Open Water Swimming in 2016

Added on by Philip Collins.



Thought it might be worth mentioning a few open water swims that some OTSers have already booked.  Equally, if you are planning a swim and want some company, write it up on the OTS Open Water Facebook page


7th August - Henley Bridge to Bridge

A really long open water swim in Henley, but a really popular challenge, in a beautiful location.


4th September - London Dock 2 Dock solo and relay

A local open water long swim the new Dock 2 Dock 10k in London on 4th September.  It starts at the Excel, past London City Airport, into King George V dock and back.  You can do it by yourself, or as a relay team. I'm happy to set up relay teams if you want to send me your name.


24/25th September - Swim Serpentine

A new open water swim in Hyde Park (where we regularly train in the summer) with a ballot open now for 1 mile swim on the Saturday.  On Sunday 25 September, the British Open Water Swimming Championships events will be held over a 3.2km course. Wetsuits will not be required. You'll be able to enter that in March.



Training over the Holiday Period

Added on by Philip Collins.

Hi everyone,

These are the last training dates before Christmas and first dates in the new year:


Tuesday 22 December - ULU

Sunday 3 January – Queen Mother (note – No LAC)


Water Polo

Saturday 19 December - ULU

Wednesday 6 January - Porchester



No more sessions in 2015

Sunday 3 January - Queen Mother provided Diving Pit has been repaired.


Enjoy the break,



Winners of the 2015 Out to Swim Annual Awards

Added on by Philip Collins.

Graham Perlman award for Male Swimmer - Neal Thomson
Ivan Bussens award For Most Improved Water Polo player - Mark Livingstone
Jose Gallego award for Synchro - Chris Jepson

Female Swimmer - Lizzie Bellinger

Most Improved Male Swimmer  - Nick Miller

Most Improved Female Swimmer - Helen Davies

Open Water Swimmer - Geraldine Treacher

Teaching award: Best Improver - Laurie Gilchrist 

The Most Valuable Water Polo player - Andy Mackinnon

And thanks once again to Dermot Flynn for creating the individual awards.

Report from Nationals

Added on by Philip Collins.

A small, but perfectly formed, team of 8 OTS swimmers (and dedicated coach Martin) braved the ASA National Masters and Senior Age Group Championships at Sheffield's Ponds Forge pool over the weekend. They joined thousands of other masters swimmers from all parts of the UK, representing our great club and racing hard. They did us proud.

Special mention should go to our new recruit, Neal T. To have an OTS swimmer racing in the fastest heats of the sprint events was a thrill for all of us watching poolside and he secured a wonderful silver in the 50m freestyle (23.50) and bronze in the 100m butterfly (57.73) in the 18-24 years age group. In his final event of the weekend, Neal then swam a lifetime best in the 50m butterfly (25.21) to win gold, only to have his moment of glory cruelly snatched away as he was DQd for having momentarily readjusted his back leg on the block. The fact that Neal took this disappointment with great equanimity marks him out as a special man indeed. Two fourth places also came his way in the 100m freestyle (51.99) and 100m IM (59.37).

Congratulations also to David D-M who won two silver medals in his favoured distance freestyle events (35-39 years). Demonstrating relentless good-pacing he swam a lifetime best in the 800m (9:37.95), as well as a swift 1500m (18:32.09). We felt exhausted just watching.

Stephen L showed an impressive return to form in the 30-34 years age group, swimming a negative split in his 100m freestyle (57.75) and demonstrating his raw speed in his two sprint events, the 50m breastroke (31.96) and 50m freestyle (25.01). We are confident he will once again be swimming below 25 seconds for this latter event soon.

The great swimming continued: Michael W achieved four top 10 performances (65-69 years) despite being recently injured. Jose C-R swam his fastest times for many years (45-49 years). Nick M nearly broke the 30 seconds barrier for the 50m freestyle (25-29 years), despite dislocating his shoulder coming out of the turn (he reassured us it just popped back into place) and Robert E, despite his goggles not always co-operating, swam some of his fastest times.

