Introducing Jack Bridge
My name is Jack Bridge. I’m 24 years old, and have been swimming since I was 4. I represent TeamGB, and at London 2012 came fourth in the 100m breaststroke, and in 2014 came fourth in the European Championships.
This year I have decided to take part in the Diabetes UK Swim 22 challenge, where people around the country will be swimming the length of the English Channel in 12 weeks. Swimming is a brilliant sport, and I’m in full support of anything that helps to get more people in the water – especially if it raises money for a good cause in the process.
I’m a para athlete. This is due to me having a blood condition called haemophilia, a genetic disorder that means my blood doesn’t clot properly. As well as not being able to heal properly after cuts and bruises, it puts me at risk of bleeding in the joints or on the brain. I was first diagnosed when I was nine months old, and have had it ever since. But I don’t let having haemophilia stop me from swimming.
In fact, I think that keeping fit and active has actually helped me to manage the condition. I’ve kept my body healthy and in good condition, so that I can compete at the top level. Swimming has helped me keep fit and improved my wellbeing, which means that my condition has less of an impact on my day to day life. It keeps me happy and healthy, all round.
Sport is everything to me. I train for many hours and swim around 20 miles per week. It takes up most of my time, and I have to make sacrifices, but I’m happy with that. I’m currently at Northumbria University studying Business Management, so I’m very busy, but always make time to get in the pool.
I love competing with TeamGB. My focus is on breaststroke, but I also compete in the medley – that’s breaststroke, front crawl, backstroke and butterfly.
I’m really proud to represent my country. It’s great to know that I’m at the top of my performance and giving the very best I can. What motivates me is the desire for constant improvement – and the noise of the crowd. There’s nothing like hearing the cheers of people in the stadium to get you going.
Swimming is a great sport and brilliant exercise. That’s why I think the Diabetes UK Swim 22 is such a good initiative. It’s a stretch, but not insurmountable. It’s an opportunity to set a goal and work away at achieving it, at the same time as keeping active, trying a new hobby, and most importantly, raising money for a great charity who do really important work.