Darryl Flukes is one of our “students” here at JSSS. He’s the captain of a Masters swim club, the Surrey Park Seahorses, and now medallist at the 2019 FINA World Masters Swimming Championship. I say “student”, as Darryl is an excellent swimmer already (good enough to take on the world championship!), but asked John to work with him, to push him further and reach his goals. We interviewed Darryl to find out more about his life, his goals and his swimming.

Hi Darryl, it’s great to have the chance to talk with you. Tell me a bit about yourself! What do you do for a living?

I’m from the UK. I moved here in 1998 to marry Louise from Ballarat. I’ve worked in the energy industry all my career, earlier in energy markets, gradually becoming more involved in renewable energy. Now I’m passionate about the transition to a clean energy future.

When did you start swimming?

Swam as a child/teenager, played water-polo until my mid-twenties. Got back into swimming in my mid-thirties when my daughter joined a club and I was invited to participate in the parents’ race. Have not looked back since! Being in the UK there was limited pool space and very few 50m pools. Only when I came to Australia could I take advantage of the facilities and swim culture to improve as I have.

What keeps you motivated?

The positive feeling “endorphin-kick” after a good training session. Setting and pursuing goals. The club camaraderie.

Can you tell me about your experience at the masters championship itself?

Took place in South Korea, following the 2019 World Championships. The meet itself was very well run, very slick with the jacketed officials and uniformed, regimented turn judges etc. It really felt like an elite event, compared to the casual environment we have become used to at masters.

What event did you race in?

I raced in the 50m, 100m & 200m Butterfly, as well as the 200m & 400m Individual Medley
I received a medal for 6th place in the 200m butterfly).

What is it like competing at such a high level?

Hard to say really. Inspiring and satisfying?

Tell me about the Surrey Park Seahorses

Surrey Park Seahorses is a medium-sized masters swim club with around 40 members ranging in age from 30s to over 70. We train/meet formally 4 times a week at the Whitehorse Aquatic Centre Box Hill and Boroondara Sports Complex Balwyn; also, informally (i.e. uncoached) 2 or 3 times a week too. Many of our members compete in state, national and international meets. Some focus on the open water swims over the summer as well, and a number swim just for the fitness and company.

Have you got any goals you are working towards with your swimming?

The big one has just been met, medalling at a world championship. Right now, I am relaxing and enjoying that but new goals will emerge again I have no doubt.

Have you got any advice for aspiring Master swimmers?

Join our club! Not only to improve your swimming but for new challenges and to be surrounded by life-minded providing motivation and inspiration.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers?

As the body ages, we need to swim smarter, not harder. This is where club swimming should be complemented by sessions with the John Sugden Swim School to improve, even change, swimming techniques. This is what happened to me 4 or 5 years ago when I had a very disappointing Nationals Championships, having trained so hard leading into it. The 50+ year old body just wasn’t going to continue taking the pounding I was giving it. A call to John sought to change all that and the results have been demonstrated.

Darryl has since entrusted John with teaching his granddaughter, and continues to train and improve for the next swimming challenge.