Our women were represented by the ever-dedicated Lucille T who joined us for the first day of competition, squeezing in four races and twice placing inside the top 10 in the 50-54 years age group. We must also mention Lizzie B (35-39 years), who swimming on this occasion for her home town of Bishops Stortford, won a sensational 5 golds and 1 silver. Pick of the bunch was her British Record breaking 100m butterfly (1:05.23), a record that has stood since 2002.

Thank you to coach Martin who spent endless hours encouraging us and taking our splits. Next up: GLLAM.

Announcing the OTS Christmas Party 2015

Added on by Chris Richards.

Swimmers, polo players, synchronised swimmers and all those in between, this is your official invitation to this year's OTS Christmas Party! Saturday December 5th 2015 plays host to a fabulous evening of food, drinks and awards at Patch Bar, 58-60 Carter Ln, London EC4V 5EA.

Festivities kick off at 6:00pm and we have the whole venue exclusively and fully equipped with our choice of music, until the early hours of the morning.
But wait, there's more! Not only does your ticket get you entry to the best festive swimming club party this side of 2016, you'll also be fed and watered with a delicious hot buffet and not one but TWO alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages from the bar! And let's not forget the hotly anticipated, star-studded, 2015 OTS awards ceremony! Will you win? Who knows? And you won't know unless you secure your place now!

A limited number of early bird tickets are now available at the discounted price of £20 (standard £23.00) each, once they're gone!

Success at Eurogames

Added on by Philip Collins.

Out To Swim had a very successful time at the Eurogames LBGT sport and culture event held in Stockholm in August. 126 of the club’s members competed in Synchro, Water Polo and Swimming disciplines with some excellent personal and team performances. All events took place in the Eriksdalsbadet – the Swedish national Aquatics venue over five days based on FINA regulations. The close proximity of the competition pools and scheduling enabled a strong and vocal level of cross-discipline support.

The swimming was first and the event ran like clockwork. Out To Swim was one of the larger teams with 64 swimmers, 20% of whom were women, and with individuals in all age groups up to I (65-69). Despite the high standards of competition boosted by teams from the United States and Australia, by the close of the third day OTS had amassed 19 golds, 19 silvers and 13 bronze in the individual events and three gold, four silver and one bronze in the relays. There were stand out performances from Lizzie Bellinger with five golds and three International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) records and Neal Thompson with four golds, a silver and two IGLA records and all swimmers went away with a sense of achievement - many with lifetime personal bests.

Out To Swim’s Orca had 56 members in four teams in the two water polo leagues and made it their best performance in an international competition to date. The A team stunned the favourites, Team New York Aquatics, by beating them in the semi’s, only to fall in a close fought final with Atlanta Rainbow Trout. The other teams did well, also beating expectations and the recently reformed women’s team made a big impression. Orca’s Captain Darren Whittingslow commented “three or four of them could barely swim when they joined, but they have pushed and pushed and broken down barriers. To go from not being able to swim to lasting six games in a tournament is beyond what anyone could have asked for.” One of the opposing teams noted “Your women are bloody fierce".

The Angels – Out To Swim’s Synchro team – also dominated their event both in numbers and sheer quality of performance, winning silver in the technical and free team, silver in the combination team, silver in the duets, and all three medals in the solos. The combination team did particularly well as not only did they include beginners but they also were without two members who had had flights cancelled. It is difficult and perhaps unfair to pick out individual performances, however Derde Exposito Gutierrez was stunning in all three of his events and Zaki Zahran’s and Julie Llorca’s performance of Swan Lake in the duets was electric just missing out on bronze.

Out to Swim Head Coach Michelle Weltman said “I can only say how proud and privileged I feel to be part of such a club!”

Eurogames - Swimming Times

Added on by Philip Collins.

Large English contingent heads to EuroGames

2 August 2015

Next week Europe’s largest international LGB&T sport competition takes place in Stockholm, Sweden.

Taking place from 5 – 9 August, this will be the fifth EuroGames. Over 5,000 participants are expected to attend from all over the world and compete in 30 sports.

A large English contingent will be competing in the aquatics events, which includes swimming, water polo, diving and synchronised swimming.

Manchester Sharks Water Polo Club is sending a mixed team of 12 to compete in the water polo tournament, including GB women’s water polo player Vicky Bowen.

