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I am Shaw Method swimmer: Dr Andrew Gellert
Dr Andrew Gellert learnt to swim as a child in Kenya. He loved being in the water from an early age, but didn’t take up swimming seriously until he hit middle age and decided that he should take more exercise …
Why swimming? About 18 years ago my sister told me that I didn’t do enough exercise, and, because she remembered how I used to enjoy swimming as a child, suggested I go to the pool. So I started going about three times a week and working on my speed and stamina. I would swim crawl and a bit of backstroke, and do a maximum of about 40 lengths.
Why Shaw Method? I’m a member of the Laboratory Spa in Hendon which is one of the pools where Steven Shaw teaches. A fellow physician told me about swimming lessons she had had whilst on holiday in Florida and what a difference it had made to her. I have to admit I thought I could do crawl pretty well and so there was no point in my going for lessons. Then I started to observe Steven teaching. I saw him in the teaching lane at The Lab with all ages of pupils and was impressed with how patient he was. So I thought I’d give it a try after all.
What were your first impressions? Well I looked at the DVD that Steven gave me and realised that Shaw Method front crawl was completely different to what I was doing in the pool. I thought, I won’t be able to do this, but with some regular lessons with Steven I have totally transformed how I swim.
Have their been other effects? I suffer from quite a lot of back problems, but as long as I swim now two or three times a week I don’t get back pain, or if I do, I go into the pool and feel much better. I’ve also upped the number of lengths I do – usually 100 lengths in about 1 hour 20 minutes. I’m so much fitter than I was.
Have you started advising your patients to go swimming? Yes. I think exercise is the most underprescribed medicine. I spend a lot of time with my patients talking about exercise: always asking what they are doing, and how they are doing it, then pointing them to useful websites etc.
What do your fellow swimmers think? I’m continually getting people coming up to me saying, “What’s happened to your swimming?” and “Who has been teaching you?” They say that I’m swimming so much faster, so elegantly, and without splashing any more.
And do you recommend your teacher? All the time, in fact my wife is having lessons with him now and loving it. Steven Shaw is just the best: he’s a great swimmer, but also a born teacher. He has so much patience, he’s so gentle, and aways makes you feel that there nothing else in the entire world that matters to him except for you.