Farina Cahm was terrified of swimming and a sheer determination to get her daughter in the pool and learning to swim started her triathlon journey with a big splash at the age of 40. Farina went from not being able to swim to completing her first GO TRI beginner triathlon in two years.
Here Farina shares her triathlon jouney, as part of our women’s sport week celebrations. We hope her story, along with other women we’ll be featuring this week, inspires more women and girls to get involved in sport and give TRI a go!
“I was never particularly strong at sports throughout my childhood or even adult life, so now being able to say I’ve done a triathlon is just so exciting and makes me feel very proud! Even more so, as when I started my GO TRI journey I never really had triathlon in mind.
“It all started with me deciding to start adult swimming lessons when I turned 40. This was down to me desperately wanting my daughter, who was three at the time, to feel comfortable in water and enjoy swimming. I did not really have a chance to do that when I was growing up. My parents were never really in to sport and I guess I wasn’t really encouraged to swim as a child. I wanted things to be different with my own daughter, I kept taking her to local toddler swim sessions, so she would be comfortable in water. The reality was that I was frightened of getting my face wet or going under water, even though I kept encouraging her to have a go.
“In October 2014, I decided I should lead by example and signed myself up to beginner adult swimming lessons at my local pool in Warrington. I spent six months in the small pool learning how to breathe, get water confident and learning the basics of front crawl. Six months later I moved up into the bigger pool, I was terrified but I kept on going.
“Around this time my local leisure centre was starting to organise a series of events through GO TRI including duathlons, aquathlons and a triathlon to end the series. The advert caught my eye, as the events seemed exciting and supportive of those wanting to try something new. I nervously decided to give the duathlon a go, as my swimming was still in need of work. I entered the first duathlon of this series in March 2015 and finished last, in spectacular style. I found it a real challenge. However, the event was so well organised and full of positive energy that it spurred me on to join a local running club to improve my running, and then during 2015 I completed a further two duathlons events, and my performance notably improved.
“All the while, I was working on my swimming and decided to take the plunge and enter a GO TRI triathlon in October 2016, after encouragement and gentle persuasion from Louise Shannon at Livewire and my swimming teacher. I managed to complete 10 lengths of front crawl. I was elated, having only learned to swim two years earlier, but to go on and complete the full triathlon was just incredible!
“My whole journey has been amazing! The GO TRI series and events really lifted my spirits and gave me a focus. Earlier that year, I lost my mum after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and the GO TRI events and swimming kept me going in a positive way during a period of loss and bereavement.
“As a previous non-swimmer, who has now completed a triathlon and can swim competently and confidently, I’m hoping I can continue this positive journey, take on more challenges and complete more events. I’d love to improve my cycling now too and achieve more goals.
“A massive thanks to all involved in the GO TRI series for letting people like me complete an actual triathlon and showing that this sport is accessible to all.”
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