Northern Wave Swimming Club has 11 athletes competing over the swimming, water polo and synchro competitions. This will be the first EuroGames for many of the athletes, and for some, their first ever swimming competition. It will also be the first time Northern Wave have fielded an all-male synchro team of four, the Hulme Manatees, which they have put together since the beginning of this year.

Out To Swim have by far the largest contingent competing at the EuroGames with 133 members travelling to Stockholm including a mixed synchro team of six.

Club Chairman Philip Collins commented: “The UK's largest LBGT aquatics club with over 350 members, is excited to be taking such a large team to the EuroGames.

“We are all looking forward to competing and expect the quality of the competition to be high, especially in water polo with several strong teams attending from North America. With a good number of our swimmers competing for the first time we're aiming for improved PBs across the board.”

The University of York Swimming team is sending four swimmers to the event in a bid to increase awareness and inclusion of LGB&T members in sport at the University.   

Christopher Unsworth, Team leader at the University of York, which is the first University to actively show their support for LGBTQ inclusion in such a way, said: "In the Swimming and Waterpolo club at the University of York most of us have been involved in aquatic sports for large parts of our lives and we couldn't imagine not being involved.

“The EuroGames provides the ultimate platform to encourage diversity and involvement by breaking down barriers and stigma between different communities and this is why we'd like to take part. Being the first students to represent a university at such an event is something that our team is really proud of and adds to the amazing personal experience we'll get from competing.”

The ASA’s Equality and Diversity Programme Manager, Jamie Hooper, will be attending the EuroGames to experience an LGB&T event on this scale and learn from the LGB&T aquatics networks in other countries. He will also be supporting the English aquatics contingent.

He commented: “I am immensely excited to be travelling out to Stockholm for this event. It is a real showcase of what the LGB&T community can achieve, and offers the athletes the chance to compete on an international level, which they may not feel comfortable doing in other environments. I cannot wait to see the event in action and learn as much as possible to bring back to the ASA”.

Image courtesy of EuroGames

Sessions update for August

Added on by Peter Deslandes.

Hey everyone

The Orchard Lisle closure is no longer happening, so up-coming cancellations now look like this:

  • No polo at ULU on Saturday 8 August; swimming is on as usual
  • London Aquatics Centre will be closed on Sunday 9 August
  • Brighton Roedean School Pool closed during August, so no Saturday swimming for OTS South in August

As ever, please look out availability and last-minute cancellations in the usual places.

Thanks! PeterD

Out For Sport - Update

Added on by Philip Collins.

Saturday 11 July
12:30 - Committee meeting open to all at the Windmill pub on Clapham Common.

14:00 - Third annual Sports day on Clapham Common. Full details can be found on facebook or on the OFS website.

19:00 - Party at the Two Brewers £5 entry to support OFS work including membership of Federation of Gay Games

Stockholm Eurogames
Out For Sport London is organising a party for all those from the UK in a bar out on the famous Patricia boat along the river.

Coming soon...

A Sport in the City planning meeting will be arranged soon.  If you would like to attend, please plug your availability into the doodle poll here:

Up-coming LAC cancellations in July

Added on by Peter Deslandes.

Hey everyone

Unfortunately there will be no 9-10am Sunday session at the London Aquatics Centre on the following dates:

  • Sunday 12th July
  • Sunday 26th July

For those of you swimming at the Eurogames in Stockholm this means there are only two long course training opportunities at LAC left to go. It's really important for the competition so be sure to head along.

As an aside there was a big turnout this morning with 16 swimmers in the pool, which really brought the session to life. It would be great for this to be the norm. Please come along and try it out - it's well worth the effort, especially with the breakfast afterwards!

As ever, please always check before you swim in case of last-minute cancellations.

Cheers, PeterD

Brighton Pride

Added on by Philip Collins.

OTS @ Brighton Pride - save the date - Saturday 1st August


OTS will be supporting OTS South at Brighton Pride this year on Saturday 1st August.

We're still in the early throws of organisation so more information to follow soon....however...if you can join us in the parade please email (07885 298 199) or join the Facebook event. The theme will be the same as London's "beach party". 


