It’s life in the fast lane for butterfly champion David

David Cumming
David Cumming

At 74, David Cumming is not your average swimmer. He returns to the pool a champion following his 400m Butterfly success at the British National Masters and Senior age group Championships.

David, of Rylestone Road, was part of a successful Eastbourne team that won nine medals at the competition in Sheffield. Individually he also collected two silver medals.

He has been a member of Eastbourne Swimming Club for 66 years, and trains as hard as anyone to be at the top of his field.

“I’m swimming five or six times a week and weight training three to four times. I used to be a Water Polo player so I like the endurance sports,” he said.

Participating in both open-water and pool events, the motivation for David to keep going is simply his passion for the sport.

He said, “I love swimming. It keeps you active and you get to meet all kinds of people from all over the world.

“When you’re taking part in all these different places, you look across and see all the same faces which is nice.”

The world of competitive swimming has expanded dramatically since David first took up the sport.

“It’s aged as I’ve aged. When I began, Swimming was just for kids, but now with these age bands you can swim until you drop.”

David currently holds the British Record for the 400 metres Individual Medley in the 70-74 age category, after clocking a time of 6 minutes 38 seconds in Sheffield.

In an illustrious career, he has been crowned World Champion for his age group in both Casablanca, Morocco and Perth,Australia after claiming gold medals at each. He competed in Riccionne, Italy earlier this year.

He also fondly reflects on his participation all over the world, in places such as New York and Christchurch, New Zealand.

While he enjoys taking part worldwide, he has never forgotten his Eastbourne roots and was keen to praise both the swimming club and the town.

He said, “There has always been a very good swimming atmosphere here. We have a few nice pools and obviously it’s perfect being next to the sea.

“When the pools get crowded in the summer I end up swimming in the sea for training. It’s ideal really.”

Away from the swimming, he still regularly attends and enjoys life-drawing classes having worked as an art teacher for many years.

David is now looking ahead to next year, as he plans to take part in the Eindhoven Masters Championships next summer, where he will move up to the 75-79 age category.

“All of a sudden I’m going to be one of the younger people in the category.

“I’m also planning ahead for the next World Championships in Montreal in 2014,” he said.

Anyone interested in Masters Swimming can contact Eastbourne swimming club at