Adult swim group with 247 years of swimming together return to Sale Leisure Centre with a splash!

A group of adult swimmers, who have amassed 247 years of swimming together, are finally back in the pool at Trafford Leisure’s Sale Leisure Centre.

The adult swimming group, affectionally known as the ‘Veterans’, has been meeting weekly, with some members participating for more than 40 years. The Veterans is made up of men and women, ranging in age from their late 30’s into their 80’s.

Ian Ringwood, 81, who is the oldest member of the group, worked for British Telecom before retiring and has been coming to the class for 22 years. He says: “The Veterans’ swimming class is much more than a swimming lesson. It’s a social group and very much part of my life. The adult swimming lesson was formally known as ‘9.30 Improvers’ and I originally came as I wasn’t a confident swimmer. I wanted to be safe and enjoy the water with my family. I’ve brought both my children and grandchildren for swimming lessons at Sale Leisure Centre.

“The Veterans group is about the people. After our structured lesson, which includes a warm up, drills and lane swimming, we all head to the café or the local pub for a drink or a meal. Over the years, we have had Christmas parties, curry nights – you name it! We are mixed bunch, from every walk of life, but all are welcome here. I can’t believe I’ve been coming for 40 years! That’s half my life!

“Swimming is fantastic for your health, both mentally and physically, and as I get older it’s been invaluable for my dodgy knees. I look forward to each session.”

The group, which gets exclusive use of the pool at Sale Leisure Centre, currently has 10 regular swimmers. Trafford Leisure’s Swim Well Manager, Anthony Jackson says: “The teaching-led swimming class runs weekly on Wednesday evenings at 8pm. The lesson has a mixture of abilities, ages and demographics, but the one thing they share is a love of swimming; they are proof that it’s never too late to learn to swim.

“If you would like to join the swimming group, you must be able to swim independently 200 metres, please contact me directly at Trafford Leisure for more information via my email:”

Trafford Leisure has a number of memberships dedicated to older people, including its Stay Active Membership for the over 65’s, which includes access to instructor-led sessions, including specialised rehab, falls prevention and restricted mobility sessions, as well as gym sessions, swimming, personalised fitness programmes and a Get Started induction.

Ian says: “We are so happy to be back together. We’ve all kept in touch during the pandemic, but it’s never quite the same. It felt amazing to be back in the water, and then to be able to catch up properly with a drink. Over the years, sadly some of our members have passed away, but I think it’s an amazing achievement that our little swimming group together has been swimming for so long – almost 250 years! Who would have believe it!”