After a summer of Olympic sporting fever, the capital’s LGBT community is being urged to hit the pool. Out to Swim’s Rory Desch shares the experience of one of its members, Micke Masood, who’s found a whole new lease of life with the gay amateur swim club.
Before 32-year-old Micke joined Out to Swim, he knew there was something missing in his life, and like a lot of us, he didn’t enjoy the isolation of working out alone in the gym.
From a very young age, Micke has always had an affinity to swimming, but he never felt comfortable in participating in team sports.
One day he took the suggestion of a then flatmate to try an Out to Swim session.
Initially concerned that he wouldn’t be fit enough, Micke did some pre-training before joining the club.
Starting off in lessons with Out to Swim, he met Vicki Carter, who patiently taught him all four styles of swimming and corrected his bad habits – all to make him a faster and stronger swimmer.
Just as his flatmate had suggested to him, Micke found the club fun, friendly and really enjoyed the feeling of being part of a team with like-minded individuals.
Since joining Out to Swim, Micke has taken part in several gay and non-gay swimming competitions, including international events such as the Eurogames in Barcelona in 2008 and the Outgames in Copenhagen in 2009.
Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that joining Out to Swim would lead to him securing a medal at the Eurogames and swimming in exotic locations such as Dardanelles in Turkey.
I believe the key to Micke’s success is that he’s a person who continually resets his personal goals.
It started with him striving to swim faster, and then to wanting to lead the lane he was in, and then to moving on over into the faster lane – there really is no stopping him.
Micke is currently training hard for the ASA short-course nationals in Sheffield next month.
This summer all of us at the club have been glued to the TV screens watching the iconic and inspirational Michael Phelps bow out in true jaw-dropping Olympic style as the world greatest-ever swimmer.
But now, we are ready to hit the pool again for a frenzied autumn of training.
To anyone thinking of coming along and trying Out to Swim, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and before long you too can be sharing in the same positive experiences of Micke.
Rory Desch is one of the organisers from Out to Swim.