Article by Jake Lloyd, BSSC Masters Swimmer & Rep, and BSSC Committee member
Six BSSC swimmers, across a variety of age groups, recently travelled to Sheffield for the Short Course Masters National Championships. No one chose to swim the 1500m Free in session 1 so we start the Champs with session 2. The long weekend kicked off with a short race in the 50m Fly, where Lizzie claimed a gold medal and East Region record (45/49 Yrs Age Group: 30.02), Callum won a silver (18/24 Yrs: 25.89) and Jake came 12th (25/29 Yrs: 27.27).
Next, the ever-popular 50m Freestyle; Callum came 21st (24.95), Niamh came 4th narrowly missed out on bronze (18/24 Yrs: 27.29) and Alyson won gold whilst also claiming the title of the first 65-69 Yrs woman in Europe to ever swim under 30 seconds with a mind blowing 29.45. A new East Region, British and European record. Alyson’s swim puts her 15 milliseconds away from the World Record.
100m Backstroke came next with a very strong showing by BSSC. Both Niamh and Lizzie won silvers (1:03.81 & 1:13.83) both breaking East Region records. Alyson also kept her record-breaking streak going with another gold (1:18.70) breaking the East Region, British and European records again.
Last event of Day 1 was the 200m Fly with just me deciding to put myself through the pain. I won the gold medal (2:18.22) and earned the trip to the pizzeria that the “young” Masters visited that evening to replenish our energy.
Day 2. Lots to live up to with some amazing swims the first day, I was certainly feeling the pressure. The first event of the day is the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay. BSSC hasn’t entered a relay at Masters Nationals for a few years now and we entered the youngest age group of 72+ Yrs. Myself, Callum, Lucy and Niamh swam as hard as we could and to all our surprises, we took home the gold (3:46.37) setting a new East Region record by 12 seconds.
Next up was the 50m Backstroke, with just Alyson racing. She won another gold (37.61) and another East Region record. Followed by the 200m IM and another 2 golds from Niamh (2:24.65) and Lizzie (2:38.88) which was also an East Region Record.
The start of the next session began with another relay, Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay. With the same relay team entered into this race, we didn’t know what to expect after our surprise win at the beginning of the day. We just missed out on a medal, coming 4th by less than a second (1:55.27).
Following on from the relay was the 100m Freestyle with all but Lizzie entered. Competition was fierce for the guys with Callum coming 23rd (56.14) and Jake coming 21st (55.84). A much stronger showing for the ladies; Niamh finishing 8th (1:00.33), just missing the elusive sub-60, Lucy coming 4th (58.35) only 4 milliseconds away from the East Region record and Alyson showing everyone how easy it can be ticked one more gold medal off her list (1:07.07) with another round of East Region, British and European records.
Last session of day 2 was the 50m Breaststroke and the 800m Freestyle. None of the BSSC swimmers had entered the 800, so Alyson was left to break one more East Region record and win silver in the breaststroke (41.08)
The last day of the weekend, we all feel a little beat up and want nothing more than a lie in before the return to work Monday morning. The last relay the young guns entered was first, Mixed 4×50 Free Relay. With a majority of the team being middle distance swimmers and just missing the podium on the Medley relay we were determined to see what we could do to turn this into a Free relay double. Flying through the water, we managed to finish with the bronze medal (1:44.53 East Region record) and turning the table on the team from Kidlington that beat us in the Medley relay.
Straight after the relay was the 200m Freestyle, which was going to be a tough race for Lucy, Niamh and myself after that relay. Niamh and I both finished 7th (2:12.84 & 2:02.52) and Lucy set a new East Region record and won bronze (2:06.06). Alyson, who still needed more silverware to add to her collection won the gold (2:35.13).
By this point, we were all definitely feeling the effects of the hard swimming done over the weekend and showing signs of struggle as we swum. I don’t just say that because I’ve gone from the relay, to the 200 free, to the next event; 100m Fly. I swam a disappointing 1.02.19, finishing 14th while Callum wasn’t too happy with his 58.04, finishing 4th. Both of us felt like our legs were ready to drop off. Lizzie finished 1st (1:08.39) but the 100 fly at the end of the weekend is a killer.
One last session to go. Callum and Alyson swam the 100m IM. Callum finishing 15th (1:05.38) and Alyson stepping up for BSSC and finishing with a bang. Winning her final gold (1:19.69) and one last East Region, British and European record. Lucy, wanting to share the glory of the last moments with Alyson, swam the 400m Freestyle, winning the silver medal (4:32.68) only 2 seconds outside the East Region record.
And with that Masters Nationals was finished. Out of the 286 clubs that were represented, BSSC finished 27th overall and 1st in Hertfordshire. With only 6 swimmers up there this is a tremendous achievement and I would like to give a huge CONGRATULATIONS!!! to all the swimmers that performed some incredible swims. It would be great to see a few more masters come up with us next year and help see how high up the “Best Club” table we can climb.
|Alyson Fordham 65/69 Yrs||7x Gold, 1x Silver Records: 7x ER, 4x BR, 4x EUR|
|Lizzie Bellinger 45/49 Yrs||3x Gold, 1x Silver Records: 3x ER|
|Niamh James 18/24 Yrs||1x Gold, 1x Silver 1x Relay Gold, 1x Relay Bronze Records: 1x ER, 1x Relay ER|
|Callum Davis 18/24 Yrs||1x Silver 1x Relay Gold, 1x Relay Bronze Records: 1x Relay ER|
|Lucy Wheeler 18/24 Yrs||1x Silver, 1x Bronze 1x Relay Gold, 1x Relay Bronze Records: 1x ER, 1x Relay ER|
|Jake Lloyd 25/29 Yrs||1x Gold 1x Relay Gold, 1x Relay Bronze Records: 1x Relay ER|