Guildford City Swimmers Master Europe…
Over 10,000 swimmers, with ages from 25 to over 90, from all over Europe descended upon London’s iconic Olympic Park at it hosted the 15th European Masters Swimming Championships from 25th to 29th May. Although this biennial event has twice been hosted in the UK (1987 and 1991) it was clear that the chosen venue would see record attendances and indeed provided enormous logistics challenges for the organisers.
Guildford City’s Masters returned with four Silver and five Bronze Medals, six British masters Records, two Welsh Masters Records, a Synchronised Swimming Bronze and numerous personal best times from five days of tough competition.
David Bryant started the medal rush with a first-day silver in the 55-59 years 200m Individual Medley, breaking the British Record in the process. He added bronzes in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, lowering his own British Records.
Michelle Ware and Mike Hodgson, with a bagful of British Records and ranking times in the 2015 World Top Ten were tipped for European success and they duly delivered. Michelle starred with two sprint silvers in the 40-44 years 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke, breaking her own record in the latter, before adding a bronze in the 100m freestyle. Up against the current world record holders at 100m and 200m breaststroke, Mike returned two bronze medals, in new British Records, and a silver in the 50m breaststroke. With European and British Masters swimming enjoying its most competitive era, these medals and records are a fantastic achievement.
Swimming wasn’t the only discipline being contested at the Olympic Pool and swimmers waiting to take part were able to watch Diving and Synchronised Swimming taking place (not simultaneously!) in the complex’s Diving Pool. Louise Ross won Bronze in the closely-contested 30-39 Synchro Solo competition, less than one point ahead of the Austrian in 4th place.
Over 20 swimmers represented Guildford and although not everyone could take home medals, all were inspired by the venue, with many achieving new personal best times. Ever so close in 4th place in the 60-64 100m Butterfly, Christina Victor had the consolation of joining Michelle Ware in setting a new Welsh Masters Record.
The swimmers would be the first to point to the contributions made by their inspirational and dedicated coaches – brothers Ivo and Sergey Mandradzhiyski and Josh Williamson – who have nurtured their swimmers through County and Regional success to National and International glory. Next stop, after a few days’ rest, will be training for the Surrey County Masters where Guildford will be strongly fancied for the team trophies as well as many individual successes.
Guildford’s team at the Olympic Pool comprised: Louise Bird, Michelle Ware, Jodie Cox, Emma France, Christina Victor, Alex Hutchby, Mike Hodgson, Simon Dyson, Jerry O’Riordan, Barnaby Rudd, Patrick Allen, Ivo Mandradzhiyski, Sergey Mandradzhiyski, Stuart Swaffer, Kim Ewins, James McCormick, Ian Surrage, Alison Webb, David Bryant, Rod Campbell, Roger Billing, John McCabe, Louise Ross, Angela Willis and Susie Browne.