Do you know of Neil Pearson? He’s a British actor who appeared as Bridget Jones’s TV boss in the two Bridget Jones films and also starred in classic TV shows ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ and ‘Between the Lines’ and is currently appearing in BBC1’s ‘All the Small Things’. Anyway, he goes to my local gym in South London and as a man who has just turned 50 is not in bad shape, but a very splashy swimmer!
I’m not really one who is “into” celebrities but for some reason I have always been good at spotting minor celebrities when out and about. I was in the pool swimming when I noticed him get in and being a fan, but also British and a bloke, I completely ignored him. I am quite a rubbish swimmer and one of those who really doesn’t like to get water up my nose but as I am also a little competitive I wanted to see if I was quick as the old-man-minor-celebrity. I wasn’t.
Neil employs a curious and somewhat annoying style of front crawl which is both hypnotic and ridiculous in equal measure. The first 5 strokes are quite normal and show excellent technique and good forward progress (unlike mine) but it is the 6th stroke where the ‘magic’ happens. It is on this stroke that Neil takes a breath and holds his arm high in the air. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but Neil clearly requires a lot of air as it is held majestically in the air for a very long time. When finally he has enough air to continue he brings the arm down with an almighty splash that even yours truly is splashed and I am swimming at least two lanes away! So much so, water got up my nose and I had to stand up to choke less efficiently.
I moved to the Jacuzzi and watched with amusement and fascination as Neil used his splash and crawl technique to clear his side of the pool. Every 6th stroke without fail that arm would be up in the air for what seemed like an eternity and then it would inevitably come… splash!
Neil, I love your work and you’re pretty trim for 50 as well as being a quicker swimmer than me … not that it’s hard to be though … but sort out your splashy swimming mate!