2016 Masters Highlights & Reports

(Page under construction @ January 2020)

2016 Decathlon Competition




Etwall Eagles Meet – 26 November

Masters End 2016 On A Team High

A squad of six swimmers competed in Derbyshire at the Etwall Eagles Masters meet in a multitude of sprint events bringing their 2016 competitive season to an immensely satisfying end.

Our Masters squad at the Etwall Eagles meet

Having won the Top Non-Midlands club trophy at the meet for the past two years, the odds appeared to be stacked against us this year.

Four of Team Luton’s swimmers faced particularly stiff competition in their age groups, with East Leeds sending swimmers in their forties who feature in the top twenty of both the men’s and ladies individual ASA national decathlon competition for 2016.

A great team effort nevertheless saw our swimmers amass a grand total of 126 points, six more than their winning total in 2015. In part this was achieved by them competing over strokes or distances that were not their specialities but which still garnered valuable points. As a result Team Luton convincingly beat East Leeds in the top Non – Midlands team competition, only to lose out to Banbury on retaining the trophy. In the final analysis it transpired that the Oxfordshire team had few, if any, competitors in their age groups thus helping them to gain maximum points from all their races.

The meet was twenty-four years old Jonathan Pennell’s debut competitive performance for Team Luton. Competing in the 18 – 24 year age group, Jonathan secured 28 points, winning three of his races (50m Butterfly, Backstroke and Freestyle) and finishing second in two others (100m Freestyle and IM). As the second highest scoring individual in the “Senior’s” age group competition, Jonathan won a prize of free entry into two races in next year’s competition when he will be a fully fledged “Masters” swimmer.

In the Men’s 45 – 49 year age group Mark Wareham tested his stamina and body to the full. Despite straining himself mid-race, Mark showed true team spirit to finish his 100m Breaststroke in 2nd place and still went on to compete in eight of the nine individual events he had entered. Mark finished in 3rd place in the 25m Butterfly and 4th in three other events to help gain 23 points for the team.

In the same age group, John O’Rourke swam in six individual events. His best placing was 6th in the 25m Butterfly, whilst gaining valuable points for the team in his other races. Being more of a distance freestyle and backstroke swimmer, John showed true grit pulling away from the rest of the field in his heat on the breaststroke leg of his 100m IM. His time in the 50m Butterfly was also his fastest in that event this year.

With a huge total of 24 swimmers competing in their age group’s individual competition, Mark finished in overall 6th place and John 15th.

In the Ladies 45 – 49 year age group competition, Lorraine Sadler finished overall 5th and Sharon Collins 9th. Their performances were truly commendable having both only made their competitive Masters debut this year.

Lorraine’s best placings were 2nd in the 100m Backstroke, 3rd in the 100m Breaststroke and 5th places in four other events including the 100m IM, an event she had never even swum before.

Being a relative newcomer Sharon had become increasingly accustomed to recording Personal Bests (“PBs”) each time she swam. The lack of a warm-up on the day, due to traffic hold ups on the M1, were not ideal preparation leading Sharon to register her disquiet at swimming four out of five “PWs”- personal worst times! Consolation came in her final event, with second place in the 25m Freestyle and in a PB time to boot!

Competing in eight individual races, Alastair Gibb accumulated a total of 36 points. He finished second overall in the Men’s 55 – 59 year age group having gained four first places (25m, 50m & 100m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke) with a second place in the 100m IM. His times over 100m Backstroke, Freestyle and IM were all within less than a half a second of his PBs for the year.

Fourth places in both the Mixed 4 x 50m Freestyle and Medley relays in the 160 -199 year age group rounded off the “fun day” end to the competitive season.

English Nationals – 28 October 

Successes Galore At The 2016 National Masters

The 2016 National Masters Championships in Sheffield yielded two champions in Graham Powell and Dave Wright with nine medals, three East Region and six Beds County Masters’ records for Team Luton. This bettered our 2015 performance when the squad brought home eight medals.

However it was not all about the material items. The weekend was yet another opportunity to witness the great team spirit that prevails, encouraging club mates to record numerous personal best times (“pbs”) for the year and to secure a fantastic grand total of 39 Top Ten finishes, another improvement on 2015.

The Masters Swimmers at Sheffield with coach Pauline
The Masters Swimmers at Sheffield with coach Pauline

The 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 6 Bronze medals are what make headline news but they were accompanied by a further seven 4th places and seven 5th places being achieved by the club’s ten swimmers who travelled up north. (Unfortunately Ian Norman was hospitalised in the run up to Sheffield but he had still taken time out to wish everyone well).

Neither Karen Mackenzie nor Sharon Collins had ever competed in any Masters swimming events until earlier this year but nerves were never in evidence.

