Like GB’s Olympians, Team Luton’s Masters have just had their best ever medal haul with all ten of the club’s swimmers bringing home at least two medals each from the Barnet Masters Sprint meet.
At a Masters meet in Newmarket earlier this year a squad of ten returned home with 29 medals. This time a similar number of swimmers, but with a few different faces, collected a massive 34 medals between them.
Whilst historically the male swimmers have tended to dominate the headlines, the club’s ladies are coming to the fore.
In the 40 – 44 years age Group, Karen Mackenzie collected her first ever gold for a 50m Butterfly swim whilst finishing second in the 50m Backstroke, just 0.35 seconds outside of the Beds County record.
Competing in her first ever Masters competition, Lorraine Sadler finished fourth in the 45 – 49 years 50m Backstroke but then smashed her entry times to collect silver medals in both the 50m Breaststroke and 50m Freestyle. In the same age group, Sharon Collins won the 25m Freestyle and came third in both the 50m Breaststroke and 100m Freestyle. Fourth places in the 100m individual Medley – Sharon’s first ever race in that event – and the 50m Freestyle rounded off a hard day’s competition.
Glenda Mayes won a silver medal in the 60 – 64 years 100m Freestyle, a bronze in the 50m Freestyle and came fourth in the 50m Backstroke.
The four ladies, with a combined age of 197 years, also collected a silver medal in the 160 – 199 years 4 x 50m Medley relay, behind a much younger team from the hosts Barnet Copthall.
Having trained for and participated in triathlons over the past year, Mark Wareham was delightedly surprised in his first pool race of 2016, collecting a bronze medal for his 50m Breaststroke. A fourth place in the 50m Freestyle was swiftly followed by a gold medal in the 100m IM and silvers in the 50m Butterfly and Backstroke. Competing in the same 45 – 49 years age group, John O’Rourke swam some of the longer distances collecting gold in the 100m Backstroke, silver in the 100m Butterfly and bronze in the 100m IM. He also finished fourth in the 50m Butterfly and 7th in the 50m Freestyle.
In the 55 – 59 years age group, Alastair Gibb won gold in the 100m Butterfly and 100m Backstroke and bronze for the 100m IM and 100m Freestyle. As with his backstroke race, Alastair swam his best time of the year by over a second to finish fourth in the 100m Breaststroke. Dave Wright finished fourth in the 50m Breaststroke but powered his way to a silver medal in the 100m IM.
Malcolm Barton used the competition as practice for his 400IM swims later in the year, winning silver in the 60 – 64 years 100m Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle. Malcolm’s Breaststroke time, like Gibb’s, was his best of the year by over a second. Another personal best time for the year in the 50m Breaststroke won him a fourth silver. Competing in a 100m Backstroke for the very first time, Malcolm finished in fourth place.
Graham Powell meanwhile concentrated on his favourite events, winning the 60 -64 years 50m and 100m Butterfly and Backstroke races. His 50m Butterfly time clipped his own East Region and Beds County record by 0.1 seconds but over the longer distance he smashed his own regional and county Butterfly records by over a second to claim gold in 1.08.70.
The Men’s Medley and Freestyle relay teams won both of their races in the 200 – 239 years age group with a further two silver medals coming from the Mixed Medley and Freestyle relay teams.
The net overall result was 12 Gold, 15 Silver and 7 Bronze medals as well as the East Region and Beds County records. The meet served as a great boost to all of the swimmers and coach Pauline Harrington ahead of the East Region and National Masters competitions next month. It also provided an entertaining day for the small group of travelling supporters that included all ages ranging from parents, partners to offspring.
In the British Masters 2015 Team competition, Team Luton Men finished in 13th place with 16,321 points. Following the times achieved at the Barnet meet, they have so far acquired 14,690 points bringing them back into the 13th position in this year’s competition. In 2015 the Ladies came 315th (out of 431 teams) with just 1,836 points. With a growing squad so far this year they have already amassed 4,483 points and are currently in 138th position.