Lucy Ryan, 43 – Taking Part in the World Masters Championship

An image of 34 year old Lucy Ryan holding a union jack in celebration after winning three medals at the World Masters Championships

Name: Lucy RyanAge: 43


Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m 43 and a Management Consultant turned competitive swimmer, as well as a swimming teacher, with 4 children. As a bronze medal winner for the 40-45 year old category in the Budapest World Championships, I think my body is as strong and capable as ever.

What was your experience in the World Masters Championships like?

An image of Lucy Ryan at the award ceremony of the World Masters Championships.

Lucy Ryan at the medal ceremony of the 2017 World Masters Championships in Budapest.

It was a really wonderful experience and the racing itself was so exciting! I was so happy about my results, especially getting a Bronze medal on the very last race of the meet- the 50m Breaststroke. It was a personal best time and one of the best races of my life.

In Masters swimming you are generally very supportive of each other and have tremendous respect for those who are better than you as you understand the level of commitment that goes into the results!

With my family around me & my best friends watching via a live stream, I felt so wonderful. It was once of those perfect experiences that makes everything worthwhile.

How did you prepare?

I started with specific training sessions that I could do in my own pool, along with the ‘Insanity 30’ DVD’s – to sweating off some weight and increase my strength.

I then changed to the training of an international masters coach and I booked 2 training camps with him the following spring.

I completed over 40 weeks of coach Glenn’s sessions, 3 times a week as well as around 16 weeks of a ‘Power-wave’ land based class: (20 mins using a weight bag to add some resistance to basic fitness moves like squats, press ups, tricep lifts etc.)

This adds muscle tone & strength as well as encouraging stretching and core strength on a regular basis.

Has maturing / age impacted your life?

An image of Lucy Ryan's family.

“My fan club Poppy, Ben, Charlie & Leona made wonderful supporters.”

I understand diet and the rest are so much better than 25 years ago when I was first trying to race well, I haven’t had a baby for over 6 years now so my stomach and abs are recovering, although now I will never have a 6 pack!

Surviving my divorce was probably the hardest thing I’ve been through. I was completely heartbroken and couldn’t imagine how I could raise the children alone and continue when things just weren’t what I thought they would be.

I couldn’t even enjoy swimming, as it is a sport where you are alone with your thoughts and I couldn’t stand it.

We’ve heard you run a swimming school from your converted barn in Norfolk, how is this going?

After I built the swimming pool, people from the community started asking to use it and asking if I could help teach their children to swim. I trained as a swimming teacher and within 3 years I started to turn a profit… within 7 I’m turning over about £100,000 a year!

Around 500 people a week come and swim here. I run a swim school teaching babies, toddlers, pre-school children, group school age children, private adult and child lessons.

Last week I taught a premature baby on oxygen, a young man who had suffered from a stroke and lost the use of the right side of his body, and hundreds of others with their own stories. I enjoy teaching people to relax and be confident in the water!

Do you find any part of maturing tough?

Only my hair roots! And of course having 4 children tests your patience way beyond any job or sporting endeavour.

How do you feel about your age now?

I don’t think I mind getting older! I don’t feel I had a perfect age when I looked wonderful and everything was great.

What are your best tips for ageing well?

Go swimming! At competitions there are 60, 70 and 80 year olds racing well! In my event at World championships there were two ladies born in the 1920s, and they had travelled from America to Hungary!

And an occasional dinner with friends and wine is such a wonderful treat, I think you appreciate it more.

What is your life philosophy?

Results don’t come easy as you age but I have always been dedicated.

This last year I met a new coach who reminded me of the social and enjoyment side of my sport. He runs international camps in sunny places and I meet lots of fantastic people.

I also have a very supportive partner, which is essential!

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