25-year-old Luke Maunder was the first Master Swimmer to join UoB Swimming club in October 2017 and has been making some serious progress in his first year at the university. Despite the demands of a Biomedical science degree, Luke is renowned in the club for his commitment to pretty much every training session and his persistence in pushing his body to the limit, proving that you can continue to improve into your twenties.
According to a study by the National Alliance for Youth sports, 70% of children quit their competitive sport by the age of 13 because they stop enjoying it, and like many, Luke also quit swimming at age 13. After surprising himself and others at a Charity Swimathon in 2011, Luke made the decision to venture back into the swimming world at age 20 and chase a childhood dream of becoming professional. As many talented sports-people know, making it to ‘the top’ is easier said than done, especially in a Sport like Swimming where it is difficult to know what the hours of training each week are worth. However, Luke claims, ‘now my motivation is just to be the best that I can regardless, because I love the sport and pushing my limits to improve’ encouraging the mind-set that competitive swimming can be rewarding even if you don’t make it to a professional standard.
His ambition and drive throughout this year has earnt him some commendable achievements such as a 5 second PB at BUCS Teams for his 200m freestyle and swimming sub 1 minute in the 100m Freestyle at the Royal Navy Masters. Luke’s most recent achievement and almost certainly his most impressive was his exceptional performance at the British Masters National Champs, where he PB’d by 5 seconds in the 400m freestyle, winning a bronze medal and placing 6th overall. He exceeded everyone’s expectations by then swimming an 8 second PB in the 1500m with a silver, placing 3rd over-all and absolutely smashing his personal goal of swimming under 18 minutes in a long course pool. After a flying year of competition, Luke wants to continue making waves in his second year stating:
“As far as aims are concerned, my main goal is to raise enough money to go to World Champs next year, and if I can do that then I’m aiming for the podium in 1500m.”
Masters swimming is still a relatively unknown side of the sport and Luke explains how pursuing swimming as a Master can be challenging because it is difficult to find a club to train with and many swimming clubs focus on younger swimmers and teenagers. He says, ‘I’m incredibly lucky because my home clubs were willing to take me on despite my age, and of course that UoB has such a high level and dedicated swim team that I could join.’ I think Luke advocates the refreshing outlook of achieving your personal goals through hard-work and determination as well as highlighting the extensity of swimming as a sport that you can do for your whole life. He is an inspiration to the growing network of Masters swimmers as well as his team-mates who admire his resilience and passion for the sport. Luke and the Team are proud of the array of achievements this year and look to build on them in the 2018/19 season especially with summer nationals on the horizon.