Record Regional Medal Rush For Southampton Masters

Although it only seems like a few weeks’ ago that Southampton Masters achieved a historic first in obtaining the Top Club Trophy at the Hampshire County Masters Championships, a relatively balmy UK Summer later saw the kick start to the new season and several Sotonian squad members eager to snap back into race mode!

 

The Short-Course Regionals held annually at The Spectrum Centre – Guildford, can be a mixed bag of talent, from seasoned competitors looking for some check point swims ahead of the more prestigious Nationals later in October, to first timers building on confidence gained both from training and more local events. Southampton Masters welcomed a strong contingent of eight – familiar faces, debutants and even what I’ve come to call ‘renaissance’ swimmers….more on that later!Jess Farmer (18-24yrs), despite still landing in the Senior Division (under 25yrs) is one such familiar face and embarked on a litany of races across a range of distances. 200m events such as the Back (03.05.33) saw the 23-year-old achieve the greatest success, taking Gold in the aforementioned, as well as Silvers in the IM (03.02.20) and FC (02.42.39). Joining her was the debutant Brooke Wilkinson (18-24yrs) fresh from Junior bootcamp, diversely taking medals of every colour from Bronze in the 100 FC (01.06.55), Silver in 50 Fly (00.33.38) and finally Gold in the 100m Breast (01.32.71).

 

Hannah Dicker (25-29yrs) continued her impressive run from the end of the last season with title-earning success in her favoured 50 Back (00.34.94), and bridesmaid positions in the 50 FC (00.30.77) and 100 IM (01.18.50). A few decades ahead, Suzanne Van Leeuwen (45-49yrs) bravely took on the 50 Fly (00.41.23) for the first time and was rewarded with a final podium place to compliment her Silver in 100 Back (01.42.37).

 

Lois Dolman (35-39yrs) in the 1990’s was known by maiden name Farrier, and was very much as flag-bearer for female Fly swimming claiming multiple Junior County titles. Twenty years on, the now 36-year-old was back for more and illustrated that experience never really fades with an impressive victory in the 200 Fly (02.45.75), followed swiftly by the shorter and less favoured 100 Fly (01.21.80). A surprise hattrick title came in the 50 Breast (00.44.52) through a weakened field.

 

Farrier’s tenure matched that of James MacTavish’s (35-39yrs) in similar events – both Fly swimmers, but in the case of the Coach, it was a more polarised affair taking on less favoured Back and Breast races. Rare success in the 50 Back (00.32.97), 100 Back (01.12.07) and 200 Back (02.40.89) saw bridesmaid positions, but it did fall to the more familiar 50 Fly (00.30.55) and 100 Fly (01.10.69) to claim Regional Titles.

 

Terance Holness-Wright (25-29yrs) found the going tough with strong representation from the local Teddington SC and Guildford contingents, but held his nerve to take Bronze on the 50 Fly (00.31.31) and Silver over 50 Back (00.33.29). Duncan Lip (40-44yrs) made the most off the back of sporadic training to take a surprise Bronze in the 100 Back (01.33.45), settling just outside the podium on the 200 IM (03.09.50) and 200 FC (02.44.29).

 

A total of 7 Regional titles was two shy of the record 9 taken in 2017, however, the overall total of 28 medals proved to be the best haul in five years for the Reds. More importantly, the Regionals are beginning to receive attention once again in amongst a swelling Masters Swimming Calendar in response to the sport’s demand – once seen as an anachronism to help mirror our Junior counterparts, South East Masters Swimming is slowly getting its mojo back. Only need to find a slightly more modern venue!

 

Medal Tally:

 

GOLD  : 7

SILVER : 15

BRONZE : 6

TOTAL : 28

 

James MacTavish

CSSC Masters Coach