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Medals, records and memories – a Masters year in review for 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, Christine Goodair, a member of the Masters Working Group looks back on a packed 12 months of Masters swimming.

It’s been a year of celebration for Masters swimmers in the pool.

A first full year of events returning to the calendar meant we were able to spend more time in the community we all know and love.

There’s been so many landmarks and achievements for both clubs and individuals throughout the year and although I can’t mention you all, each and every one of you have been amazing in 2022.

I’d also like to mention those incredible volunteers that helped run all of the Masters events across the year, none of these competitions could function without you, so thank you for everything you do.

A memorable experience

The European Masters Championships in Rome has to be my highlight of the year.

Following on from the European Swimming Championships, the 18th European Masters Aquatics Championships opened on Wednesday 24 August and finished on Sunday 4 September.

More than 5,000 athletes, men and women, from 38 nations competed across 302 competitions in the programme, which included open water, swimming, artistic swimming, diving and water polo. The British contingent comprised of 207 athletes across the disciplines.

World records were set in the pool. Two were set by Amanda Heath, in the 65-69 category, with a time of 1:30.15 in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke and 3:14.05 in the 200m Breaststroke.

Dave Milburn, who won the Men’s 50m Breaststroke in the 60-64 category, stopped the clock at 32.53 to also set a new worlds best time.

There were many good swims and personal bests but well done to everyone that made the trip, without them the event would not be possible.

Streaming of the swimming races allowed fans to follow the event on every device. It was available on the official Roma 2022 and Italian Swimming Federation websites with more than 157,800 viewers and a peak of 33,200.

And British athletes had success in each discipline too, not just swimming, which is great to see.

Rome hosted a good event and the enthusiasm of the organisers and volunteers was obvious. It was also pleasant to be able to explore the sights of the city whilst we were there too.

Showcasing the best at home

Aberdeen was a great host for this year’s British Masters Championships.

Everyone was so welcoming up in Scotland and more than 50 records were broken throughout the weekend.

Congratulations must go to Amanda Heath who broke three world records there. I’m so happy to see you doing well Amanda, as well as so many other newer names in Masters swimming. The future is bright!

And Jane Asher, our most inspirational swimmer, also enjoyed a successful meet. She claimed two world records of her own in the 200m Freestyle (91-95) in a time of 3:52.96 on the final day after her day two record in the 100m Freestyle (90-94) with a time of 1:46.18.

Every year, the Swim England Masters National Championships always has a competitive spirit.

It’s not just down to swimmers competing against others, but also themselves as they look to set new personal bests.

It’s a great event which showcases not only the very best in the country but also those who put everything they’ve got into every race.

Sheffield feels like the home of Masters swimming in this country, so it was great to be back at Ponds Forge and to have Jeroen Peters (Chair of the Masters Working Group) on hand, taking his time to talk with everyone who wanted a chat was nice to see.

There were so many records broken at the event this year and it was incredible to see the integration of para-swimmers into the competition for the first time. I’m really looking forward to seeing those athletes involved more in the coming years!

And more recently, congratulations to Devon on winning the Swim England National Masters Inter-County title with a massive 1,972 points.

It’s an incredible achievement to have had all 33 counties competing for the first time which proves our community is continuing to grow.

And shout out to my Surrey teammates. We finished eighth which was a result I’m really proud of.

What’s next?

There’s another busy schedule for us Masters swimmers next year.

Not only will the popular Swim England Masters National Championships will be on the calendar but the British Masters Championships will also be returning to Sheffield in June.

It’s the first time the British event has been held in England since 2018 so I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone at poolside at Ponds Forge if I don’t see you before then!