Oldest competitor Barney Miller. Picture by Peter Boam.
SWIMMINGSWIMMING might be a hobby, or a good way of keeping fit, but for Barney Miller it means much more than that.
The 83 year old, who has homes in London and Seaview and is a member of IW Marlins, competed in the club’s IW Open Meet at Medina Leisure Centre last weekend, and won an 800m freestyle gold and two silvers in 200m and 25m freestyle, in his age group.
And he told the County Press: "I swim 600m, five days a week. It keeps me alive. There are only two things that keep me alive — swimming and red wine!"
Barney, who was the oldest competitor at the IW Marlins Open Meet, said he only entered that competition each year to give him something to focus on.
"I’ve been competing at this for as long as it has been going," he said. "Competing makes swimming every day that little bit more worthwhile."
Swimmers of all ages, from 19 years old through to Barney, took part in the event, which was held over two days. It was the first time the event had been held at Medina, because of building work at The Heights, and it meant they were able to use all of the equipment used for last year’s NatWest Island Games.
More than 20 clubs — including ones from Italy and Germany — took part, with competitors swimming in a variety of disciplines and distances, ranked by their age brackets.
Italian swimmer Paolo Nesi always comes to the IW to swim, and this year took part in seven events. He said: "I like the change in the pool and the change in the landscape."
The winning club were Ruislip and Northwood with 128 points, with the top IW club being West Wight, who shared fourth with 94 points. Marlins came eighth, with 37 points.
The top ladies, sharing top spot with 24 points each, were Gina Hobson (Otter) and Jane Asher (Kings Cormorants), while the top male swimmer, also from Kings Cormorants, was Terry Wright. Matthew Barber, 19, of West Wight, came joint fifth overall in with 21 points.
For the Marlins, Lindsey Shenton, 53, came 15th overall in the ladies’ contest, winning gold in the 100m and 200m freestyle and won silver in the 800m freestyle, 100m and 50m backstroke.
Kim Holmes, 25, won two golds in the 25m and 50m free, while Jenny Ball, 73, earned four golds in 50m breaststroke, 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 800m freestyle.
West Wight cleaned up in the relay events after entering a huge team of 12 swimmers. They picked up medals of all colours.