Team Luton has three more Swim England National Champions! Well done Alex Mason, Dave Wright and Graham Powell.
Great performances at the 2018 Swim England National Masters saw the Club’s Masters & Seniors squad bring home three Gold, three Silver and four Bronze individual medals and a relay Silver. Swimming in over fifty events, all ten of our competitors with ages ranging from 22 to 62 years recorded lifetime or season’s best times. Three new Beds ASA County Masters records were established.
Our Skills Coach, Alex Mason, aged 22, swam a lifetime best of 2:13.54 in the 18-24 years’ 200m Individual Medley (“IM”) to claim the first of four individual medals. Silver medals followed in both the 400m Freestyle and 400m IM, with Alex also collecting a Bronze over 200m Breaststroke. Just for good measure, Alex also helped the GB Police’s Mixed 72+ years’ 4 x 50m Freestyle relay to a silver medal with a split time of 26:04 seconds. Had he been swimming as Team Luton, Alex would also have recorded a new Seniors’ County record in the 400m IM, improving on his 2017 winning time by 0.14 seconds.
After swimming with the club as a teenager, Tom Lambert (23) returned to training in late Summer and competed in September to gain the necessary qualifying times for the Nationals. The training is already paying dividends as Tom smashed all of his entry times. He finished 4th in the 18-24 year’ 200m Breaststroke, 6thin the 400m Freestyle, 11thin the 200m Freestyle and 12thin the 100m Breaststroke.
Sam Bradley (25) also made his Masters’ debut performance at National Level, competing in six events. His best placings were 8thin the 25–29 years’ 400m Freestyle, 14thin the 200m Freestyle and 15thin the 100m Backstroke.
John O’Rourke (49) came 8thin the 45-49 years’ 400m IM, 9thin the 400m Freestyle and 13th in both his 200m Freestyle and 200m IM. His times in those 200m events were his best for over six years.
Sonia Bentley and Sharon Thompson both secured top twenty placings in each of their three events in the 50-54 years’ age group, steadily increasing their own individual and the Club’s Ladies Team Decathlon points. After many years as a “swimming mum”, this was Sonia’s first year as a Masters’ swimmer and she shattered her qualifying entry times. For Sharon it was a welcome return to competition after a year plagued by injuries.
The weekend was a welcomed opportunity for Junior Performance Coach Dave Wright to get in the pool himself. Despite only competing over the distance for the first time this year, Dave (aged 57) swam a well-paced race to claim the 55-59 years’ 200m Butterfly National title. One year older, Dave’s winning time of 2:47.03 was only 0.33 seconds slower than his swim last year with which he finished third. Missing out on a Bronze over the 100m Butterfly by just 0.27 seconds, Dave registered further top ten placings in his 400 IM (5th, with a time of 6:00.04), 400m Freestyle (6th) and 200m IM (8th).
In the 60-64 years’ age group, Graham Powell had claimed silver medals over each of the Backstroke distances in 2017. This year he collected medals of each colour, winning the 100m, finishing 2ndover 50m and 3rdin the 200m. His 50m swim was particularly impressive coming within half an hour of claiming a Bronze medal in the 100m Butterfly. Graham collected a further Bronze in the 100m IM. Although finishing outside of the medals, Graham still beat his own Beds County Masters records from 2016 in his 50m Freestyle (29.80 seconds) and 100m Freestyle (1:06.06).
Competing in the same age group, Malcolm Barton claimed five Top Ten finishes, his best being 5thin both his 200m Breaststroke and 400m IM. Having had a serious shoulder injury early in 2017, it was a welcome return to form for Malcolm with him recording season’s best times in four of his six events. Colin Mayes meanwhile secured four Top Ten finishes, his best being 5thin the 100m Breaststroke.
The squad’s team spirit and vocal travelling support was well in evidence throughout the weekend. All the more so in the Men’s 240-279 years’ 4 x 100m Medley Relay. After an enthralling race, where the lead changed with each stroke, the team of Graham Powell, Malcolm Barton, Dave Wright and Colin Mayes finished second to Hemel Hempstead but well clear of the team from Royal Tonbridge Wells. Team Luton’s time of 5:10.46 established a new Beds County Masters record for their age group.
With an increasing membership across all ages in the Masters & Seniors’ squad, the prospect of further relay successes may yet be on the cards come 2019.