STRATFORD Sharks Swimming Club member Joshua Walker has recently returned from the International Life Saving Federation World Championships Rescue 2014, in which he performed impressively.
Based in the south of France, he competed in several inter-club events, most of which took place in the Antigone Olympic pool in Montpellier, and also surf events which were held at La Grande-Motte beach.
Being Walker’s third international event, he knew he faced stiff opposition, particularly from the Australians and New Zealanders, but carrying an ankle injury meant limited training preparation for such a high level competition.
The first event was a 200m obstacle swim and finishing just outside his personal best time was a great warm-up for later events.
The second event was a more favoured sprint event – the 50m manikin carry – swimming 25m followed by a dive to recover a submerged manikin to carry it a further 25m to the finish.
Seeding placed him in 60th position of the 231 world top lifesavers entered in the event, but his result exceeded all expectations, reaching 45th position in a personal best time of 34.04 seconds.
The second day of competition did not start as well as his ankle injury meant he could not perform to his best in the manikin tow with fins event, however this was soon forgotten as later in the day was the 100m rescue medley event.
This involves a 50m sprint swim, followed by a turn after which the lifesaver must then remain completely underwater swimming for 17.5m to reach a submerged manikin.
Personal best swim
This time Walker was seeded in 80th position out of 132 worldwide entrants and a great swim in a personal best time of just under 1 minute, 12 seconds (1.11.97) promoted him to finishing in 45th position overall.
The following day competition transferred to the beach at La Grande-Motte. Being a pool specialist, Walker just competed in the surf race, which consisted of a swim out into the waves for approximately 200m, then across the surf and back into the beach.
Unlucky to just be pipped at the post on the beach sprint in, Walker finished 14th in his heat of 40 lifesavers, with only ten qualifying for the final.
Overall Walker was very happy with his performance at his first World Championships and now looks forward to recuperating from his ankle injury to then compete at his full potential at an upcoming international competition.
It will be his second year representing RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society) UK at the BeNe Cup, which involves two competitions over one weekend – one in Belgium and one in Holland – with the longer-term goal of qualifying for the next world championships in Holland in 2016.