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MASTERS SWIMMERS TAKE TO THE OPEN WATER

10 Aug 2009

Some of the country’s best Masters swimmers took to the River Tees at the weekend to vie for National honours.

The British Gas ASA Masters 3km Championship was this year held at the Castlegate Quay, Watersports Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, incorporated into the Two Bridges Open Water Swim North East Regional Championships.

In the true spirit of Masters swimming, the event featured a whole range of abilities, from those competing for the National title to those wanting to have fun in the participation event.

Tracy Wesselingh (Derby Phoenix) and Valerie Thorp (Co Derby) both successfully defended their titles, lowering their times from 2008 with 49:08.6 in the 40/44yrs Age Group and 51:14.9 in the 55/59yrs Age Group respectively.

Nuala Muir-Cochrane (Camden Swiss) was the fastest of the female Masters swimmers, winning the 45/49yrs Age Group with 42:21.1, but for her it was more about the whole experience of swimming at a new venue.

“Everybody was outstanding because we all made it!” she said. “The weather was great, the water temperature was good and the venue was really nice, so it was a very successful event.

“I was pleased with my swim but the youngsters left me on my own. I tried to keep up but just couldn’t.”

It was 16-year-old Aimee Willmott (Middlesboro) who took the honours in the ASANER Open Water Championships with a respectable time of 37:54.3. The time was the fastest of any Age Group swimmer (men’s or women’s) and rounded off a successful couple of weeks for the teenager who last month medalled at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Prague and the ASA Youth Championships in Sheffield.

16-year-olds Becky Wilde (Co Newcastle) and Catriona Bruce (Bo Stockton) took silver and bronze respectively with 40:05.6 and 40:36.8.

In the men’s Masters Champs, Andrew Huckle (Wycombe Dist) knocked 3.5 minutes of his 2008 Championship time to successfully defend his title in the 50/54yrs Age Group. While 65-year-old Alex Brown (Blyth) moved into a new age category but managed to lower his mark from last year with 54:54.6.

The oldest competitor in the field, 75-year-old Keith Godbehere (Rotherham Mo) also moved up into a new Age Group category, allowing him to take the National title unchallenged with 1:04.12.8.

In the men’s Open Age Group race, 15-year-olds Alex Wheeler (Co Newcastle) and Matthew Rider (Harrogate) battled it out for the honours, with Wheeler eventually touching just one hundredth of a second faster than Rider with 38:01.7. 17-year-old Christopher Dove (Derwentside) took third with 39:04.0.

For full results CLICK HERE

The event was promoted by ASA North East Region in conjunction with Northumberland and Durham ASA.

-ENDS-
For more information contact the ASA PR Manager Sharon Rose on 01509 632262, 07876 652318 or email sharon.rose@swimming.org

The ASA is the English National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Open Water, and Synchronised Swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the Laws of the Sport and operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for Teachers, Coaches and Officials as well as its renowned Learn To Swim Awards scheme. The ASA supports 1,220 affiliated swimming clubs through a National/Regional/County structure. The ASA aims to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn to swim.

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