News from the world of Masters.
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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.
KCASA Masters Sprint Championships Report
Around 120 of Kent’s Masters swimmers (18+ years) competed at Medway Park on Sunday in the Kent Masters Swimming Sprint Championships.
Sevenoaks Swimming Club was fielding a team of nine ranging in age from their newest Masters competitors Lauren Hawthorn (26), Ben Garfield and Patrick Tschorn to Tony Meek (68) back to form after a period out of swimming through health issues. In comparison, RTW Masters had brought a team of more than 40 swimmers in their bid for a tenth consecutive Top Club title, but Sevenoaks was determined to make it harder for them!
The Championships started well for the Sevenoaks squad with three swimmers in the 100 Freestyle event and auren (25-29) bringing home the first gold of the day, swiftly followed by Tony (65-69) in the men’s event.
The next event (50 Fly) brought home another batch of medals with Shelley Robinson (65-69) finishing first, Lucy Dickson (55-59) in third place and Tony storming home to a silver medal in his event.
The first relay was the Mixed 240+ years 4 x 25 Freestyle but the Sevenoaks team of Mark Phillips (50-54), Lucy, Tony and Shelley couldn’t quite match to the strength of the RTW Masters team, finishing in silver medal place just 11/100ths ahead of third-placed Hythe Aqua.
The 4x25m Individual Medley events brought in another range of medals – two gold and two silver with Penny Stotesbury (50-54) putting in a cracking performance to finish first in 1.23.81, smashing the SSC record by four seconds.
The Ladies 200+ years team of Penny, Lucy, Lesley (50-54) and Shelley managed to push RTW Masters into third place by just half a second, but success was sweet!
Moving into the final event of the morning session, the 100m Backstroke events finished in style with three gold medals and a silver including a super swim by Patrick Tschorn (40-44) who managed to break a nine-year-old SSC record.
The next set of relays were hard fought with RTW Masters just managing to finish ahead of the Sevenoaks teams by the slimmest of margins. Still, it did mean another silver and bronze to add to the tally. However the Ladies 200 years team did reverse the order, finishing almost 2 seconds ahead and taking the silver medal.
Medals came in thick and fast during the afternoon session with 10 ten gold medals alone! Shelley finished her 100 Butterfly event in a Kent record time and both Lesley and Lucy pulled in their first gold medals (100 Breaststroke and 50 Free respectively).
But the swim of the day had to be from Ben Garfield (35-39) who finished his 50 Free event in a staggering time of 25.92, smashing the previous Kent Record by almost a second and finishing fourth fastest overall despite giving away 17+ years – a brilliant swim!
Sevenoaks Masters finished the day on a high with an overall tally of 19 gold, 12 silver and 9 bronze medals, two Kent records plus numerous event best times and SSC records, smashing last year’s performance in style.
Sadly, SSC were unable to knock RTW Masters from there top spot, but were awarded the Best Improving Club Trophy based on points gained.