Swimmer Profile – Justin Giles
Congratulations to Justin Giles of QBB Rum City Masters on recently being named ‘Male Swimmer of the Meet’ at the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games, held in Cairns 20-22 May 2021. Justin is new to Masters Swimming, having joined in January this year. He is enjoying racing in the pool once again, and has competed in both Swimming Queensland and Masters Swimming Queensland events. Thank you for sharing your swimming story with us Justin!
How did you first become involved with swimming?
I first started to learn to swim when I was 9 years old. After I fell into my Uncle’s pool and nearly drowned, Dad decided to get me into swimming lessons the next week at Goomeri Swimming Pool in Rural Queensland. At age 15 I won my first Qld medal at State Age Titles & competed at my first National Titles. I continued to compete and swim until I was 18 when I retired from swimming after my last National Titles in Sydney.
What was your highest level achieved at swimming?
I competed at multiple Swimming Australia National Age Champs, Swimming Australia National Open Champs and even Australian School Swimming Titles. I also had the privilege being selected for many development & representative squads including Swimming Australia Rising Stars & AS swim study programs just to name a few. I have only just started masters swimming so I don’t have much of a track record yet.
Most memorable swimming moment?
I have had a lot of memorable moments with swimming when I was young, like winning my first medal at Qld age & open titles & winning my first medal at Australian school titles. I also had the opportunity to travel all over Australia and to some places overseas with swimming. Traveling to Fiji for a week as part of a development & performance squad was a very fun time as the following week I got to swim 11 events at National School Titles. Following that was the Australian Swimming Championships, giving me three weeks off school in a row that month! Swimming was great fun for a 17 year old kid, and I have wonderful memories to this day.
When did you first join masters swimming?
I started swimming again in October 2020 after 14 years out of the pool, after advice from my doctors and after my son started swimming competitively. I later joined masters in January 2021, and I have been absolutely loving it.
Have you had setbacks to overcome?
I have had shoulder reconstructions and other injuries when I was younger, but in late Dec 2017 I had a major car accident and was emergency airlifted to the PA in Brisbane with serious injuries. After extensive surgery, years of rehab and advice from my doctors, I returned to the pool in October 2020.
I swim everything, but 400 IM is probably my favourite event.
How often do you swim, and where?
I try to swim twice a week, but it all depends on where I am working. My local pool is shut 6 months of the year so when I do get time, I have to travel over an hour each way to and from the Gympie Aquatic Centre.
What do you love about swimming?
I love competing and racing but the thing I love most about swimming is being able to race against your own personal best times and trying to improve on those best times.
What motivates and inspires you?
What motivates me is I believe I have been given a second chance at life and want to stay fit and healthy for my family, and I want to be the best role model for my family, kids and the greater swimming community that I can be.
What inspires me is the ladies and gentlemen much older than me who are still swimming. I hope I can still swim well as I get older.
Coffee, Volunteering, NRL and most other sports.
Fast foods and fishing… I get seasick.
What upcoming events are you swimming in?
Rum City Masters Short and Sweet Meet and the Brisbane Southside Meet.
Can you share a little about your family?
My wife Natalie is my greatest supporter and I have 2 kids, Ethan (9) and Ester (4). Ethan has just started competitive swimming.
By “trade” I am a licensed plumber, drainer, gasfitter and restricted electrician. I help run our Industrial Plumbing, Gas, Electrical Company James Giles Plumbing P/L with my Dad, 2 brothers James & Michael and our partners. I also run Australian Gas & Combustion Consultants where I am an industrial gas specialist, specialising in risk assessment and approving large gas devices, and designing, certifying, installing and commissioning large industrial gas systems and appliances across Queensland.
Other interesting facts about you?
I was part of the James Giles Plumbing P/L winning team that has won the MPAQ Queensland Plumbing and Gas Industry award – Best Industrial Type B Gas install of the year 5 years in a row. I am also a qualified swimming coach, rugby league coach & sports trainer, and rugby league referee.
Philosophy on life?
Being successful in life is no accident. It is constant hard work, perseverance, learning, giving and sacrifice. But most of all, loving what you are doing along the journey is key.
“Be an Encourager: When you encourage others, you boost their self-esteem, enhance their self-confidence, make them work harder, lift their spirits and make them successful in their endeavours. Encouragement goes straight to the heart and is always available.”
What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a masters swimmer?
I highly recommend you give masters a go. You will not regret it. Masters swimming is so much fun. You will make so many new friends, increase you fitness, improve your health and have a blast.