‘Chlorine boy’ Mark Foster on how he persevered with swimming despite struggling to pay the bills

- In a new podcast, former world champion swimmer Mark Foster reveals how, following his debut at 18 in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he worked as a groundsman, lifeguard, window fitter, courier driver, and even a council officer just to keep himself afloat. Once called ‘chlorine boy’ by friends, today he is a successful pundit and six-times world champion.

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Published: 24 Nov 2022 Updated: 28 Nov 2022

Former Olympic and Commonwealth swimmer Mark Foster found fame as the fastest 15-year-old swimmer in the world back in 1985, but it would take him another seven years of hard work and perseverance before he was financially secure enough to become a full-time professional swimmer. 

Despite his many subsequent achievements including six World Championship titles, two Commonwealth titles, and eleven European titles, it wasn’t immediately obvious to Foster that his swimming successes would even pay his bills.  

Speaking to broadcaster Kirsty Gallacher on Bestinvest’s Give Us Your Goals podcast, Foster explains how he worked multiple jobs ‘to make ends meet’ from fitting windows to couriering, it wouldn’t be until 1992 that Foster found financial security. The champion swimmer admits that his difficult financial circumstances pushed him to be the best. He says, ‘If I didn’t perform well, I didn’t earn, so that’s probably why I was a better athlete’.

From athleticism to the ballroom, as a novice dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, it’s safe to say that Mark Foster has set and achieved a combination of challenging goals throughout his career. Yet, he also gives credit to his failures, as he says, ‘You learn more from losing than you do from winning’.

Despite his injury setback at the 2004 Olympics, Foster trained vigorously to compete in the Indianapolis World Championships just six months later because as he says, ‘you can’t change what has happened, but you can change what happens in the future’. He proved this statement by winning gold at the championships.

Foster shares these insights and more as part of the latest Bestinvest ‘Give Us Your Goals’ podcast, which explores the importance of setting goals in everyday life. 

Alongside the podcast series, Bestinvest has launched a Give Us Your Goals Fund, which consists of £20,000 and offers four people a chance to win £5,000 each, together with a professional financial consultation to help achieve one of their own lifelong goals. To apply candidates simply need to tell Bestinvest about their goals and what it would mean to achieve them (T&Cs apply). 

Mark Foster’s Give Us Your Goals episode is one of a brand new six-part series hosted by broadcaster Kirsty Gallacher and produced in collaboration with former BBC Radio 5 Live producer Guy Kilty.

The series features six celebrity guests, including Paula Radcliffe, Michaela Strachan, Terry Waite, Babatúndé Aléshé and Billy Billingham, and discusses the importance of goals in everyday life. https://www.bestinvest.co.uk/give-us-your-goals 

Bestinvest’s Give Us Your Goals Study surveyed 2,000 people across the UK between the ages of 18 to 65+. The survey was carried out by global market research firm 3Gem between May 13 to May 18, 2022.   

If you would like help achieving your financial goals, Bestinvest offers a wide range of investments, free financial coaching, low-cost bite-sized advice packages, smart digital risk assessment and planning tools and competitive pricing. Visit Bestinvest.co.uk to learn more.      

About Bestinvest

Bestinvest is a multi-award-winning, digital investment platform and coaching service for people who choose to make their own investment decisions but with the support of tools, insights and qualified professionals. It offers access to thousands of funds, investment trusts, ETFs and shares through a range of account types, including an Individual Savings Account, a Junior ISA for children, a Self-Invested Personal Pension and General Investment Account.

Alongside providing investors access to an extensive choice of investments, Bestinvest also offers a wide range of ready-made portfolios for people seeking a managed approach that suits their risk profile, saving them the need to select and monitor their funds themselves. These include a highly competitively priced ‘Smart’ range that invests through low-cost passive funds, as well as an ‘Expert’ range that invests with ‘best-of-breed' managers. 

Bestinvest provides investors with a unique range of new features to help people better manage their long-term savings, including free investment coaching from qualified financial planners, low-cost fixed fee advice packages and advanced tools to help people plan goals and monitor progress towards achieving them.

Bestinvest is part of Evelyn Partners, the UK’s leading wealth management and professional services group created by the merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson in 2020. Evelyn Partners is trusted with the management of £59.1 billion of assets (as of 31 December 2023) by its clients, who are private investors, family trusts, entrepreneurs, businesses, charities, financial advisers and other professional intermediaries.

Bestinvest is a trading name of Evelyn Partners Investment Management Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

For more information, please visit www.bestinvest.co.uk