Pullbuoy first appeared online in May 2000 as the brainchild of keen swimmer Steve Buckley. What started as little more a reason to put web design skills learnt at university into practice, soon became a long term project that has covered two decades of British swimming, giving a fan’s eye view of the sport across that time.
It could easily have gone a different way however. The site had gained a small following, when in 2001, Sarah Price was named as pullbuoy’s swimmer of the year. Having agreed to do an interview, Sarah liked the concept of the site and encouraged Steve to get in touch with British Swimming. One conversation with then head of communications Dee McIntosh led to an invite to the Team England media day ahead of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and the site suddenly took off, taking in interviews with a number of team members and then again the following year with swimmers that went to Barcelona for the World Championships, while all the time providing coverage and opinion on the sport.
The site survived Steve spending a 2 year stint in Australia, a period which saw new features such as live blogging from the FINA World Cup in 2005, which was first place to announce a world record by Libby Lenton, and the Commonwealth Memories project, collating swimmers’ and coaches’ recollections of the Games.
Fast forward to the present day and the same basic formula remains albeit other features have been added along the way. In 2007 a podcast was added, but, but it wasn’t until 2013 that it finally became established, following a successful series of daily podcasts during the world championships, co-hosted by former GB swimmer Katie Wyld and swimming commentator Bob Ballard.
The changing nature of media on the internet has also seen more video being added to the site, culminating in the 2013 feature length documentary 8:10 which caught up with the British medallists from the 2003 World Championships – many of whom had featured on pullbuoy in its early days – a decade after their success.
Steve competed in Masters swimming for most of pullbuoy’s life and while that may have now come to an end (or at least is now on an extended break) the site continues, offering an alternative view on British swimming.
In addition to writing and producing content for pullbuoy, Steve has also written for Swimming Times, Swimswam.com, and the British Swimming website and was a contributor to the Telegraph Olympics Blog in the lead up to London 2012.
During the Olympics, Steve appeared on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 5Live discussing events in the aquatic centre, notably after Michael Jamieson’s silver medal in the 200m Breaststroke.
He was also on Talksport to talk about Britain’s successful showing at the European championships of 2014.
There are lots of people to thank, too many to mention, but particular thanks must go to Simon Wright of GBSwimstars for letting me use so many of his fantastic photographs. All of the amazing underwater shots in the site headers are his work, so be sure to check out his website.
if you have any queries about pullbuoy please do get in touch using the form below.