It’s never easy decision to step aside from a passion that offers so much joy,
Swimming is all Kyle Goodfellow has known as a competitor and as a top coach at the city’s Warrender Baths Swimming Club.
The scent of chlorine has become so familiar to the 26-year-old whose relationship with Warrender stretches over a 14-year period after joining from Leith Swimming Club in 1999.
Performances in the pool for both club and country, which included numerous national and Eastern District titles for breaststroke, not to mention representing Scotland at the US Open, enhanced Kyle’s credentials as a club mentor in the making – a position he has just relinquished as he looks to make inroads into an alternative chosen career.
Kyle, who hopes to study a psychology degree at Glasgow University, said: “It’s been a two-year process really. I grabbed the opportunity to coach at a decent level four-and-a-half years ago, but I decided six months ago that I needed a change from the whole regime of it.
“I still love the sport and enjoy coaching, but I just need a break as it’s all I’ve known. I’ve felt a little bit lost and not as sure that it’s what I really want to do.
“I’ll still be interested to hear how the swimmers are getting on and will always watch major championships. Swimming was my sport growing up and that will never change.”
Kyle is, however, leaving with an open mind and appreciates the quality of life the club has afforded him since joining aged 12. He has fought personal battles in the water, including a victory over USA’s 11-times Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte in their younger days, and nurtured some of the club’s most promising athletes, such as Emma Chittleburgh, 14, who recently medalled at the British Championships in the 200 metres breaststroke and has an outside chance of qualifying for next year’s Commonwealth Games despite her age.
“It’s been massive,” he agreed. “There were a number of times when I was younger I could have gone down the wrong route and hung out with the wrong sorts, so swimming kind of pulled me in. As I grew up, despite it being an individual sport, there’s such a bond you develop with your team-mate. I got a lot from the group I was with when I was younger for example. I have a lot of memories from the trips abroad, down to the hard training sessions and just getting through it. You make friends from swimming and they stay with you for life. Everybody shares a common ground and you end up spending more time with those people than your own family.”
Kyle will soon test his endurance levels to the limit in one of the most gruelling challenges known to most – the ironman triathlon in Nice, next June, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle before finishing with a run of 26.2 miles.
He added: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do before I turn 30, but it’s so hard to get back into exercise when you leave a sport that is so intense. this will be such a massive challenge and one I hope I get through!”