The Paynes Blog

A blog about our life


Toby at swimming practice

5 photos…

This first one shows Ben on the left and Bryce in the middle…

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Toby at a swim meet in Abu Dhabi

Fern, father of Ben, took this terrific photo of Toby…



Toby with his friends in the pool

Here’s Toby with Ben on his shoulders. Bryce is to the right with his sister Erin on his shoulders (both from South Africa), then Ben, Becky then Maura (Ben’s sister: both from the States)…



Toby at swimming tournament

These photos were taken by our friend Julie who is the mother of Connor Morris from the States who swims with Toby…

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Click Read more to see lots more photos from this event…

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Toby wins 3rd race, April 2012: 100-metre butterfy

In this video you’ll see Toby in second place for the first 50 metres, then catch up and eventually win over the second 50-metre stretch.

You’ll see him shake hands with the boy who came second; cheering on his teammates in the next race immediately after his; and going for his gold medal.

You’ll hear the Arabic commentator say “Tobi John Al Ain” 3 times…

Here is Toby’s time…

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Before the race he said he felt very tired.

He had shared a hotel room last night with 3 of his fellow team mates (Connor from America, Bryce from South Africa, and Ossian from Sweden) — and they had talked until midnight then got up at 6.30.

He said he felt a bit sick, and that butterfly is the hardest race. I replied that it was likely that he’d still give it 100% in the race. And he did.

I was shaking from the adrenalin 15 minutes after the race!


Toby was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the 2-hour journey home…

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As of May 2012, Toby’s speeds are…

50m free: 28.9 seconds
100 free: 1.03.00

200 free: 2.21.31

50 fly: 31.2
100 fly: 1.10.00
50 back: 32.3
100 back: 1.12:44
50 breast: 36.7
100 breast: 1.20.35

Toby is 12.


Video of Toby swimming underwater

Toby’s swimming coach, Ashraf, loves his gadgets: iPad 2, iPhone 4 – and now an underwater camera! He filmed these 2 movies, plus several photos.

Here’s Toby doing butterfly. In the last frame of the movie, you’ll see the Head Coach, Jack, on the left…

See another video and the photos by clicking on Read More!…

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Toby competes in an open water race (3 videos)

Here you’ll see the start of the race… You’ll hear coach Ashraf call Toby ‘Connor’ by mistake; Captain Yahia gets annoyed at one of the team; coach Mohammed Sidke is the one in the hat who grabs Toby at one point. You’ll see Toby come second after just over an hour of swimming the 3km race…

In this next video you’ll see Toby and Connor talk about the race. Connor’s friend Craig is the guy in the black T-shirt and sunglasses. You’ll see Catherine and Felix at the end of this video…

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Olympic swimming coach Jack Simon works with Al Ain team

Toby and Connor discuss tactics in December 2011 with Jack Simon, an Olympic swimming coach from the States who has just been employed by the Al Ain Sport and Culture Club as Head Coach and Technical Director…

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Wikipedia describes Jack as “a renowned U.S. national swimming coach and former president of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA).”

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Mark Morris’s open water race photos

Mark Morris, father of Toby’s friend Connor, took all the terrific photos in this post…

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Al Ain Club employs swimming coach Jack Simon

Toby and Connor discuss tactics at an open water race in Abu Dhabi in December 2011 with Jack Simon, a former Olympic swimming coach from the States who has just been employed by the Al Ain Club, and could be here for 20 months…

Jack Simon swimming coach