I was asked recently to photograph a sport which I haven’t seen in competition before, swimming. The meet was organised by the Leicestershire Amateur Swimming Association and was one of their Age Groups and County Championships.
When covering a new sport I like to work around the venue, photographing the action from a variety of angles. I began with some diving starts, moved down the side of the pool before settling at the other end for a head on view. It was then that I spotted a rather unique viewing position.
I was afforded a completely different view of the sport thanks to the professional facilities in the Olympic size swimming pool at Loughborough University. At one end of the pool there are three underground portholes. These viewing windows allow coaches to set up video cameras which can record their swimmers strokes and tumble turns. Being able to monitor your technique is vital for the serious swimmer.
Pictures poolside are often a series of bobbing heads and flailing arms. Watching the athletes underwater is a lot more graceful. While I could hear the screams of encouragement from supporters above me, the scene below water was calm and quiet. While the conditions underground were dark, cramped and hot, it was fun to experiment with different lenses and angles to get some interesting images of the swimmers.
The pictures in this series are from the female 400m freestyle heats. This event was eventually won by Zoe Tildesley from the Braunstone Swimming Club:
Thank you very much for taking the time to look at these pictures.
If you have any questions please contact me through Twitter - I’m @mikeysewell