In the first of a series of articles where we get to know some of the Wett Ones members a little better, we talk to Chris Saxby, a regular lane leader and valued member of the squad. Chris recently won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle and bronze in the 200m freestyle at the Pan Pacific Masters Games.
What made you come along to Wett Ones at first?
When I moved to Sydney in 2014 I wanted to be able to keep up the swimming training I used to do when I lived in Brisbane, both so I could keep fit, and also so I could balance work with another challenge. I didn't know many people when I moved to Sydney so I also saw it as a great way to meet new people. When I first joined I hadn't trained with a competitive squad for about six months and I jumped straight into the top lane and quickly realised how unfit I was. It took a few months to get back into shape and during that time I had great support from my new team mates.
So when did you start Masters swimming?
I used to swim competitively when I was younger but stopped swimming when I started full time work. A few years ago, I was encouraged to start swimming again for fitness. However, it was very difficult at first. I didn't realise how much swimming fitness I had lost over the years. I started off in one of the slower lanes and it took about six months before I began to move up to train with the faster swimmers again.
You join other members of the team regularly at competitive swim meets, what's your favourite event and why?
I'm not sure if I have a favourite event. I try to mix up freestyle and breaststroke so that when one is off I can concentrate on the other. We also have a strong relay team and taking part in relay events is great because there is much less pressure on you individually. You get to feed off the energy of the whole team.
How often do you train and what are your current swimming goals?
I do four swimming sessions a week. Three after work and then one on a weekend. During the summer I also try and do our Saturday morning session at ABC pool as it's a great way to start the weekend and then go for breakfast afterwards. I also try to fit in three gym or land sessions a week if I get the time. My aim this year is to finish at the top of the Australian rankings in the 35 to 39 age group in the 200m and 400m freestyle but really as long as I do good times at each competition and keep improving I'm happy.
What would you say to people who are thinking about joining Masters swimming?
It's important to know that anyone can join Masters swimming. You will meet everyone from former Olympic swimmers who still want to compete at a high level to people who are just learning to swim and want to simply improve their fitness or use swimming as a way to socialise for those times when you aren't following the black line. The first three sessions are free so if you're interested and want to try it out first then you should come along and see if you like it.