Swimming in the 40 – 44 year age group, Karen’s best placing was 4th in the 100m Backstroke, emulating her placing in the British Masters back in April. Karen’s time in the 50m Freestyle, an event in which she had never competed, was less than 0.5 seconds outside her age group’s Beds County record.

Being at the top end of the 45 – 49 year age group, placings were never going to feature in Sharon’s mind but she was delighted to swim pbs in both her 50m and 100m Freestyle. In the longer event Sharon’s time was over a second faster than she had just swum at Barnet the previous month.

Glenda Mayes recorded current year pbs, with her best placings being 5th in both the 60 – 64 years age group 50m Backstroke and 100m Individual Medley (“IM”). The latter was all the more pleasurable as it was not an event Glenda had swum before.

Graham with his full Backstroke medal set; gold, silver, bronze (and one more for his IM)
Graham with his full Backstroke medal set; gold, silver, bronze (and one more for his IM)

Having set himself high expectations, Graham Powell was at first disappointed by his results in the 60 – 64 years age group. However one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, three East Region and five Beds County Masters records from his seven events offered some consolation. A full set of medals came over 200m, 100m and 50m Backstroke with a further bronze in the 100m IM. The East Region records came in the 50m Butterfly, the 100m and the 200m Backstroke.  Graham’s time in his 100m IM took nearly four seconds off that age group’s County record held by Colin Mayes. Colin nevertheless collected three bronze medals from his swims over  100m and 200m Breaststroke and the 200m IM. Team Luton’s third swimmer in that age group, Malcolm Barton, had set himself a challenging programme. He finished in 4th, 5th & 8th position over 200m, 100m and 50m on his preferred Breaststroke. A further 4th place came in the 200 IM and 5th position in both the 400m IM and the 800m Freestyle, earning Malcolm valuable points for the British Masters decathlon competition.

Three Bronze medals for Colin Mayes
Three Bronze medals for Colin Mayes

In the 55 – 59 years age group David Wright collected a gold for his 200m Butterfly to add to the long course (50m) title he won back in April at the GB Masters. He also collected bronze for his 400m Freestyle, taking over seven seconds off teammate Alastair Gibb’s Beds County Masters record. Dave also came fourth in both the 400m IM (in a pb) and the 800m F/s. Not content with excelling at the endurance events, Dave swam pbs in both his 50m Butterfly and Breaststroke events. Alastair, competing in the same age group, finished in the top ten in all six of his races. Five of those were completed in pbs for the year with his best placing of fifth coming in the 800m Freestyle, the final event of the meet.

Dave Wright: GB & ASA Masters 200m butterfly Champion 2016
Dave Wright: GB & ASA Masters 200m butterfly Champion 2016

John O’Rourke swam his best 200m Backstroke of the year by over 3 seconds to finish 8th whilst his 200m IM time was the fastest he had swum the event in over four years. Competing in the 45 – 49 year age group, John’s best placing was 6th in the 400m IM. For some reason just swimming a 100m Butterfly on its own in the last session seemed harder work!

Tell me. Why do we do this?
Tell me again. Why do we do this?

In the same age group, Mark Wareham finished 6th in the 200m Backstroke and 9th in the 50m Backstroke. His swim in the latter event was over a second faster than he had swum the previous month.

Masters Coach, Pauline Harrington, was delighted to see all the hard work put into training over the past year generate individual success for everyone. Her words of encouragement clearly carried through to the squad’s camaraderie that prevailed when individuals finished events in which they rarely compete, was still present when swimmers were breaking fellow squad members’ County records and which helped “lift” spirits  of everyone for their next race, however tired or disappointed they might have been.

Graham and Malcolm giving John a shoulder to lean on; all part of the Team Luton Masters spirit!
Graham and Malcolm giving John a shoulder to lean on;

East Regions – 1st October

Barnet Distance and Sprint Meets – July & September

European Masters held in London – May

Two European Masters Medals For Graham Powell

Our Masters were once again in tremendous record breaking form at the European Masters Championships held at the London Aquatics Centre.  Graham Powell twice made it on to the medal podium whilst Dave Wright just missed out on a medal, finishing in the top ten in both of his events.

Our Masters competing at the European Championships 2016

The hard work put in over the last year by all the swimmers under the watchful eye of Masters Coach Pauline Harrington was evident from the very first event, the Women’s 200m Individual Medley. Karen MacKenzie touched the wall in a time of 3:04.55, smashing her own Beds County Masters record for the 40 – 44 years age group set less than two months ago by nearly eight seconds. In the 50m Backstroke Karen also reduced her Beds County record by 1.7 seconds, finishing in a time of 37.68 seconds. To cap off the week she then swam 1.23.79 for the 100m Backstroke to take 1.32 seconds off the County record for her age group.

