Swimming businesses profiles: Swimprint – hand-printing swimming caps in the Midlands

Gaynor Willis2 Copy

Gaynor Willis is a former Olympic swimmer and owner of swim cap printing business Swimprint. We caught up with her to find out more.

What is Swimprint?

In brief, we’re Europe’s leading printed swimming cap manufacturer. We pride ourselves using the highest quality caps we can find and we use specialist inks, that we’ve had created for us. We primarily print caps for schools and clubs but also do events, both open water and triathlon. All caps are hand printed with extreme care and incredible accuracy in the Midlands. We also try to give back. We have partnered with “One Tree Planted” and for every order of 50 caps or more, we plant a tree. It’s something that’s important to me personally and close to my heart.

How has covid-19 affected you?

Badly! But we’re hanging on. Business is slowly picking up again and I’m optimistic we will pull through. We hold plenty of stock and 90% of our caps are printed in the UK, so we’re able to respond quickly to increased demand.

How did you get started?

That’s a long story! I was a GB swimmer for around 10 years and an Olympic finalist (as Gaynor Stanley) in Los Angeles, 1984. When I left swimming, I joined Speedo, where I worked until I had my second child. My husband decided he wanted to run his own business and took on SwimShop. After he died suddenly, at just 41, SwimShop was sold to Sports Direct. The swim cap printing business was part of SwimShop, but personalisation of swim caps didn’t fit the Sports Direct business model, so I retained that, and called it Swimprint.

Dlrgoberhausen Rheinhausen

What is the most memorable hat design you’ve been asked to print?

Being an ex-athlete myself the most memorable cap designs are for the National teams in major games. The rules are very strict with logo sizes, national flags, country and individual names but there is a great sense of satisfaction to then see them in the water on television.

Have you ever had to refuse to print a hat?

Yes! I cannot describe how rude it was and only just before lockdown. Disgusting. We have however printed marriage proposals, birthday and anniversary caps and also one for the British Naturists, which I found hilarious – no clothes but we must wear a cap!

Find out more: swimprint.com

01 Cover November

Issue 43 November 2020

  • The Ice Man - meeting Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof
  • Cold water swimming - why do it, how, and what are the benefits?
  • Our new monthly columnist, Sarah Thomas
  • Olympian Keri-anne Payne on how to make the most of limited pool sessions
  • Elaine Howley on the first Asian woman to swim the Channel, Arati Sah

Swim Wild and Free

Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free five-part series on the fundamentals of freestyle by Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne.