Swimmer Profile – Ashleigh Eskdale
Ashleigh Eskdale of the Gympie Gold Fins Masters recently competed at the MSQ State Championships in Mackay. Ashleigh was awarded the trophy for Best Swimmer 18-29 years. Congratulations Ashleigh! Thank you for sharing your inspiring swimming story.
How did you first become involved with swimming?
I have always loved swimming. My mum put me in the backyard pool at just 4 weeks old because of the hot summer heat. I became involved in learn-to-swim classes at a young age and seamlessly transferred to squads. Eventually, at the age of 6, I joined in doing swim meets with my older siblings.
What do you love about swimming?
I love swimming for the fitness and the invigorating feeling I get from it. More so, I love swimming for the friendships I make along the way, which are filled with support and laughs. Belonging to the swimming community and having people I can connect to has always been special to me.
When did you first join Masters Swimming?
I joined Masters Swimming in November last year for the 2022 Pan Pacific Championships. My older brother, Declan, encouraged me to get involved and I swam beside him with the Gympie Gold Fins. It was a great experience for my first Masters swim meet.
Most memorable swimming moment?
Reflecting on my swimming, I’m very happy with all that I’ve achieved. I think a most memorable moment would be my swim in the 13 years 1.25km at the Queensland Open Water Championships. I was neck and neck with another swimmer the whole race and I’m very proud I was able to take home my first-ever individual gold State medal. Another special moment for me was when I qualified for the Australian Age Championships at 15-years-old after I had come back from many months of working through a shoulder injury.
My favourite events are 100m fly, 200m fly, 200m IM, and 400m IM. I really enjoy doing medley and mixing the strokes up, and I love having a diverse program of events at meets.
How often do you swim, and where?
I swim 4 times a week at The Swim Academy Bayside at Ormiston, Brisbane.
What motivates and inspires you?
My main motivation comes from swimming well and feeling good. Being a part of a team and having inspiring teammates certainly lifts me up and allows me to train with intent and reach my goals. Being new to Masters swimming, I have found new inspiration from all the new faces I have come across at competitions and I aspire to do what they’re doing.
Have you had setbacks to overcome?
I would say the main setbacks were my shoulder injury, Covid-cancellations and pool closures. These definitely hindered my motivation and I debated whether to keep swimming. I’m really glad I overcame them and kept going.
Favourite things? Likes and dislikes?
Likes – GYG, Beach, Mario Kart
Dislikes – Assignments
What upcoming events are you swimming in?
I am swimming in the Australian Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast this month. Also, I will be swimming at the UniSport Nationals in Sydney this May.
Can you share a little about your family?
I am the 5th oldest of six children. All my siblings have swum and competed at some point.
I’m a second-year pre-service teacher studying Primary Education at the University of Queensland. I also currently work as a Learn to Swim instructor at the swim school where I learnt to swim. I love it and it’s a great opportunity to work with children.
Other interesting/little-known facts about you?
I played the flute and the cello in school. Also, I live with 1 cat, 2 dogs and 2 guinea pigs.
Philosophy on life? Favourite saying?
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. This quote is printed on a large banner right next to the pool where I train.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a Masters swimmer?
Definitely do it! The Masters swimming atmosphere is uplifting and encouraging. Giving it a shot is worth it, and everyone behind you is there to cheer you on. Progressing from the age-group competition, I have felt a huge difference in my feelings of enjoyment of the sport.