A squad of six, half of whom were still recovering from assorted illnesses, kick started the new competitive year winning three Gold, one Silver and four Bronze medals at the South East Region Long Course Masters championships in Crawley.
Over the two days of the swim meet, they also claimed one East Region and three Beds County Masters records.
Karen Mackenzie felt she was “swimming through syrup” finishing 4th in the 40 – 44 years old 100 metres Backstroke. She took some comfort on learning that her time of 1:23.41 improved on her own county record by over half a second. It also spurred her on to demolish the 50m Freestyle Beds County record for her age group, recording a time of 32:58 seconds. Now being at the top end of her five-year age group band, Karen was not expecting to still be breaking records.
Competing for the very first time over a distance greater than 100 metres, Sharon Collins finished in ninth place in the 50 – 54 year old 400m Freestyle. Much to her surprise she found the race got easier the further she progressed, despite showing respiratory problems before the start.
Graham Powell’s winter training had been interrupted for several weeks by a protracted respiratory virus, so he chose to only swim in half of the events that he had entered. A time of 34:34 seconds gave Powell a comfortable victory in the 60 – 64 years 50m Backstroke. Despite misjudging his finish, Graham touched home in the 50m Butterfly in 32:38 seconds to collect a silver medal. Given his lack of preparation, Graham was still pleased with his times this early in the season.
Team Luton’s second gold came from Alastair Gibb in the Men’s 55 – 59 years old 200m Individual Medley with less than half a second separating the first three swimmers. This narrow victory followed on from Alastair collecting bronze in both the 50m Backstroke and the 800m Freestyle.
On the second day of the meet, Alastair finished sixth in the 400m Freestyle and then came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Dave Wright claimed third place in that IM, taking over a second off his own East Region and Beds County records to set new figures of 6:13.86. These records capped a rewarding day out for Dave, with him collecting a Bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle and a Gold medal over 200m Butterfly, less than two seconds outside his County record.
Competing in the 45 – 49 year age group John O’Rourke was also suffering the effects of an enforced break from training. He still claimed four top ten placings, finishing 6th in his 800m Freestyle, 7th in both the 50m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley and 9th over 200m Freestyle.