A large Kent contingent travelled to Sheffield for the Swim England National Masters Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield on the 20th and 21st October. Two swimmers were representing Sevenoaks, Shelley Robinson and Peter Gruitt, both in the 65-69 age group. This is one of the two occasions of the year when the 50m long course pool is split into two 25m short course ones, the men’s events taking place in one and the women’s in the other, leading to an exciting eight-session competition spread over the three days.
Shelley had qualified for 13 of the 18 events but with a maximum of eight events had selected seven, including a series of Freestyle events ranging from 50m to 1500m plus the 50m Backstroke and Breaststroke events.
The first day started with both Sevenoaks swimmers qualifying for the 1500m Freestyle event – a 60-length swim. Gruitt swum well for a fourth place in his age group in a new Sevenoaks Masters record time of 23:37.37, whilst Shelley finished in silver-medal position in her event, but missing out on an entry time improvement.
As the competition progressed, Shelley settled into a steady pattern of entry time improvements over 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle, culminating in a hard-fought seven-second decade-best time in her 400m Freestyle event. The finishing times for these four events also broke the previous Sevenoaks Masters records for the age group as well as bringing her a bronze medal in the 200m event. Shelley’s final medal was a second silver in her 50m Backstroke event in a season’s best time.
Overall, the performances increased her 2018 standing in the Swim England Masters Decathlon rankings to 213 with a points total of 2883.