Mel Makes her Mark at Masters Debut
In her first Masters competition, Melanie Agius put on a fine display of distance swimming to break Senior Age Group British records in the 400m and 800m freestyle. Agius was one of twenty Dolphin swimmers competing last weekend at the British Gas Masters and Senior Age Group Championships 2009 at the Cardiff International Pool. Intended primarily as race preparation for the forthcoming ASA National Championships, the 18 year old was delighted with her performances over the competition that also saw her take a silver and bronze medal in the 200m and 100m freestyle events.
Jon Audis competing in the 25-29 years age group was in superb form, winning five individual gold and having to be content with silver in the 50 backstroke. Other top Dolphin medal winners included Kath Baker who, having set herself the gruelling task of swimming all 200m events and the 400m individual medley over the three days, was rewarded with four gold and two silver for her efforts.
Paul Kirk made his presence felt amongst the best of British Masters, taking gold in the 200m individual medley and 50m butterfly. A consistent performance throughout the competition also saw Kirk medal in all his three other events. Adding to Dolphin’s gold medal tally were Louise Maynard (19-24 yrs 50m breaststroke), Andy Evans (30-34 yrs 400m freestyle) and John Drake (35-39 yrs 200m butterfly). Also picking up national medals for the first time were Claire Hayes (25-29 yrs 50 freestyle – bronze) and Helen Hanks (40-44 yrs 200m individual medley – silver and 50m butterfly – bronze). Sarah Forbes showed a promising return to form with two bronze in the 50m and 200m backstroke, whilst Anthony Clark earned two silver (50m and 100m breastroke) and a bronze (100m breaststroke) and Jose Adam taking home a silver (100m backstroke) and three bronze (50m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley).
Dolphin’s depth in quality was evident in the relay events where the women’s 72+ (open) team of Hayes, Baker, Maynard and Agius took gold in both the medley and freestyle events, with the men’s 72+ medley team touching home first just ahead of their main team rivals UEA Norwich. The last event of the meet, the 4 x50 freestyle relay saw Matthew Rose, Jon Audis, Andi Manley and Mark Tanner make an attempt on the Senior Age Group record which stood at 1:39.32. However, UEA had similar designs and just had the edge over Swindon, finishing first and setting a new record in 1:36.99 with small consolation for second placed Dolphin that they also finished under the previous record in 1:37.50. The team now have their sights firmly set on the short course record and the gold medal at the National Masters Short Course Championships in October.
The performance produced by all swimmers was a testament to Swindon Dolphin’s Elite Masters Programme, introduced only last year, that provides a first class masters training programme enabling senior age group swimmers to compete successfully up to National and International level.
Full results are available on the Masters Competition page.