Our man in China …..

It’s always nice to keep in touch with former members, so on a recent visit to the pool for a morning swim I was delighted when someone joined the lane and stopped me – and it wasn’t just because I was glad of the rest! He told me that he had been a Barracuda in the 1980″s. I recognised his face instantly but needed a bit of help to recall his name after all these years!

Here’s what I found out …….

His name is Jason Carlisle. His Dad used to be a member of the Committee and is still, today, one of our Vice Presidents. Jason swam between 1984 and 1991 and was a member of our Micro League team who reached the national final. Swimming mainly Fly and Breaststroke he was also one of the team who travelled to Valkenburg in Holland for a training camp. He remembers the packed itinerary of training before breakfast, followed by land training then back to the pool in the evening for an event – but he also remembers how much fun everyone had. One or two girls got a mention too!

I asked him what his happiest memory was. He said he had so many great memories but basically most trips to compete at other clubs. He loved the camaraderie on the team bus and on the poolside. Something he realised many of his school friends just didn’t experience if they weren’t involved in sport. He said that club swimming taught him the value of teamwork, sportsmanship and that ‘hard work pays off’.

He told me that he has realised as he has got older that being able to swim to a competent level has enabled him to take part in lots of other life experiences over the years but the one that gives him the most satisfaction is being able to help others to enjoy swimming. He is now an English teacher in Chengdu in China and loves to get involved with the swimming curriculum when he can, helping others to learn to love the sport. There is a great local pool so he is also able to swim 4-5 times a week to keep himself fit – we even gave him a new Barracuda hat to help him go faster!

Here he is at his local pool in Chengdu

Whilst living and working abroad for a number of years means he has lost touch with many of his former team mates, social media has enabled him to reconnect with one or two and he now follows us on Facebook. In fact, he helped raise awareness of our recent Cash4Kids campaign helping us to secure the win. Once a Barracuda, always a Barracuda!

Jason with his graduation class in China
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