Added on by Philip Collins.

This years GLLAM (Gay & Lesbian London Aquatics Meet) will take place on the 31st October from 3PM - 7PM at the Queen Mother Sports Centre.  GLLAM is Out To Swim's annual club championships and there will be races to suit all levels.  Excitingly, GLLAM will be one of a number of sports competitions taking place on the 31st October as part of the wider London LGBT sports festival, Sport in the City which will see over 500 athletes take part in sports including as football, swimming, squash, water polo, badminton, running, cycling and boxing.


More details on the competition schedule and entry information will follow, but in the meant time, save the date!


If you don't want to compete but would like to help with the organisation of GLLAM, or even support the wider Sport in the City planning and delivery then please contact Alex Davis Friends, partners and family members are also welcome to volunteer at GLLAM.


Success at Middlesex Masters

Added on by Philip Collins.

Out To Swim’s Men’s team stormed to second place in the Men’s Team event at the Middlesex County Master’s Swimming Championships at Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre on Sunday, 7 June. 

The OTS team consisted of just eight swimmers:  Philip Collins, David Daporta Méndez, David Forrest, Ben Gifford, Rob John, José Luis Rodríguez, Michael Webster and Rob Wintemute who between them amassed 150 points from 32 individual swims and two relays earning nine golds, nine silvers and five bronze. Top Men’s team were Otter with 471 points and who were the overall winners.

Thanks go to Ian Woollard and his team of officials and volunteers at Barnet for making the smooth running event so enjoyable.

OTS have won this event before and with a women’s team and a few more men we could win it again. So here’s looking forward to 2016!

Philip Collins & Rob Wintemute

Polo in Paris (TIP)

Added on by Philip Collins.

20 water polo players from London Orca (Out To Swim) attended this year's TIP. We couldn't quite eclipse last year's effort of 44 London Orca attendees. The 2015 was arranged as a "mixed" tournament - mixed meaning players from all cities were mixed together on the morning of the tournament, allowing you to be teammates with totally different people for a change.
To start the weekend on Friday night our Social Sextretary Richard Huw Evans organise a team dinner at "Le Gai Moullin" in The Marais. The wine we guessed, whilst unlimited, was watered down, but then some people need this.
The theme for the tournament was "Game of TIP" (Game of Thrones). There were 7 teams, each named after characters. My team was "House of Stark". I don't recall any others because I don't REALLY care - also I have never watched the show, much to the horror of a lot of people. Not ever watching Game of Thrones was like I was dead to a lot of people.
The games were friendly, however the competitive spirit always rises to the occasion as the day draws to a close. Altogether each team would have played 104 minutes of water polo, which is not totally insignificant. As it turns out, my team won, finishing the day with a stonking victory 4-0 in the final! Other London peeps on my team were Orca Captain Darren Whittingslow, Luke Millican, Gareth Johnson and Stefan Romocki. Anyway, we moved on to drinks later that night - as we know it isn't always the sport that draws people to water polo....
The TIP organising committee were keen to organise a successful closing party after last year's abysmal effort (too hot, too small, too hard to get a drink, self-centred shows that went for too long). This year's party, in my opinion, was a great success. Good music, venue and fun shows.
Our focus turns towards our upcoming tournament in Stockholm, as I'm sure attention is focussed for a lot of OTSers. Looking forward to sharing that experience with a BIG OTS team!

Stockholm and the Scholarship and Graham Perlman Funds

Added on by Philip Collins.

Hello everyone,

I thought I'd remind you of the Scholarship Fund and the Graham Perlman Fund.

Amongst other things the Scholarship fund was set up to help members attend competitions such as the Eurogames/IGLA Championships in Stockholm 5-9 August.

The Graham Perlman fund was set up with a generous bequest from Graham and is intended to support people living with HIV take part in the Club's activities. Graham was a superb breaststroke swimmer and an enthusiastic competitor. He was great at encouraging and supporting members at meets and I have fond memories of him at the Amsterdam Gay Games giving hell to the bureaucrats. He would have been delighted at the numbers of us going to Stockholm.

So if you haven't already entered you have until 31 May and if you need financial support check out the website

See you in the water soon!