Sidmouth swimmer Bill ‘you are never to old to take plunge’

Bill Valentine will be taking part in a Aquathon in Dawlish on April 3 which involves a 300m swim fo

Bill Valentine will be taking part in a Aquathon in Dawlish on April 3 which involves a 300m swim followed by a 2.5k run. Bill is keen for others to become more active and take up a sport such as swimming. Ref shs 13-16SH 9353. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A novice swimmer, who took up the pastime in his 60s, says you can still be active in later life - as he prepares to take on his first aquathon.

Bill Valentine, 66, had not been in a pool since he was 12 and only began swimming four years ago as part of his recovery following a knee operation.

The keen runner has signed up to complete his first aquathon at Dawlish Leisure Centre on Sunday.

He will be competing in the novice class and has to complete 12 lengths of the pool and a 2.5kilometre run.

Bill has become a regular at Sidmouth Swimming Pool - visiting five to six times a week.

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The Manstone Avenue resident said: “I have gone from a non-swimmer to a competitor. It has taken four years and lots of hard work. You can still achieve.

“You are never too old to still do it.

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“For about six months I would swim a third of the length, then stop, then another third, then stop and then finish and stop. I was like that for six months before I could do a whole length.

“I thought I would never do it, I thought I would never make a length. You just get so frustrated. You have to really stick at it when progress is really slow.”

Bill injured his knee on the day of ‘Super Saturday’ back in 2012, when Great Britain won six gold medals at the London Olympics.

Bill had completed a five kilometre race in Basingstoke earlier that day and had travelled to the Olympic Stadium to watch Mo Farah in the 5,000 metres final.

“I was in quite a bit of pain,” he said.

The self-confessed competitor was told by doctors not to run anymore, but since taking up swimming said he is able to do both.

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