Report by Caz Makin, Publicity Officer
The World Aquatics (Fina) Masters Championships post-Covid lockdowns finally took place in early August 2023 in Fukuoka, Japan, after 2 years of postponements.
The event includes swimming, open water swimming, diving, artistic swimming and water polo.
With over 6,000 swimmers competing from around the world. The Aussie contingent proudly displayed their team gear and Aussie flags, with great spirit and enthusiasm!
The Fukuoka 2023 mascots, Sealight and Shirney were super cute!
The pool swimming took place across two venues: Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall (where the elites swam) and Fukuoka Nishi Civic Pool.
It was very hot and very humid in Japan in August! Fukuoka was a maze of high-rise buildings, underground shopping streets, subway stations, and an enormous network of 7/11’s which did the most amazing selection of convenience food and smoothies to go!
Here are their summaries of their personal experiences:
After years of waiting it finally arrived …. World Championships in Japan. What an adventure. First time to Japan ‘Oh yeah bring it on’!
The swimming was fantastic. With two different pools, it provided a great opportunity to experience something different and it was different. Especially the warmup situation. One venue provided an indoor 10-lane 50-metre pool to warm up and down whereas the other provided a 6-lane 25-metre pool to do the same. Being crowded was an understatement. Too many swimmers in a too small pool. But, I survived it.
Swimming in five different events was good and the swims were nicely staggered. 400m IM, 200m IM, 200m Butterly, 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle (not in that order). In all events I achieved times that were faster than my entry times which made me very happy. The most memorable moment was the last 10 meters in the 200 Fly, the arms just did not want to get faster anymore, and I just made it. My friend John videoed me and it was not pretty to watch but I do not care one little bit!
My holidays afterwards saw me visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Nagasaki all which were amazing. I was going to make it to Tokyo but the Typhoon had a different idea – it will be on the list for my next visit to Japan!
The swimming venues were very different – with the main Marine Messe (where the elites swam) being faboulous and the Nishi Civic pool an ‘interesting’ expereince with only a 25m warm up/cool down pool, spectator stands far too small and marshalling done on the pool deck of the warm up pool .. just a tad crazy and not the best but hey we got on with it!
My favourite exprience was the 200 Freestyle – my only swim day in the main Marine Messe pool – and going head to head with the Chilean girl in lanes 4 and 5 of the 2nd fastest heat and putting on the burners with 25m to go to beat her to 9th place and her getting 10th – our dual celebrations afterward meant everything that is true to Masters swimming! I also made good friends with a lovely Mexican girl in my age group and now have a fabulous bright pink MEX cap in my collection after a swap with a Tuggeranong swim cap.
I was very happy to grab two ‘top ten placings’ with 9th in the 200m & 400m Freestyle plus 11th in the 100 mFreestyle, 21st in the 50m Butterfly and 22nd in the 50m Freestyle (from 135 competitors in my 55-59 age group).
I actally swam for River City Masters in Queensland, my second claim interstate club this Worlds, so that I could do womens relays with my Queenslander swimming pals. Relay day was super fun and marshalling at Marine Messe was organised chaos! We placed 9th in the 4x50m Freestyle Relay.
The holiday Scott and I took with the MSQ tour afterwards saw us visit Hisoshima, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.
It was a fast and furious tour with lots of walking, climbing up and down steps, shrines and temples galore, beautfiful japenese gardens, subway train trips, trips on the bullet train, watching sumo wrestling plus beer, excellent food and plenty of laughter!
Full results are available on the World Aquatics 2023 Masters Championships website.