A small, but perfectly formed, team of 8 OTS swimmers (and dedicated coach Martin) braved the ASA National Masters and Senior Age Group Championships at Sheffield's Ponds Forge pool over the weekend. They joined thousands of other masters swimmers from all parts of the UK, representing our great club and racing hard. They did us proud.
Special mention should go to our new recruit, Neal T. To have an OTS swimmer racing in the fastest heats of the sprint events was a thrill for all of us watching poolside and he secured a wonderful silver in the 50m freestyle (23.50) and bronze in the 100m butterfly (57.73) in the 18-24 years age group. In his final event of the weekend, Neal then swam a lifetime best in the 50m butterfly (25.21) to win gold, only to have his moment of glory cruelly snatched away as he was DQd for having momentarily readjusted his back leg on the block. The fact that Neal took this disappointment with great equanimity marks him out as a special man indeed. Two fourth places also came his way in the 100m freestyle (51.99) and 100m IM (59.37).
Congratulations also to David D-M who won two silver medals in his favoured distance freestyle events (35-39 years). Demonstrating relentless good-pacing he swam a lifetime best in the 800m (9:37.95), as well as a swift 1500m (18:32.09). We felt exhausted just watching.
Stephen L showed an impressive return to form in the 30-34 years age group, swimming a negative split in his 100m freestyle (57.75) and demonstrating his raw speed in his two sprint events, the 50m breastroke (31.96) and 50m freestyle (25.01). We are confident he will once again be swimming below 25 seconds for this latter event soon.
The great swimming continued: Michael W achieved four top 10 performances (65-69 years) despite being recently injured. Jose C-R swam his fastest times for many years (45-49 years). Nick M nearly broke the 30 seconds barrier for the 50m freestyle (25-29 years), despite dislocating his shoulder coming out of the turn (he reassured us it just popped back into place) and Robert E, despite his goggles not always co-operating, swam some of his fastest times.
Our women were represented by the ever-dedicated Lucille T who joined us for the first day of competition, squeezing in four races and twice placing inside the top 10 in the 50-54 years age group. We must also mention Lizzie B (35-39 years), who swimming on this occasion for her home town of Bishops Stortford, won a sensational 5 golds and 1 silver. Pick of the bunch was her British Record breaking 100m butterfly (1:05.23), a record that has stood since 2002.
Thank you to coach Martin who spent endless hours encouraging us and taking our splits. Next up: GLLAM.