After reading an article about our Swim Clinic weekends in the Telegraph newspaper last year, 78-year-old Helen Dingley decided it was now or never to take the plunge and master the front crawl.
Throughout the year Watergate Bay Hotel hosts Swim Clinic; a two-day coaching and guidance weekend with Swim Lab. Last month, 78-year-old Helen Dingley became swim coach Salim’s star pupil (pictured above), proving age is no limit to mastering new skills.
We caught up with her to find out more.
Why did you decide to join Swim Clinic?
Quite simply, I wanted to learn the front crawl before it was too late! I’ve enjoyed the water all of my life – for my own pleasure and my own good – and I try to visit my local pool when I can, but I’m certainly no budding athlete.
How did you feel about the weekend?
I wasn’t daunted until I met my fellow swimmers, two of whom were training for a triathlon. Instructor Salim however wasn’t worried about the range of abilities. So neither was I. There were elements of the weekend that weren’t for me, such as the sea swimming and speed sessions, but I wasn’t forced to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with.
What did you take away from the weekend?
Breath work; I knew the importance of breathing techniques but didn’t know how to put it into practice until now. Confidence; from picking up a float to swimming with flippers, Salim was great at encouraging me to just give everything a go. And enjoyment; I had always watched people plough up and down the pool and I just didn’t get it. Now I do.
How about the wider experience over the weekend?
The weather over the weekend didn’t matter one bit from inside the Swim Club; it overlooks the beach so I felt like I was in the elements without any of the wind and rain! Out of the pool it was great to relax and while away the rest of the day in the Ocean Room in the hotel.
What advice do you have for other aspiring swimmers your age?
Just go for it! If I can give it a go, then anyone can.
Our next Swim Clinic is happening on Friday 18 – Sunday 20 September. For more details or to make a booking, please contact our reservation team on 01637 861 295.