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2016 Lifesaving, Ben Witz, World Championships

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World Interclub Lifesaving Championships 2016 Report

Lifesaving is a sport which tests your fitness in speed events and teaches you potentially life-saving skills allowing you to help people on land and in water. In September I had the opportunity to go and race with Heanor Swimming and Lifesaving Club at the World Interclub Lifesaving Championships in Holland. This event allows some of the best athletes from around the world to test their speed and skills across a range of lifesaving events in the pool and the sea.

One of the events we were focusing on before heading out was the Simulated Emergency Response Competition. This event you are a team of 4 who walk out into the pool and have a previously unseen emergency situation to respond to. You score points based on the speed and technical quality of your rescues, the emergency situations are made to represent real events as much as possible. We qualified for the final finishing first in our heat and were delighted to finish 6th overall in the final, a great achievement on such a big stage. I also took part in a series of individual and relay events across the duration of the competition. This is the biggest club event you can take part in bringing its own pressures and experiences, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I have learnt a lot from the events I took part in as well as by watching the other athletes.

Overall Heanor came 43rd out of 105 teams taking part in the interclub event, an amazing achievement considering we were only a team of 6 so didn’t have female relays. We are already looking at the events we will attend in the next 12 months with the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships and European Lifesaving Championships already pencilled in.

Beyond racing myself I am an active volunteer in the Royal Life Saving Society UK, the drowning prevention charity. I believe the skills and tips I pick up by attending these events should be passed on to those who have yet to have the opportunity to experience them. I have already done some coaching of Heanor athletes at the Yorkshire Speed Championships which took place last weekend and have agreed to help a Sheffield club by running some specific sport lifesaving sessions for them in a few weeks as they have no coaches with lifesaving sport experience.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the Jack Bloor Fund for supporting me at this event. Lifesaving is a self-funded sport, while it something I love it is often challenging to find the finances to attend events which are spread across the UK and the world. Without your support I am not sure I would have been able to pursue something which not only teaches me invaluable skills but also allows me to test them on an international stage. Thank you once again for your generous support.