Meet Corporal Shane Caswell Army Weightlifting Reserve Coach

After serving 10 years with the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, I transferred to 3 Royal Anglian the day following my official release.

My final two years as a regular soldier were spent as an athlete on the Army Weightlifting Team which I have been fortunate enough to carry on into my reserve service.

It all started with a beginner’s workshop in Middle Wallop, ran by one of the Army Coaches, Craig Spicer. I completely fell in love with weightlifting and decided to continue it in my own time. I followed my own programme initially, nothing too serious but enough for me to start lifting more and more.

After some time, I was asked to attend the first-ever Army Championships being held to select the team for the first Inter-Services Weightlifting Competition. It was brilliant to be selected for the team of 6 Male and 6 Female lifters that would represent the Army. I attended as many of the training days that I could and was able to fit it around my normal day-to-day duties.

The Inter-Services Tournament took place in August 2019, with the Army Team victorious over the Navy and RAF Teams. This was the first time I had represented the Army and I could not wait to do it again, fortunately, since then I have been lucky enough to do it on many occasions.

During my resettlement, I concentrated on my Coaching Qualifications. This would help in my career post regular service when I opened my own gym. After being awarded my British Weightlifting Level 2 Qualification I was approached by the Army Weightlifting Head of Performance and my now personal Coach, Warrant Officer Class Two Chris Williams (Royal Army Physical Training Corps), who asked if I would take the lead on weightlifting within the reserves. Without hesitation, my answer was yes! Now, not only do I get to represent the Army as an athlete, I now have a role in the development of future athletes, and this is all possible because of the reserves.

My first year in this role has obviously been affected by COVID-19. A lot of what I wanted to achieve has been put on hold, but with things now on the up, I will be looking to make a big push for the sport within the reserve community.

I encourage anyone interested, a complete beginner or highly experienced, to take that first step and to get in contact with either myself or your unit’s RAPTCI for more information.

Weightlifting has opened numerous doors for me in the past 2 years. I have just taken part in my first national championships and I am currently undertaking selection to represent Team England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, all this possible because of Army Weightlifting and attending that beginners workshop a few years ago.