Fifteen Years: Some Favourite Things

Fifteen years. Four National Performance Directors and four Olympics. Eight Olympic medals in the pool, and three more in the lake. A hatful of medals at worlds and Europeans, and four battles for Commonwealth supremacy. And all of it covered in some way, shape or form on pullbuoy across around 650 articles. It’s been quite a journey, but here are a few of my favourite things from the last decade and a half.

The interviews

The first person to let me interview them was Heidi Earp, who won the very first pullbuoy swimmer of the year award. I’ve been fortunate to speak to many of Britain’s swimmers since, but my favourite interview was with David Davies before the world championships of 2003. I’m not sure why, there was just something about him, something that made you think he would do something special. The rest as they say is history; a history that includes Olympic silver and bronze.

The film

It is probably my favourite thing of all. It took just over six months to pull together but 8-10 represents, to me at least, the best thing that’s been on the site. The six world championship medallists from 2003 were all a pleasure to speak to and their recollections were fascinating. I’d interviewed a number of them just before those world championships, ten years previously, and the comparisons were intriguing. What do you mean you haven’t watched it?!

The podcast

I tried it once in 2007, when Eurosport’s James Parrack was good enough to give it a whirl. But technology then wasn’t what it is now and it wasn’t easy to do. Fast forward to 2013 and things have changed. Everyone has smart phones, there were two new eager co-presenters and a host of new digital delivery platforms. A series of podcasts about the Barcelona World championships was hence a possibility and my favourite one we’ve done was the last of that first run, when we spoke to Jon Rudd, from his hotel in Barcelona, after he had coached Ruta Meilutyte to gold and a world record in the 100m breaststroke.

The event

No, not a big meet, but the amazing charity event and world record breaking Swim4Leukaemia. Brilliantly organised by Lewis Coleman, the team he assembled set a new 100×100 relay record and put on an incredible show. The day included a veritable who’s who of British Swimming and of course raised a huge amount of money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Francesca Halsall. Pic:GBSwimstars
Francesca Halsall competes as part of the Swim4Leukaemia relay Pic:GBSwimstars
The most popular one of all

It’s been on the site since the very beginning, and as far as I can tell its been used over two million times. Who would have thought that converting times from long to short course and vice versa was so appealing? There are probably better ones out there, but its popularity and longevity suggests it’s filling a need.