Friday, June 17, 2022

British Masters Championships begin in Aberdeen

The 2022 British Masters Championships begin today at Aberdeen Sports Village, the venue which hosted the event back in 2017. These Championships are the highest level of domestic Masters swimming in Great Britain and rotate between England, Scotland and Wales every year.

With 613 swimmers competing across 2614 individual swims and 226 relays, we are looking forward to seeing some highly competitive finals, which may include World, European and British records. The British Masters Championships also features the Cupar Trophy, awarded to the best-performing club at the competition.

For others the event allows them to see their progression and just how far they’ve come in their own journey. Among those competing is City of Glasgow Swim Team’s Jake Woods, who experienced a very different lockdown to the rest of us. He said,

“The morning after lockdown was announced I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer which affects around 160 people a year in the UK, the majority of which are under 30. I was diagnosed after my femur had shattered in half a week or two earlier. My treatment was about a year of chemo, with a pretty serious amputation in the middle of it.

“After the first few rounds of heavy chemo I had the entirety of my right leg and the right half of my pelvis amputated, followed by more chemo. I finished treatment around mid-March of 2021 and I started to be able to move again. I had pretty much turned into a slug for the last half of the treatment so I was keen to start building my fitness back up.

“What got me through the really dark times was thinking about what I was going to do after treatment and getting excited for what that was. Before amputation I had lists of so many things that I wanted to do, the sorts of things I would never have got round to doing with two legs, like swimming.

“Getting into para sport has really helped me stay focused. Once the pools reopened after lockdown I was there, learning to how to swim again with one leg. I joined City of Glasgow at the start of last summer and I train with the Masters squad. I used to swim but gave it up at 18 when I went off to university and discovered nights out! I hadn’t been enjoying it at that point, there was too much pressure trying to hit times. Now I’m doing it off my own steam and it’s fun. Training with Masters helps push me on and I’m taking in and loving every moment; it means so much more this time and I feel I’m only just getting started.”

Also competing will be Judy Pearson of Carlisle Aquatics who broke two European Records for Individual Medley at the Scottish National Short Course Masters Championships back in March

The Championships really do highlight that swimming is a sport for all and a sport for life with competitors ranging in age from 19 to those in their 80s. And the Masters motto of ‘Fun, Fitness and Friendship’ will be on show throughout the weekend including at the Civic Reception hosted by Aberdeen City Council to which all competitors have been invited.

The draft programme for the event can be found HERE.

Results will be on the Swim Scotland website HERE.