Medals galore for Suffolk masters

SUFFOLK'S swimmers produced an outstanding performance and scooped a number of medals in the latest National event.Masters teams from Stowmarket, Deben, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Diss and RAF Lakenheath were involved in the National Masters Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

By Debbie Watson

SUFFOLK'S swimmers produced an outstanding performance and scooped a number of medals in the latest National event.

Masters teams from Stowmarket, Deben, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Diss and RAF Lakenheath were involved in the National Masters Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

The event, held at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, saw the relay team from Stowmarket involved in a thrilling world record breaking race for the 4x50 metres '200 yrs' mixed freestyle.

The race was won by Kenilworth Masters in world record time, with the Stowmarket team of Dave Elliston, Peter Atkinson, Sue Holditch and Pauline Holland finishing third in a club best 2:07:34 – easily claiming the unofficial best small club title.

Dale Barker of Stowmarket had an outstanding meet, performing in the 40-44 year age band. His medal haul included three seconds (1500m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 800m freestyle), a third (100m backstroke), a fourth (50m backstroke) and a seventh (400m individual medley).

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Also swimming well was Deben and Stowmarket swimmer Peter Atkinson bringing home three silvers (1500m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 200m freestyle), and two fourths (100m freestyle, 400 freestyle) in the 55-59 age band.

Other Suffolk swimmers bagging medals included 50-54 yrs age band swimmer Len Phoenix, swimming for the Suffolk Masters team, who claimed two golds (1500m freestyle, 800m freestyle) among his six medals.

Established Stowmarket swimmer Shaun Harrison, in his first foray into the Masters national championships, competed in the 19–24 age band achieving three eighth places in the 50m freestyle, 100m individual medley and 200m freestyle events.

Sue Holditch, Stowmarket team spokeswoman said: "We had a wonderful time.

"To compete in the National Finals is one thing, but to actually be involved in a world record breaking race was truly another.

"Suffolk swimmers can be proud of their achievements in Sheffield where the quality of the swimming was matched only by the quality of the facilities. If only we had a similar complex in Suffolk – imagine what it could do for our younger swimmers!"

Masters swimming is open to all competitive swimmers over 19 years old (pre-Masters). Swimmers compete in five year age bands that even offers competitive swimming for athletes into their nineties.

The events are run in exactly the same way as normal competitive swimming, but allow swimmers to continue to compete throughout their lives.

Swimmers from Suffolk included Dale Barker (Stowmarket), Pauline Holland (Stowmarket), Alison Brown (Stowmarket), Sue Holditch (Stowmarket), Shaun Harrison (Stowmarket), Geoff Eagles (Stowmarket), Steve Britt (Stowmarket), Hannah Burch (Deben), Samantha Fulcher (Deben), Katie Williams (Deben), Peter Atkinson (Deben & Stow), John Grave (Deben), Stephen Moore (Deben), Len Phoenix (Suffolk) and Andy Constantine (Felixstowe).

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