Sunday, April 10, 2022

Scottish Short Course provides perfect warm up for British Masters

Masters swimmers from across Britain took to the water for the first Scottish National Championships this year, as the Scottish National Open Short Course Masters and Age Group Championships took place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

The Short Course meet, which is always popular with swimmers, played host to 356 entries – a recent meet record, with swimmers coming in their droves from England, Wales and Ireland – as well as further afield in Europe. 92 teams were represented across the weekend with a total of 1574 swims.

This was only the second opportunity for Masters swimmers to compete in a Scottish Short Course National Championship since pre-pandemic, leading to some fast swimming, as competitors aimed to beat PBs, National Records and other personal goals.

Silver City Blues were crowned as the winning team, with a bumper points haul of 718. City rivals Aberdeen Dolphin clinched second place with 577 points, whilst Warrender placed third on 458.

Silver City Vice-President, Brian Bain, discussed his team’s victory, saying: “We’ve got a great team up in Aberdeen – we’ve actually won this trophy about 20 times, but last year our local rivals Aberdeen Dolphin beat us by one point.

“So, we were a bit more incentivised this time to get more swimmers down, get them training a bit harder and we got the trophy back to where some people say it belongs.”

Brian is one of many swimmers looking forward to the British Masters which is being held in Aberdeen this June.

“We’re pleased that the British Masters are coming again to ASV, the venue where it was held back in 2017, so hopefully we will have a big contingent of swimmers from all the Aberdeen clubs, as Masters is growing well in the whole of Aberdeen."

Five European Records were broken in the meet, two by Judy Pearson of Carlisle Aquatics – in the 200IM and the 400IM, and three by David Emerson of East Leeds SC - in the 50 and 100 Free and the 50 Fly. 

This was alongside a whole host of Scottish and British records, which were falling like dominoes as the Meet went on. These will appear on the Scottish Swimming website in the near future.

Pat Jackson, 75, was one of several swimmers who broke records at the Meet, beating some of the 16 existing Scottish Records with a record time in the 50 fly in the 75-79 age group.

She said: “This meet has been a good opportunity to beat or equal some of the records I’ve set in this age group. I moved up to this age group in January so now I have the difficult task of trying to beat times I’ve already set this year.

“I’ve been coming to Scottish Masters since 1987, I just love Scotland – which is why I came to live here. It’s a reason to keep fit and healthy for me and you meet lots of people, many of whom I’ve kept friends with for all these years."

Janice Naylor, 77, also competed in a number of events – as the oldest female competitor at the event.

She competes as motivation to keep fit throughout the year: “It makes me train for the rest of the year, because if I didn’t have a competition I wouldn’t train. At 77 keeping training keeps me fit and well.

“There’s so few people now competing at my age group, that the competition is a foregone conclusion – I know who will win before I come here, but it’s not about that for me – the achievement is being here and finishing the races. It’s such a friendly atmosphere and it’s nice to catch up and meet people. My sadness is that there aren’t many people my age still here.

“I competed in the World Masters in 1996, and there was a gentleman in his 100s. It’s so great that people continue swimming and competing up until that age, and Masters gives such a great outlet to do this.”

Masters Championships also give opportunities to swimmers at the other end of the age spectrum – with competitors such as 18-year-old Johnathan Venter, who claimed two gold medals for Perth City, and a whole host of PBS.  19-Year-Old Para-Swimmer Natalia Chociaj, from Aberdeen Dolphin ASC, made her International debut last weekend in Berlin at the World Para Series, also featured in the Championship, with a number of swims for her club.

Chair of the Scottish Masters Swim Committee, Eddie Riach said: “The Meet’s been a great success – I think it’s a record attendance. We’ve had a lot of swimmers up from England looking for qualifying times for the British Masters.

“There’s been some cracking swims, some very fast swims and it’s been very well organised. We’ve got the British Masters Long Course to look forward to in Aberdeen this June, so we’ve got 10 weeks to get ourselves in shape after this.

“At the moment it’s looking like there will be about 500 swimmers going to Aberdeen – which is our target, and we’ve still got our stage two entry process and we’re hoping to get more Scots turning up.”

On his performance in the pool Eddie, suggested that his best swim, was any swim that he finishes!

“My 800 free was okay, I quite enjoyed that one, but as the meet goes on I’m realising that I can’t do quite as many races. But overall, I’m just delighted with  the success of the Meet overall.”

 Full results from the weekend can be found here

The British Masters Championships will take place in Aberdeen from 17-19 June 2022