SWIMMING: Medals for masters

Ross Turner, Karen Bates and Simon Rigg
Ross Turner, Karen Bates and Simon Rigg

GB Long Course Masters Championship in Swansea

The usual three musketeers of Rugby Swimming Club, travelled to the delights of South Wales and the Swansea International Aquatic centre over the weekend for 3 days of swimming at the GB Master Long Course Championships. Ross Turner Led the way with 3 gold medals, 2 he may have hoped for, even expected, but one was a real surprise, as the blew the completion away in the 50m freestyle, going from 6th fastest entry time to win by a clear 0.6 seconds.

With swimmers ranging from 18-89, there is always a good humoured atmosphere amongst competitors young and old, those of us in the middle years, and competition is fierce but friendly. All three Rugby swimmers, are in the middle or top of their age group, so have swimmers up to 4 years younger to contend with.

Karen Bates started the ball rolling in the 40-44 age group 200 IM, one length of each stroke, with a great time of 2.58.16, only beater by the European record holder in the age group. Next up were the chaps in the 100m freestyle, neither had high hopes of a medal, as some swimmers compete in long course events far more than we do, and this isn’t eithers specialist event, Ross finished 8th in the 30-34, in 59.97, to squeak inside the minute. Simon was probably happier with his 1.01.16, as this was his first LC 100 since last year, and only 3rd 100m all year, after previously retiring from 100s, Simon finished 5th, a better time and place than last year.

Saturday saw the lads in their specialist event of the 50m breaststroke, Simon was disappointed to be pipped for the silver by 0.02 of a second, as he finished third in 34.56, Ross was first in 30.99 to be 3rd fastest overall. He led all the way from the gun to the finish, and showed why he is still such a force at the event, not just in the masters but in the open as well.

Saturday afternoon, and the splash fest of the 50m freestyle, saw Simon claim another bronze medal, with a rapid 26.78, this time missing silver by 0.02, but again a better time and place than last year. The gold was won my Michael Hodgson, who won all 12 events he entered across the weekend. Ross had the 6th fastest entry time, and a pb would be required to win any medal. He had a fantastic start, and was clear at half way, and just moved further away, to win by 0.6 seconds a huge margin in 25.31, a life time best and a surprise, but deserved Gold.

Talking of surprises, nobody was more surprised than Karen when her first ever 200m breaststroke resulted in a Bronze medal. Her entry time was estimated from shorter distances, but her 3.30, may not trouble the very best, but was met with huge joy by all three. Another bronze was the result of the 50m backstroke, as Karen completed her program in 35.99 for a haul of a silver and 3 bronze, and missing a couple more medals by 05 of a second.

Ross completed his weekend with an easy and resounding win the 100m breaststroke, in 1;12;61 to win by 5 seconds. Annoyingly Simon could have claimed a silver in his age group, but had not entered, due to other commitments, namely the Wolf Run, 10k of cross country with obstacles and lots of mud.

Report by Simon Rigg.

# Elaine Bromwich competing for Birmingham Masters in Swansea at the GB Long Course Masters Championship in 70-74 age group achieved five silver medals.

in 1500 m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle in a PB time, 200 m Breast stroke, 100m Breast stroke and 50 m Breast stroke.

She also swam in the 4x100 mixed medley relay and achieved a gold medley while swimming the Breast stroke leg.