A former international swimmer turned physiotherapist from Newcastle has been appointed physio to the British Olympic open water marathon swimmers.
Darren Wigg runs Newcastle Physiotherapy Ltd and has been part of the Great Britain swimming medical team working with junior and senior, pool and open water teams since 2008. He was lead physio at both the men’s and women’s Olympic qualifying events.
Darren said: “I’m very proud to have been selected to represent Team GB in London. It’s a huge honour and responsibility to work at the very highest level. It’s the absolute pinnacle for a sports physio.
“British swimming is very strong right now. It’s fantastic to work with world-class athletes and be part of their success.
“For London 2012 the women’s and men’s marathon swimming races are 9 and 10 August. The course is six laps totalling 10,000 metres in the Serpentine in Hyde Park. The support team goes to London on 16 July, and we’ll be working on preparing the swimmers physically for the competition both in and out of the water.”
The marathon swimming support team also includes a performance scientist who takes into account the environment – things such as currents and water temperature – to help devise the best training routine for peak performance.
The Team GB marathon swimmers are Keri-anne Payne and Daniel Fogg.
When Keri-anne Payne won the gold medal at the World Open Water Marathon Swimming Championships in Shanghai, she became the first athlete in Team GB in any sport to qualify her place for London 2012.
Daniel Fogg competes for Team GB following the qualifying race in June in Portugal. He was already selected in March to compete in the 1500 metres pool event.
“The 10km marathon is the swimming equivalent of marathon running, it’s the toughest event in swimming,” said Darren.
“A race lasts around two hours, all the swimmers are in a pack rather than lanes and there’s the natural environment to contend with – whatever’s in the water. It’s tactical and swimmers need to understand the course really well. One small lapse in concentration can cost you the race.
“After a race it takes about a week for a competitive marathon swimmer to fully recover. We utilise various recovery strategies from contrast bathing – where swimmers alternate between an ice bath and a hot bath or shower to help to flush waste products from the muscles – and sports massage to compression garments and rigorous hydration and nutrition plans.”
Mark Perry, Open Water Swimming Coach for British Swimming, who will be Team Leader for the Marathon Swimming team in London said: “It is great to have Darren on board for the Olympic Games.
“It is important to have the best support team possible available for Keri-anne Payne and Dan Fogg when they compete in five weeks time.
“We have worked together for a number of years on various Open Water and Marathon swimming events and I am confident that he will be an asset to the team.”
Darren started swimming training aged five at Heaton dolphins in Newcastle. In 1999 he competed in the 400 metres individual medley race in the World Championship in Hong Kong and gained 10th place, and in the 2000 European Championship he gained 8th place.
He retired from competitive swimming aged 22 and studied physiotherapy at Northumbria University. He gained a first class degree then worked in the NHS and private practice.
Darren established Newcastle Physiotherapy 18 months ago and the clinic has grown steadily. There are now another two highly skilled physiotherapists working alongside Darren, David Fothergill who also works with Newcastle United FC Academy and Seong-Joon Lee who also works with Newcastle Falcons rugby team. In addition the clinic is home to a complementary therapist and a nutritionist.
“In the practice we treat a whole range of conditions including sports injuries. The business is going really well, it’s in a good location in Gosforth at Newcastle Great Park and people like the range of therapies we offer,” said Darren.
“I know from first-hand experience the importance of attention to detail when helping people to recover from injury and rehabilitating them back to world class sport. My vision is that any client receiving any service from Newcastle Physiotherapy will enjoy the same care, expertise and attention to detail usually reserved for world class, professional athletes.
“In the run up to the Olympic events I’ll be going all out to help our open water marathon swimmers do their absolute best when they compete in August.”
Alison Fowler PR July 2012