Meet Anthony Gimson | Q&A with the Former Sussex ASA President


Our newest highlight on the British Masters swimming group is a Q&A with former Sussex ASA President Anthony Gimson, who was the brains behind the idea of the Nationwide Masters Inter County competitors.

How did you first become involved in swimming?

I used to be very fortunate to be introduced up in Watford which within the Nineteen Forties had the one indoor pool in the entire of Hertfordshire. So, at Major Faculty, we had swimming classes.

I took to it simply and was swimming by the point I used to be seven, which was uncommon in these days.

My first competitors was the Major Colleges Gala once I got here third in the most effective model breaststroke!

After I went to the grammar college, it had an open-air pool and my first summer time I used to be chosen for the college squad which was coached by Invoice Juba.

Invoice was a beautiful man; Hertfordshire Colleges coach, Watford SC coach, in addition to editor of Swimming Instances. Evidently, I joined Watford Swimming Membership in 1949 so I suppose that was once I first obtained concerned in swimming.

There was little or no age group swimming then. You had been both a junior, beneath 16 or senior, so the one competitions I had had been inside the membership and faculty matches.

I went away to HMS Conway (Service provider Navy coaching ship) once I was 14.  There have been no swimming amenities there apart from swimming within the Menai Straits in the summertime time period however I used to return to the membership throughout holidays.

Then adopted six years at sea with Cunard. My first ship was the Queen Mary the place I grew to become Champion of the North Atlantic!

Anthony on the Queen Mary within the Fifties – again row second from left

I used to swim within the First Class pool when the passengers had been at dinner and the pool attendant advised me that there have been annual seamen’s championships selected instances set on the New York YMCA pool.

This was a 20-yard lengthy pool on the fifth flooring. It was a novel expertise going upstairs to a pool however I gained the 100 yards freestyle.

After I left the ocean in 1961, no-one swam competitively of their 20s so I performed water polo for the following 20 odd years till I moved to Haywards Heath in 1982.

What was the primary Masters swimming competitors you went to?

In late 1982 I noticed the outcomes of the Nationwide Masters, particularly that of the 45+ freestyle relay, and thought my Watford mates and I might have a go at that.

So in October 1983, I entered the Masters Nationals to be held at Nuneaton. In these days I used to be allowed to enter particular person occasions for Haywards Heath however might compete for Watford in relays.

My mates and I had been very impressed after we went onto poolside for our race as there have been a minimum of three retired internationals swimming for different groups however we noticed them off, successful in what was then a British document time.

We actually thought ourselves the cat’s whiskers!

When did Masters swimming first get began in Sussex and who had been the principle people concerned at the moment?

The main swimming directors in Sussex within the late 1980’s had been Margaret Tuppen, Lis Hartley, and Pat and Richard Wadmore.

After the primary Southern Counties Inter-County Masters in 1987, I prompt that Sussex introduce a County Masters Competitors.

The nice and the great determined this was value a go, notably as by means of my work I used to be capable of finding a sponsor, and Lis, Pat and I labored out particulars of the primary meet which was held in 1988 in what was then Chelsea Faculty Pool, Eastbourne.

All of it went somewhat nicely and has been held virtually yearly since.

How have you ever seen Masters swimming develop within the county, nationally and internationally over time?

The principal change has been the expansion in numbers collaborating and the extraordinarily excessive commonplace of among the opponents.

Till just lately, the common intention was pleasant participation with no entry requirements besides within the European and World Championships the place requirements had been important however modest so virtually all common swimmers might participate.

There in all probability isn’t any sensible different however I used to be unhappy once I heard that examined entry requirements have been launched for this yr’s Swim England Nationals.

It caught me unexpectedly and has stopped me getting into a minimum of two occasions this yr as a result of I haven’t swum them for some time.

When did the Nationwide Inter County Masters competitors come into being?

I have to not overlook Tony Warn in answering this.

After I first obtained concerned in Masters, Tony was the ASA Masters Secretary in addition to the Southern Counties Masters Secretary. He appeared to do the whole lot.

I’m certain there have been others who made main contributions to the beginning of Masters within the UK however I don’t know them.

Tony began the Southern Inter County Masters in 1987 and offered the trophy that we now compete for.

Curiously, 1987 can be the yr of the primary European Masters held in Blackpool which I really feel certain Tony was behind. Sadly Tony died of a coronary heart assault aged solely 60 in 1997.

When the ASA Masters Committee had been in search of a undertaking to commemorate the millennium, I prompt the Nationwide Inter Counties primarily based on what we did within the South, and persuaded all the opposite areas that they need to take part in 2000.

I consider it as my main contribution to English Masters, and I’m very proud that the competitors has continued just about unchanged.

What would you say to somebody who is considering doing Masters swimming or restarting Masters swimming?

Give it a go.

Definitely at my membership Mid Sussex Marlins, we encourage any grownup to attempt us offered they will swim sufficiently nicely to not disrupt classes.

Even then, if the person can swim okay however shouldn’t be very match, we level out that we aren’t doing it to knock ourselves out, however for pleasure and camaraderie.

So if all of it will get an excessive amount of, miss a few lengths and get your breath again.

Inside our 200 members we embody all talents and have classes each day of the week which might solely be achieved with quite a lot of volunteer involvement and assist.

What has been your greatest reminiscence of Masters swimming?

Sorry however I’ve two which I can not break up!

The primary is the yr 2000 once I was in a relay group which set a World document.

We had skilled laborious (for us) aiming to do the lengthy course document on the World Masters Championships in Munich.

We did beat the document however a Japanese group beat us so we ended up with the silver medal. We determined to have a go on the brief course document within the Nationals at Sheffield and had been delighted to get that.

It was solely three months later that we came upon the identical Japanese group had crushed our time actually in the future later in Japan so we in all probability held the document for maybe 12 hours! However a minimum of we have now the certificates to show it. The occasion was the 240 – 279 combined medley relay.

It was an attention-grabbing group with two fairly succesful male swimmers and with two feminine Olympians (pictured beneath).  The group comprised of Margaret Wilding (Edwards) who had gained bronze in 100m Again in 1956, Chris Jones on breast, Christine Parfect (Gosden) on fly, who was within the GB groups of 1956 and 1960, and me on free.

Anthony Gimson with teammates from the world record-breaking relay quartet

The second reminiscence was choosing and main the Sussex Masters Inter Counties group to win the Swim South East spherical at Crawley and the Nationwide title in 2006.

Anthony Gimson as part of the Sussex Masters Inter County Nationals team in 2006

What are the principle advantages you’ve got gained from Masters swimming?

It has stored me fairly match and sane in addition to offering a motive to rise up within the morning.

I’ve at all times loved swimming for its personal sake however the advantages of belonging to a membership in order that one is aware of at sure instances within the week one goes swimming whatever the climate and the way one feels on the day are immense.

It’s the cherry on the highest that I can compete infrequently.

What’s your favorite pool to compete in?

This needs to be Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

It’s exhibiting a little bit of age now however continues to be in my expertise the most effective designed facility within the nation.

The water is mild and brilliant, and the ends will not be slippery which helps my dodgy turns!

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