From GB Swimmer to Bench Press Championships. 1 Year on.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I represented Team GB in Swimming whilst holding numerous club, regional and national records. Further to this, I was British Junior Record holder in the 100m Backstroke, as well as gaining 7th place at a European Juniors event. After a brief spell away from the sport in the mid 2000’s, I competed at the World Masters games in 2010, securing gold in the 50m and 100m Backstroke in the 24-29 age group; setting competition best performance times in the process.

The Daily Grind

Having always led an active lifestyle and moving to the Alfreton area, I became a member of Alfreton Leisure Centre in 2007. Whilst I had always fully utilised the amazing facilities that Alfreton Leisure Centre has to offer including swimming, classes and court sports, I started to concentrate on a body building style of weight training with the aim of increasing muscular endurance and strength. Over the years, the fitness instructors and personal trainers here have always been very supportive, actively encouraging its members in different training methods and styles.

In late Summer 2018, and I began to get the desire to compete again. Whilst I still missed the swimming environment, I wanted to try something new. It was after watching a documentary of Eddie Hall that I looked into strength competitions. This is when I found Powerlifting. Powerlifting traditionally consists of 3 main lifts: the squat, the bench press and the dead lift. However, there are competitions within the British Powerlifting calendar that focus on the individual lifts. This was where my focus would lie.

In October 2018, I competed in the East Midlands Bench Press competition in Milton Keynes. Whilst only my first competition, I met the qualifying standard to compete at both the British and English powerlifting championships in 2019. I had, once again, found an activity and sport in which I could challenge within a competitive environment. Alfreton Leisure Centre continued to provide the resources that I needed to alter my training requirements.

Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in St. Johns

During 2019, I competed at two national events which resulted in podium places. This, amazingly, led to my selection to represent England at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. I couldn’t turn this opportunity down. At the competition, not only did I gain a personal best weight, but amazingly I won gold! To represent my country in a second sport was something that I aspired towards – it was a long-term goal but didn’t think it would happen within 12 months.

I have many aspirations and goals for the future within the sport of Powerlifting, as I continue to make progress on my personal best weights, whilst also aspiring for selection to Team GB.

I am also currently studying to become a Level 2 Fitness Instructor, moving on to the British Powerlifting Level 1 Powerlifting certifications before the year is out. Alfreton Leisure Centre has always supported my journey and given me the equipment, knowledgeable staff and encouragement to do so.

Happy lifting!