My Journey with Sport Aberdeen: Mairi MacDonald
We were lucky enough to get the chance to speak to Mairi MacDonald who knows all about the Sport Aberdeen Learn to Swim programme, having started out learning to swim, going on to join a club and swimming competitively and is now a trainee swimming teacher. We had a chat with her to find out why she loves her sport so much.
At what age did you get involved in swimming with Sport Aberdeen?
I started swimming lessons at six months old at Hazlewood Pool. My mum tells me that even as a toddler I was very competitive, wanting my mum or dad to trawl me across the pool before everyone else. Everything was a race!
How has your time on the Sport Aberdeen learn to swim programme helped you progress onto swimming at a competitive level?
Learning to swim with Sport Aberdeen gave me everything I needed to begin my competitive experience. The teachers were always encouraging me to be the best I could be and taught me all of the skills and techniques that I needed to send me on my way.
Describe your greatest moment from competitive swimming to date?
My greatest moment as an individual swimmer came at just 11 years old with the City of Aberdeen Swim Team, when I became Scottish National Age Group Champion in 100m Backstroke. There have been many successes since then and this season I was part of two relay teams that became Scottish Junior National Champions!
What made you decide to take part in the Aquatics Workforce Development Pathway and progress on to do your teaching course?
I really enjoy swimming and I wanted to pass on my love of the sport to younger children. I love being involved in the grass roots of the sport and it is a great way to earn extra pocket money!
Is there anyone in particular who has helped you get to where you are today?
My line manager Aileen has been instrumental in my journey both as an athlete and as an Aquatics Helper. It was Aileen who suggested that I join Bucksburn Swimming Club when I was seven years old and she was part of the coaching team in my first few years of club swimming. She then took me on as a helper in the lesson program when I turned 14. I look forward to doing my teaching qualification with Aileen later this year.
My current coach Gregor has also been a great influence for me over the past five years since I joined his squad at 10 years old. He has always been very encouraging to me and sees my potential, whilst always making me laugh. Gregor is a really positive role model for me.