Helen Wemyss

For as long as I can remember I’ve been totally fascinated with  swimming. As a really small child I loved looking at photos of swimming pools and I remember my first visit to the old Kilmarnock Baths when I  was about 6 or 7. However, I was 9 by the time I learned to swim when Ayr Baths opened in 1972. I swam on the school team, and after doing well in a couple of open water swims in the Isle of Man on holiday, I  eventually joined KASC around 1977. I started in B Squad, and it was my life’s ambition to be in A Squad so I could do morning training! I trained really hard and eventually got moved up.

I used to live on Adamton Estate, off the by-pass near Monkton. My Dad worked shifts at the airport and couldn’t always get me to training –  there were no buses to and from Adamton, so I often used to climb up  onto the bypass, and wait for Steve Dunlop and Gordon Wallace who often gave me a lift. After training we all went on to Ayr Academy – quite a trek before school, but it was worth it! Then I’d be back in Kilmarnock after school for “concession”, and club sessions later on 2 evenings when the pool was flooded. I remember at the club championships when I  was about 15 I won the Coleman Trophy for 800 IM – I think it was the proudest moment of my life up to then and it encouraged me no end. I  wanted to be as good as Lynn Daly, and the following year I remember we  both went neck and neck in the 100 fly. We both got disqualified for not touching the wall with both hands, so neither of us has the privilege of winning the Mermaid Trophy that  year……. There were many more happy memories, although I was not a member of the club as long as Lynn and some of the others, but nevertheless I loved every minute. My highest point was swimming in the  Scottish Schools 100m butterfly finals in 1980. I came 5th but I was so happy just to take part, as I’d broken my foot in 1979, and had to pull  out of the 16 and under race that year – I can still remember the total  frustration of 6 weeks without swimming!

I always wanted to be a  PE teacher, but somewhere down the line music took over, and I went off to study music in Salford in 1980. However, I’ve never lost my passion for swimming. I now work as Head of Brass at Bolton Music Service. I’m married with 2 kids age 19 and 20, and I live near Wigan. Swimming is  still a major part of my life, alongside running. I swim a mile every morning before work at David Lloyd in Bolton, usually in a lovely heated outdoor pool (a far cry from those freezing cold Monday morning training sessions at Tichfield Street – they were character building!!). Last year I re-started open water swimming, and  took part in the Coniston Lake Swim, Llandudno Sea Swim, and a number of triathlons, including Tatton Park, Carlisle, Fleetwood and Carpenwray.  At the moment I’m also training for the Manchester Marathon in April. I  really love running as well, and discovering triathlon has opened up a  whole new dimension to my life. I’m now 49, and a veteran member of  Astley & Tyldesley Roadrunners and Tri Club.

Swimming for me  is a life long passion and commitment. day without swimming is like a day without sunshine. It chills me out when I’m stressed, energises me when I’m tired, and I could never imagine my life without it. Being a  member of KASC helped me to find and develop this great passion in my life, and I would like to thank everyone who helped me to achieve this.

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