Having gone to the European Masters back in 2001, Glenda Mayes had taken an extended break from competitive swimming. Fifteen years later, Glenda was back. Her time in the 60 – 65 years 50m Backstroke earned her 19th place out of over 40 competitors.

Graham Powell had previously won a silver medal and a bronze medal at those 2001 European Masters. In the week of his 60th birthday Graham was hoping to once more come away with a medal. He was therefore delighted as he stormed to a silver medal in the 60 – 65 years age group 100m Butterfly with a time of 1.10.7. Graham was unlucky to collect a second medal in the 50m Backstroke, missing out on 3rd place by just 7/100ths of a second and only 0.24 seconds behind the race winner. However Powell returned to the medal podium to collect a bronze medal for his 100m Backstroke. His time of 1:13.87 was a new East Region record, beating his own time set last month by 0.09 seconds. It was also just 0.8 seconds outside of the British record for his age group.


Dave Wright just missed out on a medal as he improved his own East Region Masters record by 3.48 seconds to finish 4th in the 55 – 59 years 200m Butterfly. His time was 2:51.07. By his own admission Dave had been a little disappointed with his earlier swim in the 800m Freestyle, although happy to finish in 10th place. However disappointed he might have been, Dave did still beat the Beds County Masters record by 5.9 seconds.

In the 60 – 65 years age group Colin Mayes demolished the Beds County 200m Freestyle record by over 17 seconds, setting new figures of 2:44.30 to finish in 17th place.

The European Masters championships were held over five days. As the competition unfolded John O’Rourke improved with each of his swims. “It hurt,” said John after his 800m Freestyle in the 45 – 49 years age group on the first day. Forty-eight hours later he was just 0.7 seconds outside of his 2016 personal best time on the 400m Freestyle. Come his final swim, the 100m Freestyle, John beat his own long course personal best time by almost two seconds.

Pauline Harrington commented how she was “very proud of all the swimmer taking part in the Europeans. All their hard work has paid dividends. We will now start the hard work again as we aim for more good results at the British Nationals in October.” So no resting on our laurels then!

Newmarket Meet – April

GB Masters – April


Powell Smashes British Record

Team Luton’s Graham Powell set a new British record for the 60 – 64 year age group at the Great Britain Masters Championships in Sheffield. He smashed the old record set in June 2013 by 0.47 seconds to win the 50m Backstroke in a time of 32.91 seconds.

British Record Holder, Graham Powell
British Record Holder, Graham Powell

 With the European Masters Championships in London next month, Powell only needs to find a further 0.34 seconds to break the European record.

Whilst Graham was the club’s star performer, Team Luton’s Masters swimmers were all in excellent form as they set a total of 13 new County records and 6 East Region records whilst winning 4 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals and 17 other top ten finishes.

Team Luton's Masters in Sheffield
Team Luton’s Masters in Sheffield

Powell shattered the East Region and Beds records in all five of his swims, winning the 100m Butterfly as well as the 50m and 100m Backstroke. Finishing in 2nd place in the 50m Butterfly, Powell still beat the East Region record by over 2 seconds. A further silver medal came in the 200m Backstroke where Powell beat his own Eastern and Beds records by over 2.5 seconds.

Team mate Malcolm Barton finished 4th in the 60 – 64 years’ 200m Breaststroke, just 0.32 seconds outside his own County record. Barton went one place better in the 400m Individual Medley to win a Bronze medal setting a new Beds County record of 7:30.16 in the process.

David Wright continued this year’s demonstration of his endurance and versatility, winning the 55 -59 years’ 200m Butterfly whilst collecting bronze medals over 200m Individual Medley and 200m Backstroke. Wright’s medley time was a new East region record by nearly 4 seconds whilst he smashed the County record in the 200m Freestyle by nearly 7 seconds to finish in 5th place.

In the 45 – 49 years’ age group, John O’Rourke finished just outside the medals in three of his events. O’Rourke came 4th in the 400m individual Medley, 4th in the 200m Backstroke and 5th in the 100m Backstroke. His time of 7:00.97 in the 400m medley event took over 49 seconds off the previous County record for his age group.

Competing in her first national Masters championships, Karen Mackenzie was just 0.26 seconds outside her own Beds County record to finish 4th in the 100metre Backstroke in the 40 – 44 age group. Mackenzie set a new County record of 3:12.25 in the 200m Individual Medley.

Karen Mackenzie
Karen Mackenzie

In the same age group, Eloise Turner established new long course Masters County records over 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke, finishing in 5th place over the shortest distance.

A further 4th place was claimed by Glenda Mayes in the 60-64 age group 100m Freestyle. Mayes also finished 7th in both the 50m Backstroke and 50m Freestyle.

Gwendalyn Skingley made her competitive Masters debut at Sheffield and finished 13th in the 30 – 34 years 50m Freestyle.

European Masters

Sth East Long Course – January