Adding to the tally table of ‘Commit to be Fit’ employee successes this month, EPC-UK Logistics Manager, Chris Barlow has, following an impressive three-year programme of adult training, won a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle at the British Masters Swimming Championships in Aberdeen – an event described as ‘the highest level of domestic masters’ swimming in Great Britain’.

This incredible achievement was further enhanced by Chris accomplishing three new personal bests at the same event: 

  • 50m freestyle in 28.78 – 11th place 
  • 50m butterfly in 32.94 – 10th place
  • 100m freestyle in 1:04.00 – 9th place 

Onsite originally reported on his swimming success earlier in the year, as Chris shared his inspirational story of revisiting the swimming club activities he’d enjoyed in his younger years. Spurred on by EPC-UK’s ‘Commit to be Fit’ initiative, a programme designed to support employees in improving wellbeing to benefit life in and out of the workplace, Chris’s progression and consequential achievements have been significant – for both body and mind. 

Support, encouragement, teamwork

Based around the three key elements of commitment, achievement and excellence, and designed to bring effective physical and mental wellbeing practices into peoples’ everyday lives, Chris started his own programme of progression with a company issued fitness activity tracker and access to an online wellness portal. Having enjoyed swimming as a youth, he felt joining a swimming club would offer the right environment and camaraderie for him to really get back into shape and build the stamina to take the exercise he enjoyed in the past more seriously.

Training time

Chris navigated the challenges of the Covid lockdown by participating in organised land training sessions via Zoom and running to maintain his fitness levels, however returned to the pool as soon as it was possible. Ever since, his stroke, endurance and technique went from strength-to-strength, leading him to register with Swim England as a competition swimmer. He entered and qualified for The National Masters at the beginning of the year, “after not competing in a gala for 30 years…I started with the most difficult competition of all!” he says. 

Competition conquest

The competition gave him a taste for more, and six months on his latest achievements at the British Masters Swimming Championships have been a credit to his commitment, and that of his team.

“I was delighted with my personal results,” Chris says, “and also with those of my teammates, one of whom won the gold medal in the women’s 50m butterfly and silver in the 100m butterfly, together with 4th place in the 50m freestyle. Another club member finished 4th in the women’s 50m butterfly, 5th in the women’s 50m freestyle and breaststroke, and 6th in the 50m backstroke, demonstrating that with support and encouragement, the whole team can achieve more.”

“I’m delighted for Chris and his swimming team,” Managing Director, Ben Williams says, “and it’s rewarding to learn that our Commit to be Fit programme has played a part in his success.  The outstanding progress Chris has made has been off the chart. To start swimming again after years out of the pool then train to reach a competitive standard demonstrates drive, tenacity, and a level of passion that’s integral to our SPIRIT values. I’m extremely proud of Chris. His hard work has paid off with the honour of a medal, and the reward of improved personal wellbeing. There couldn’t be a more valuable result.”  

For more information about the Commit to be Fit programme contact: Julie.Wootton@epc-groupe.co.uk