Countdown to Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Shane Stigant

Athlete Profile: Shane Stigant

Home town / Village: Isle of Man

Occupation: Production Scientist, ProMetic BioSciences Ltd

Sport: Swimming

Commonwealth Games Achievements: 

Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games

100m Breaststroke (1:10.77 mins)

200m Breaststroke (2:30.69 mins)

200m Individual Medley (2:21.53 mins)

Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games

100m Breaststroke (1:09.28 mins)

200m Breaststroke (2:29.79 mins)

200m Individual Medley (2:20.86 mins)

Auckland 1990 Commonwealth Games

100m Breaststroke (1:10.78 mins)

200m Breaststroke (2:33.65 mins)

200m Individual Medley (2:20.69 mins)

4 x 100m Freestyle Relay (3:47.36 mins - 8th Position)

4 x 100m Medley Relay (4:15.98 mins - 7th Position)

4 x 200m Freestyle Relay (8:34.49 mins - 7th Position)

50m Freestyle (26.73 sec)

Why do you participate in swimming and represent Team Isle of Man?

To prove myself at the highest possible level. Competition gave some meaning and sense to all the hard training. I would not have been able to train so hard for so long if there was no real goal to aim for.

(Team Isle of Man, Brisbane 1982) 

If you had to describe the Commonwealth Games in three words, what would they be?

‘Prestigious, organised and friendly.’

Prestigious: because the commonwealth has some of the major sporting nations, especially Australia, where swimming is concerned.

Organised: because the events, accommodation, catering, travel and venues ran like clockwork.

Friendly: it is often mentioned about the Commonwealth Games that although the events have some major personalities they are also side by side with competitors from smaller nations with a lot of friendly banter and training techniques to trade.

Do you think the Commonwealth Games image has evolved since the Isle of Man first competed in Cardiff 1958?

Certainly. They used to be called the Empire Games. Competing against nationals of other countries that have been overthrown by Britain gives you good insight into Britain’s role in geopolitics. Fortunately Commonwealth countries are shaking off the shackles of British rule, and it looks to me that they are developing new identities and independence which is making the Games more international than feeling more intra-empire. The Isle of Man’s image has evolved in the Games. Our recent success, particularly in cycling, has made us look less like a small nation and more like a small boxer who can fight above his weight.

What has been your ultimate achievement in sport?

Finishing 15th in the 200m breaststroke in Edinburgh in 1986!

The author with left to right Louise Cowin Graham Stigant Colin Skillicorn and Shane Stigant 1982 

(Team Isle of Man, Edinburgh 1986)

What one or two things did you use to do in your training that were keys to your success?

Train hard and smart! Unfortunately for me I only learned how to train smart after I had retired from competition. Hence my advice for aspiring athletes.

What has been the most significant challenge you have faced in your preparation leading up to a sporting event? How did you overcome this?

The temperature of the pool in the Aquadrome! It was far too hot to train hard. We became exhausted because of the heat, preventing us from training hard. This was so bad that at one point it was suggested that I should train in the sea. This however was a step too far in the opposite direction. Fortunately we had an open invitation to train with the Ramsey team in their pool. This helped in terms of environment but also because we were training with the opposition. A friendly competitiveness in training which helped us all train harder as we all wanted to be the fastest in training too.

What would be your advice for a young aspiring athlete aiming to represent Team IOM?

Read as much as you can about human performance physiology and understand how the body adapts to training and train as hard as you can. Use this knowledge to guide you and your coach. Everyone has a starting point but if you want to be at the top you have to aim high. Do not make the Commonwealth games your goal but a milestone on the way to the Olympic Games.

(Team Isle of Man, Auckland 1990)

Where do you see yourself in the future? What aims do you have? Will you stay in sport?

I have been retired from competition for many years. However I now have two young sons who are very active. I encourage them to try different sports and if they develop a passion for anything and have a desire to compete then I will support them as far as they want to go. I will not push them into anything just because it is something I used to do.  They will not go far in sport if they do not have a passion to win in a sport they love to compete in.