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.
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!