By Owen Kennedy
The NUI Galway Swimming, Water Polo and Lifesaving club is one of the most prominent clubs in the college. After winning Club of the Year last year, Padraic Toomey now commands the club and is hoping to reach new heights.
What got you interested in the club in the first place?
I’ve always had an interest in swimming and I did competitive swimming from the age of ten. I wanted to continue it on when I got into university. I really thought it was a great way to meet new people, and in general, just a great and productive way to spend some time.
What has made you stick with the club for so long?
I think the sense of community has made me stay with it. It’s a really good group of people. We get on really well. There’s no tension, we just come here to swim, have a good chat before and after… I think the fact that we have something in common, that we’ve all done growing up. We all have that individual competitiveness. I don’t think many other sports can have this key factor due the fact that so many sports are team – focused. Swimming is different wherein it’s completely yourself, and it’s really nice to find people who are in the same situation who are as individually competitive as you are.
What is the funniest thing to have happened to you whilst with the club?
I went out on a Tuesday night and had the great idea of going to swimming at 7am the next morning. I got home at 4:30am and got up at 6:30am to be in the pool on time. I didn’t last too long in the pool though.
What’s the worst part of the sport, if any?
I’d say the early morning sessions. No matter how much I do them, I do get into a routine of doing them but at the same time I do like sleeping in and getting up 10 minutes before my lecture instead of two hours earlier.
What are your recommendations for people who want to get into swimming with the club?
It’s never too late to start. We run a learn to swim programme for people who’ve never been in the water before. We had a guy here at the start of the semester who had never swam before and after two lessons he was trying lengths. Personally, I think this is not only amazing but inspiring. We also do fitness squad for those who wish to swim lengths to maintain their health and we also run racing squad for those who are really invested in their competitive careers.
People don’t realise how big the club is. There’s every entry level, from ‘I can’t stay afloat’ to ‘I’m an amazing swimmer’ and I’d love if more people knew about it. Even if swimming isn’t your thing we run a lifeguard course and we have our own water polo team. There really is something for everyone at the club.