Suffolk Sport’s Great East Swim training ‘thoroughly enjoyable’ says Ipswich participant John Chilvers

John Chilvers, who is on the training programme for swimmers taking part in the Great East Swim run

John Chilvers, who is on the training programme for swimmers taking part in the Great East Swim run by Suffolk Sport. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Swimmers getting ready to take on a watery challenge next month have been continuing their training in Ipswich.

A special programme was set up for people aged 35 and over who do not usually get involved in regular physical activity but wanted to get involved in the Great East Swim.

It is the sixth year of such training sessions, run by Suffolk Sport, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Abbeycroft Leisure, for the event which this year takes place at Alton Water on June 17.

One of those taking part in the swim and the training is John Chilvers, a 40-year-old from Ipswich.

Visually impaired Mr Chilvers joined up so he had some physical activity to focus on after cancer treatment.

After more than a month of the sessions, which include time in the pool and in land training classes, Mr Chilvers said he felt he was progressing.

“Although the sessions have become more challenging I have found that I am not as tired as I was after the first sessions which makes me think I am getting fitter,” he sad. “I definitely feel more confident in the pool and am beginning to feel my goal is achievable. At first my arms and legs ached a lot after a swim, but this has reduced and I now look forward to a swim.”

Mr Chilvers also praised the team running the course for their “encouraging, professional and supportive” coaching.

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He added: “I wasn’t sure what to expect in the beginning but my expectations have been exceeded. Everyone has been considered and the training has been differentiated for the varying levels and I have been very well supported.

“I have very much enjoyed the sessions both in and out of the pool.”

Mr Chilvers also said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” meeting new people as part of the programme who were all working towards the same goal

“Everyone is very supportive and friendly and it feels we can achieve this together,” he said.

Hundreds of people will take part in the Great East Swim, with half-mile, 1mile, 2mile and 5km distances being swum.

The first participants set off at 8am with staggered start times running through until 2.30pm.

Visit the Great East Swim website for more information, including pricing and how to enter.