The ASA National Masters Open Water Championships started today (2 August), with the 1.5k Men’s and Women’s races in the first session.
The session kicked off with the Men’s 1.5k at Rother Valley in Sheffield, with 57 swimmers aged between 19 and 81 competing for national honours in their respective age groups.
Jack Spence of Hemel Hempstead led the way around the first two buoys, with Harry Crisp of Norwich Swans trailing slightly until the end of the first lap.
Crisp managed to pull in front at the start of the second lap and down the last straight, both swimmers were pushing themselves to the limit.
Crisp held the lead to win the 19-24yrs age group (19:25.27), a mere half stroke ahead of Spence who took silver in the same group (19:26.69). Third place went to Ashley Thomasson of Wellingborough (21:28.07).
Crisp commented: “It was a great day to swim, it was a really hard swim though. The other competitors didn’t give me an inch the whole way round.
“This is my first time swimming as a Masters swimmer, and my first national open water competition, although I’ve swam at regional level before, usually 5k.
“The competition here was a lot closer than I’m used to, it was a lot tighter, but everyone seemed much friendlier than normal.”
The 25-29yrs age group saw Stuart Moore of Manchester Triathlon claim gold, coming in third place overall, swimming the course in 19:57.06.
Other gold medalists included Richard Dann of Newcastle (30-34yrs), Nick White of Loughborough (40-44yrs), Joseph Gavelle of Rotherham Metro (45-49yrs), Brian Armstrong of Gloucester Metro (50-54yrs), Brian Bain of Silver City Blues (55-59yrs), Colin Gerrard of Richmond Dale (65-69yrs), Michael Read of Brighton (29:24.52).
The oldest swimmer taking part was Keith Godbehere of Rotherham Metro who competed in the 80-85yrs and received a gold for his time of (35:31.43).
Nick White of Loughborough who won the 40-44yrs age group had not competed at a national event before, he said: “It was great, I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was totally different, I’ve done a few open water competitions, this one felt a bit more formal, but still very enjoyable.
“There are loads of faces I recognise from other competitions which is nice, and I won my age group so I’m very happy with my result and my time.”
The Women’s 1.5k followed almost immediately afterwards, a slightly smaller starting line-up, with 40 swimmers aged from 19 to 62.
Jennifer Titterington of City of Manchester Aquatics led at the half way mark, with Jessica Thorpe of Camden Swiss in second and West Norfolk’s Keely Empson in third. Unlike the Men’s competition, age seemed to have less of an impact, with a great range of swimmers taking places in the lead pack.
Titterington ploughed ahead in the final 750 metres, pushing a good 100m lead by the time she hit the final turn and winning the 19-24yrs age group (20:10.25).
Titterington commented on her performance: “I’ve been putting in some pretty hard training for this event in the last couple of weeks. I won bronze last year and silver the year before, so I think that’s really paid off.
“The atmosphere has been really good, there’s been a lot of support so it makes it all the more enjoyable.
“The swimming conditions on the first lap were really good, but it got a bit choppy the second lap around, but overall it was alright.”
It was a battle to the end for the chasing pack, with Emma Ross of East Leeds finishing in second and claiming gold for the 25-29 age group (21:48.28). Nina Williams, also from East Leeds, touched third to claim gold in the 45-49yrs age group (21:55.98).
Other gold medallists included Jessica Thorpe of Camden Swiss (30-34yrs), Kelly Dughmosh (35-39yrs), Rachel Lloyd of Rugby (40-44yrs), Julie Hoyle of East Leeds (50-54yrs), Angela Fisher, GB Police (55-59yrs) and Valerie Thorp of City of Derby (60-64yrs).
You can see the full results for the Men’s and Women’s 1.5k here.