Sandy Briggs is very committed to his sport, to say the least.
He works full time as a flight attendant for Air Canada and travels all around the world, but he still finds time to train and compete at a high level—he competed at Worlds last month in Budapest. How does he do it? He leaves a bag full of gear at his most frequent layovers, mostly in Brisbane, Australia, and has a pass for the pool there. He loves the warm weather and swims in an outside pool there all year long.
Sandy started swimming when he was 6 years old when his parents signed him up for swimming classes, and he also tried soccer and badminton at the time, as well as hockey and competitive rowing when he was in college.
The competitive swimming came later, when he was an adult, after a work colleague invited him to train with his team. Sandy joined the team and started racing, and he loved being able to see how much his hard work during training was paying off. Swimming definitely his favourite sport, he absolutely loves everything about it and looks forward to his training.
Going to Worlds in Budapest in August was an incredible experience. The location was great, the facilities unbelievable, and Sandy really felt like a true athlete once he was there. He also enjoyed being able to meet a lot of people and to visit the city. Sadly, due to the numerous pools and the distance between each, he didn’t get to see everyone and everything he wanted to see. Also, it was a little disappointing not to swim in the main pool for any of his events, and the conditions during the open water race made it a very difficult race. However, Sandy took it as a mental challenge instead of a physical one, he’s very proud to have done it, and looks forward to trying it again with better conditions.
A few years ago, in 2014, Sandy also competed at Worlds in Montreal. Comparing the two experiences, Sandy thinks that the advantage of competing on home soil is real. It really made a difference for him to be able to swim in front of his friends and family, and that this experience is something he’ll never forget.
Last week was the first time he swam with his home team since he got back from Budapest. It felt great to be back in the pool with his teammates. This year is the English Bay Swim Club’s (EBSC) 35th anniversary, and there are a lot of big meets and activities to celebrate it. Everyone involved with the team looks forward to this exciting year!
After his whole life spent in the pool, Sandy thinks that swimming is more than just a wonderful sport, it’s a lifestyle, and that everybody should learn to swim. The only regret he has is not having started competition earlier in his life. Swimming helps people stay healthy, the relationship you have with your teammates is like no other, and there is no age limit. He considers himself lucky to be involved in this sport and hopes to still be swimming when he is very old.
Sandy in Budapest
Sandy with his dry land teammates wishing him good luck before leaving for Budapest