Sonia O’Sullivan swaps her running shoes for goggles

Sydney Olympic 5000m silver medallist and double World Cross Country Champion Sonia O’Sullivan is Ireland’s greatest ever runner. Having now hung up her spikes after a spectacular running career, O’Sullivan’s latest challenge involves swapping her running shoes for goggles proving that swimming is a sport that can be enjoyed by all.

O’Sullivan took part in the inaugural British Gas Great East Swim which took place at Alton Water in Suffolk on 26 September 2009. The one mile open water swim, which is open to swimmers of all abilities, looks set to become one of Britain’s largest mass participation swims.

Sonia O’Sullivan
Sonia O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan, a novice swimmer, used the British Gas Swimfit programme to help structure her training in preparation for the event. Speaking at the launch of the British Gas Great East Swim in May O’Sullivan said: “I came across the Swimfit scheme only recently. I went to my local pool for a swim and saw that they had a stand with programmes that you could do”.

“I decided I would start off with a relatively easy programme as I am a bit of an amateur swimmer. I thought it was fantastic as it was something that really encouraged me to come back to the pool again the next day and the day after and I can really see that I’m improving now.”

O’Sullivan has found that Swimfit is adaptable to suit the level of training she wants to do on different days; “I can go back down to an easier level on my recovery days and it’s great just to have that variety. Instead of going to the pool and counting laps and worrying about how far I am going I just go in and do what the programme tells me to. I can concentrate on each section and then at the end I can see how far I have gone without thinking about it as I go along.”

O’Sullivan completed the one mile course in a time of 31m 19s