A Team of 11 strong Bishop’s Stortford athletes competed at the Hertfordshire Masters swimming Championships, held at Borehamwood on 20th June. The Team came away with medals galore and there were several stand out performances. Massive pb’s were achieved by Tony Parkin in the 50m freestyle (34.88), Lizzie Bellinger in the 100m Individual medley (1.11.74), Ben Kerslake in the 50m freestyle (28.88), Ash Merloo in the 50m butterfly (31.6) and Helen Shingler in the 100m IM (1.24.8). Head coach John Sargent was also on hand to take out the win in the 50m backstroke (27.3). One of the highlights though was seeing Ellie Louis complete her first ever 100m Individual Medley, achieving a fantastic time of 1.56.49. A brilliant effort. Don’t forget Lizzie Bellinger, Barry Chandler, and Sally Winter competing in all 5 events throughout the day too, including the 50 breaststroke…that was another highlight! Well done guys!
On Sunday 14th June, Bishop’s Stortford swimmer Emma Deary (27) competed in the Deva Triathlon in Chester. This acted as the English National Championships and a qualifier for the 2015 ITU World Championships and 2016 ETU European Championships. In an event where over 1300 athletes took part, Emma found herself competing against some of the toughest competition in the UK, and the BSSC Masters squad swimmer came away with a superb result.
Emma finished 4th overall out of the females competing and 2nd in her age group category, an outstanding achievement against some top class National Competition (the winner of Emma’s age category won a silver medal at last year’s World Championships). She managed to get a pb on the swim and the run, and the signs are positive for the ETU European Championships, which takes place in 4 weeks’ time in Geneva. Emma is currently finalising her preparations for Geneva and we wish her the very best of luck.
Bishop’s Stortford’s highly successful Masters squad was once again in action as a Team of six, Stortford swimmers made the journey up to Manchester to compete at the British Long course Masters Swimming Championships, held between 12th – 14th June. The Team did not disappoint, storming to thirteen medals, eight of which were gold’s, and once again proving that Bishop’s Stortford has one of the strongest Masters Squads in the country.
Club coach and long standing Stortford member Sally Winter (55-59 age category), was one of the overall stars of the competition. Having broken the British age group records on the 100m and 200m freestyle in January, the stakes were high. However, not only did Sally once again better her own British record in the 200m freestyle, she also smashed the European record by a staggering 1.03 seconds, a mark which had stood since 2009 by former European Age group Champion Jacoba Buijs Boer from The Netherlands. Her winning time of 2.27.90 currently ranks Sally as the third fastest 55-59 aged swimmer in the World over the distance, a remarkable achievement. Sally dominated the other freestyle events too, coming away with another two gold medals in the 100m freestyle (1.08.07) and the 400m freestyle (5.25.55), as well as sneaking a bronze in the 50m freestyle, ending a memorable weekend.
Lizzie Bellinger, herself a British record holder in the 35-39-age category in the 50m and 100m butterfly, dominated her competition once again over her favourite disciplines. She secured a superb ‘double’ winning the 50m (29.66) and 100m (1.06.61) titles in her age category, defending both titles that she won last year. In the 100m butterfly she beat her nearest rival by a staggering 8 seconds, proving that she really is in a different class. In addition, she was able to secure another two medals in the Individual medley (IM) events. Lizzie, a teacher at Herts and Essex School, swam the second quickest 200m IM of her career to claim the silver medal, and added a bronze in the 400IM, with a time of 5.52.83.
Masters Coach and Bishop’s Stortford Performance Squad swimmer Stuart Clarke (competing in the 30-34 years age category), was able to add a further two gold medals to his collection. His superior fitness enabled him to easily see off his nearest rivals in the 200m freestyle, defending his title with a time of 2.00.01. Despite feeling unwell for the latter part of the weekend, he was also able to pick up a further gold in the 200m Individual medley, with a time of 2.20.40. His performances bode well for the Scottish Open Championships in Glasgow on 25th-28th June, which will see Stuart competing alongside Britain’s best, including Britain’s current World Championship Squad.
Barry Chandler, the British record holder in the 55-59 age category for 50m butterfly, once again stamped his authority on the event, touching home 1st in a time of 29.95, nearly a second ahead of his nearest rival. The result secures Barry’s status as having never been beaten over the distance since competing in the 55-59-age category. Barry was also able to add a silver medal in the 100m butterfly, achieving a new long course personal best time of 1.11.30.
Helen Shingler (competing in the 45-49 age category) was back to defend her title in the 400m Individual Medley, as well as taking on the shorter distance, the 200m Individual medley. An unfortunate shoulder injury, which meant that Helen was not able to properly swim for six months, put paid to a realistic chance of securing the title this year, although she still fought valiantly to secure a silver medal in a time of 6 minutes 43.47 in the 400m IM. She saved her best swim for the 200m IM however, achieving a big personal best time of 3 mins 05.32 to finish in 4th place.
The Bishop’s Stortford Team was delighted to welcome back Pete Kelleway to competitive action. The backstroke specialist (competing in the 55-59 age category) showed huge promise in the 50m backstroke, finishing 5th in 34.42 secs. He also secured a 6th place finish in the 200m Individual medley with a time of 2 mins 46.27. His swims bode well for future competitions and he will be aiming for a medal at the short course championships in October.
Stuart Clarke, who has been Stortford’s Head Masters Swimming Coach since 2007, will be stepping down at the end of the season to pursue a new coaching position in Oman. However, he commented after the meet:
“It has been another highly successful National Championships for our Team. I am extremely proud of all of the Stortford athletes who competed, and to come away with thirteen medals and a European record is absolutely fantastic! The Team continues to go from strength to strength and it has been an absolute honour to coach and help them achieve many of their individual successes both this year and over the past eight seasons”.