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Swim like an Olympic gold medalist

Swim like an Olympic gold medalist

Betssonites are people who are willing to challenge themselves and learn new things to up their game. No wonder then, that a number of our employees jumped at the opportunity to learn how to swim, or to improve their swimming technique when we offered swimming lessons.

“I’m a terrible swimmer,” Jennifer in our Malta office confesses. “I do a lot of Crossfit competitions and some involve swimming. I joined this initiative because I needed to get out of my comfort zone and simply learn how to swim properly.”

“I basically started as a none swimmer,” she says, “but now that I’ve learned how to breathe properly I’m much more relaxed. I don’t panic and just enjoy being in the water. Last weekend me and my friends went out on a boat and I dived straight into the sea without a care in the world. Before the lessons, I would literally have stayed on the boat and not gone into the water.”

Jonas and Henrik in our Stockholm office joined to further enhance their performance in the pool.

“I wanted to improve my crawl,” Jonas says. “The instructor showed me how to use my whole leg - from hip to foot - and use the lower part from the knee and down as a fin. It was really hard at first!”

“I learned how to flip-turn without wasting too much energy, or splashing out half the pool for that matter...”, Henrik laughs.

Jonas, Henrik with other Betssonites ready for swimming lessons

This initiative was inspired by one of our marketing campaigns where Swedish Olympic gold medalist Sarah Sjöström was challenged to earn swimming ability badges, something she never did as a child. There are 17 badges and she had to complete this in 17 minutes. Quite a challenge!

These swim badges form the basis for the Swedish swimming federation’s pedagogics for swimming skills. They range from Baddaren (approx. the Ace) via the Octopus and the Penguin all the way to the Shark and beyond. Tasks involve swimming, diving, floating, jumping and gliding in the water in every way imaginable as well as swimming with clothes on and life-saving.

Henrik and Jonas both have a number of swimming badges, although Henrik says he was actually afraid of water when he was a kid. He’s clearly gotten over that, though.

Naturally a very experienced swimmer, until now surprisingly enough Sarah had none of the badges. Zip. Zero. Niente. We couldn’t have that. After all, she’s a world record holder with more than 50 medals from major championships and hours and hours of practice in the deep blue behind her. So we threw down the gauntlet, or rather the fin, and she bravely picked it up.

Watch Sarah take on the challenge

Spoiler alert: She succeeded. Not without effort, though. The swimming badges are certainly no walk in the park. Anyway, since Sarah rose to the occasion, Betsson donated 100 000 Swedish kronor to educate more swimming instructors. We did it because we firmly believe in the importance to know how to swim – for our employees as well as for everybody else.

For the Betssonites this opportunity was also a chance to push boundaries and develop new skills or improve their current capacity.

“This initiative couldn't have come at a better time,” Jennifer says. “I have a competition next week that involves swimming and this has really given me confidence.”

“The hardest part was finding the courage to go and not worry if people thought it was weird I couldn't swim. I think it’s perfect for new beginners. Now there is no stopping me,” Jennifer says.

“It was loads of fun and I really enjoyed hanging out with my fellow colleagues. I hope there will be more initiatives such as this one!” Jonas says.

“It was a great initiative. I’m doing my first Ironman in August this year. Ironman is a triathlon where you swim 3.8 km, bike 180 km and finish with a marathon. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll survive,” Henrik says and invites anyone who’s willing and able to join him. Maybe next year, if you start training now…

There is always something new to learn, always new heights to be reached. Personally as well as professionally. Are you willing to up your game? Come join us.