Swimming with Duncan Goodhew

Last December, as a member of the official Swimathon 2016 #BlogSquad, I was lucky to be invited to take part in a training session with Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew.

As I walked towards Cally Pool in Islington I felt really, really nervous. I worked out that I hadn’t been near a swimming pool for 10 years. What would happen if I couldn’t remember how to swim? Would I understand Duncan’s tuition? Would I make a complete idiot out of myself?

Sometimes I worry far too much!

I successfully located Cally Pool and met up with some of the #BlogSquad team: Adele, Lucy  and Victoria. Unfortunately Tess was unable to come to the session. Hopefully I’ll get to meet you at an event in the future Tess. We were handed our Zoggs swimming costumes and goggles, and got ready to start the training session.

After having a few photographs taken with Duncan and his Olympic gold medal, it was time to enter the water. By this stage I was feeling really nervous.


The session started with some warm-up lengths, this allowed Duncan to observe and to give us some initial feedback on our technique. We were then given some drills to work on. Duncan was great at identifying our individual strengths and weaknesses. I was reminded to relax while I was swimming and to not be afraid to put my head in the water.

I found the drills really enjoyable and could feel my technique improving as my confidence in the water increased. Duncan’s passion and enthusiasm for swimming was infectious and I found myself really enjoying myself. Towards the end of the training session I was even brave enough to progress from breaststroke to front crawl.


Duncan then demonstrated his Olympic gold medal winning breaststroke. Wow! So that’s what breaststroke should look like!

We then did some filming as a group and posed for some more photographs.


The hour session flew by and I was actually quite reluctant to leave the water. After our training session we filmed a short video and discussed our proudest swimming moment, our inspiration and our personal motivation for completing the Swimathon 2016 challenge.

With apologies for my Brummie accent!

I would like to thank Duncan for giving up his time and for being so patient with a nervous swimmer. I would also like to thank Sam and his team for organising the training session and for taking what felt like dozens of photographs during the evening. I don’t think that as a runner I ever expected to be given the opportunity to swim with an Olympic gold medallist. Getting to hold the gold medal Duncan won in Moscow 1980 was a slightly surreal experience.

I can confirm that Olympic gold medals are heavy!


7 thoughts on “Swimming with Duncan Goodhew

    • Emma says:

      I know, I was really lucky! Getting to swim with Duncan has to be the best opportunity I’ve had through blogging. It’s just a shame I was so nervous. I’ve had a few comments about my Brummie accent!


    • Emma says:

      I was really nervous that evening and genuinely thought it was going to be either a case of remember how to swim or sink. I’m glad I managed to hold my nerves! I can’t believe there is only a week to go. I need my right elbow to behave itself, at the moment I’m a one armed swimmer. Enjoy the last week of your training x


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