swimming results reflect on both you and your team. This is good and bad; get a great result and you can help your team win. Get a bad result and you won’t be so popular. Being able to flick between being a team player and an individual athlete is a privilege you don’t get to enjoy in many other sports.
2: Training is more than just laps
Para swimming training is varied. You get the really fast, hard but rewarding speed sessions, mixed with not-so fast, equally hard technique sessions. Both session types are physically and mentally demanding but there’s nothing better than beating your time in a speed session or nailing the task in a technique session. Some days are tough; getting up at 5:30 am on a Monday morning really isn’t fun. But you never know when you’re going do something so mind-blowingly awesome that anyone in the vicinity of the pool has their face melted off… so I have to go every time!
3: Some pools are faster than others
Swimming competitively means experiencing lots of different pools. I train in two great ones; the Bournemouth Collegiate School pool and Canford School pool. They are both cold, which is actually a good thing when you start training and getting hot! My favourite pool is Ponds Forge, Sheffield, where nationals are held. People from diving star Tom Daley to movie star James Cordon have swam there… It’s a very fast pool; don’t ask me the science of it, but different pools have different speeds. I think it’s fascinating how I can get into a pool, do a single length and tell if it’s fast or slow!
4: You meet some amazing people
I’ve not long been back from the national championships and while I was there I met loads of my idols and swam with them too! When I finished my final race of the weekend (50 freestyle) I made my way to the warm down pool and picked a lane to swim in purely because it looked reasonably empty. As I lowered myself into the water, somebody broke the surface to breathe… it was Ellie Simmonds! You might have heard of her, she won a gold medal in Beijing at the age of 13 and is the World Record holder in the 400m freestyle. I had to fight the impulse very hard to say: “I saw you on the telly!”
5: Winning is a complicated affair
A good personal best is winning in my mind. However, to win in a conventional sense is quite a strange process in para swimming. When I’ve won a race at national, I don’t usually know until the day after. This is because I don’t race with people that are all in my classification at nationals. All results from the other heats have to be reviewed before they can finally declare who has won. Playing the waiting game to get results can be hard, especially if you’re not in the medal zone when you expect to be. However, seeing the flash of Bronze, Silver or Gold when you’re not expecting it is quite simply the best feeling ever!
Land & Wave sponsors George Rogers to help him train and compete nationally every month. We believe gifted locals deserve the support of local companies. If you know an outstanding local individual who needs a helping hand then get in touch!