Guernsey Press

PODCAST: History-maker Yeates ‘a huge asset’ to Island Games team

The swim team for the Guernsey 2023 NatWest International Island Games already seems to have made a little piece of history.

At just short of 40, Ross Yeates is the oldest swimmer on record to earn Island Games selection for Guernsey. (Picture by Peter Frankland)

Barracudas veteran Ross Yeates is a notable presence in the 21-strong squad that was announced earlier this week and, with his 40th birthday imminent, he is the oldest swimmer on record to qualify for team Guernsey at an Island Games.

While speaking in depth about the freshly-announced squad on the latest Guernsey Press Podcast, team manager and Barracudas coach Sara Parfit called the veteran’s involvement ‘incredible’.

‘Ross came back to swimming about 18 months ago and said that “I’d really like to make the Island Games team”, and he’s put his heart and soul into it,’ she said.

  • Listen to a full interview with coach Sara Parfit on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘He’s been amazing for the team. He’s been so supportive of the younger swimmers, totally fits in, and just a huge asset to the team – really has been.’

But each of the swimmers in the squad has their own story to tell.

As fellow veteran Tom Hollingsworth seeks his 50th medal and potentially the perfect swansong to a Games career that started at Guernsey 2003, eight of his teammates will be making their debuts at this level.

Parfit knows that even the eight swimmers coming off the high of last year’s Commonwealth Games will have a great deal to look forward to.

‘They are just as excited about representing Guernsey at the Island Games as they were for the Commonwealths, quite frankly,’ she added.

‘They’re going to be in a nice, big team.

‘I think the relays are going to be absolutely magical.

‘We’re excited, because we’ve got a lot of swimmers swimming very, very fast.

‘They’re going to be very competitive. I’m going to have a really tough job, along with Naomi [Wakeford], to decide who’s going to be in those relay teams, particularly for the girls.’