SWIMMING: Rugby hosts prestigious Midlands Masters Championships

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Rugby Swimming Club

For the first time in living memory Rugby Swimming Club hosted the prestigious Midlands Masters Championships last weekend.

These championships are open to any swimmer, UK based, or otherwise from 18 to 90+, and are regarded as next after the Nationals. The quality of the swimming can be summed up by the men’s 100m free, where the winning time here, was nearly two seconds faster that the same event at the Open Midlands Championships.

In fact the very first event saw a British record in the 90-94 age group, as Edward Hoy, swam 9.07.28, a length or two behind the others in his heat, but they were merely in their 60s and 70s. He went on to also break the BR for 100m freestyle. Alongside Edward in his heat were Barry Davies and Derek Lindsay, in the 70-74, and 65-69 age groups, Barry finishing 3rd in 6.38, taking several seconds off his time from last year. A little disappointed to be pipped by a 70-year-old, who had just moved up into his age group, ‘a mere pup’ according to 72-year-old Barry.

Barry went onto beat most of his times from last year, and indeed he won three golds in the 100m IM, 50 breaststroke, and 50 free, as well as three silvers in the 100m free, 100m breaststroke, and 200 free. His time of 36.03 in the 50m free meant he achieved one of the masters great goals of swimming, to swim 50 free in half your age.

Derek claimed two bronze medals in the 200m free, and 100m IM, and again, was chipping seconds off his times from last year, as did Ben Cunliffe in the same 400m, 45-49, winning bronze in 5.19, over six seconds quicker than last year. He backed this up with a further 3rd in the 50m back, in 34.42. Unusually they were joined by Club President, Ross Turner, who won the 35-39 age group by several seconds, in 4.53.84, but he did wonder afterwards what had made him enter it. Ross had decided to save his usual events for the nationals at Plymouth, in two weeks’ time, but he also won the 200 IM, in 2.28.64 and 2nd in the 200m breaststroke, in a slightly painful 2.42.94. The nationals require a qualifying time, so Ross was just banking a few events for future use.

Moving onto the ladies in the 400m free, Rachel Lloyd won her age group, 45-49, in 5.02.77, and she also won the 200 IM in 2.45.43, but had to settle for silver in the 100m free, in 1.04.71, by less than a tenth of a second, and 200m back in 2.47.94.

Rachel was joined by Helen Brittain, 35-39, and she went onto win three silvers, in the 50m fly, 36.91, 100 breaststroke, 1.29.05, 200m breaststroke, 3.14.71, a silver in the 100m free, in 1.11.34, and a fifth in the 50m free, again all faster than last year.

Speaking of faster than last year, Club Chairman Simon Rigg, still reeling from being beaten by his son last weekend, has started to find some form after nearly two years of injury. First up was his nemesis, the 100m free, as Simon is famous throughout Masters swimming nationally as only ever doing 50s. A steady swim saw him finish 5th in 1.03.57, he was even accused of ‘pacing it properly’, and accusation he strongly denies. The real shock came in the 50m breaststroke, ranked only 3rd, as he has swam it a modest three times in the past two years, he took 1.2 seconds off his time from only last week, to win by over a second, in 35.02. He followed this up with a 27.6 for 50 free, again over 2/3s of a second faster than last week, for a bronze. Similar improvements over the next fortnight could make the trip to Plymouth worthwhile after all.

At the younger end of the spectrum, Adam Henderson, 25-29, swam well winning a silver in the 10m free, in 1.04.27, unfortunately he ‘did a Simon’ and went out way too fast and suffered at the end. He also came 3rd in the 100m breaststroke, 1.20.57, and just missed the medals in fourth in both the 50m breaststroke and free, in 35.35 and 28.07 respectively. Last, and by no means least, was Devesh Chohan, also in the 25-29s, who won a silver in the 100m breaststroke, in 1.15 81, and a sliver in the 50, in 33.69.

All in all a hugely successful weekend for the Rugby Swimmers, the club and indeed the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre, which was admired by all.