This month, we interview Julia Swallow famous for being a multi-time UK National 4way champion, British team member and running the Satori Academy. It’s fair to say she has been very influential over the years and continues to be so. Read her story of ambition, competition and parenthood here.
I made my first Parachute jump on my 16 birthday. I wanted to do one since I was 13 years old when I watched my brother do his first jump – Id never seen a smile like that on his face, and I wanted to experience what he just had.
Since my first jump, I was also really passionate about the sport – I loved every aspect of it but my true passion was 4-way. I used to watch my brother and his team train and compete when I was still doing the Static Line system and wanted so much to be a part of it. My passion for 4-way still lives through my blood 25 years on and I’m continue to strive to be a better 4-way competitor and to win a Medal at the Open 4-way World Championships.
My female team (Airkix/Elan) had finished the commitment we had together and Steve Swallow and I spoke about forming the best team to win the Nationals and compete seriously in the World Stage. I formed the best team I could and although there have been line-up changes over the years we have been the most successful 4-way team Britain has had since XL.
Training is full time – regardless of whether you are training with the team, or away from the team. Apart from what you see on the DZ, we work tirelessly to stay metally and physically fit. We also work hard to get finances together to be able to train and compete as much as possible so we can try and match performance wise with the full time, fully sponsored teams.
I don’t think you ever feel you get the balance right – I always feel like I’m in the wrong place! However, I do have great support both from my family and my team mates so wherever and whoever I’m with I make the best use of my time with them. Sometimes Chloe has travelled with me, in which case you have to plan and organise things well in advance so you can focus fully on the training and competing.
I’ve been training at these DZ’s, including Skydive Spain since 2008. I do still train and compete at other DZ but it reminds me of our organised and well equipped my home DZ’s are. The key part is, weather permitting, you can so easily structure your day as good manifesting and fast planes allow you to start and finish pretty much when you choose.
It cannot always like that due to outside influences but the DZ’s work hard to try and meet your training needs. That doesn’t happen at a lot of DZ’s but is so crucial to an easy and productive training day.
It’s not easy as there’s a fair amount of juggling but it can be done. I think it’s been good for my daughter as has spent more time with her father and other carers which has enabled her to become a more independent and confident person.
It’s also nice for the dad and grandparents to get more involved in the upbringing of the baby which they may not get the chance to do when the mum is always around. I think it works well for everyone.