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MSNSW Relay Meet – SOPAC – Sun 15 Jul 18

The weekend of 14-15 July saw a troop of Vikings make the trip north from Canberra to Sydney for the Masters Swimming NSW (MSNSW) relay meet, held in Short Course format at the iconic Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC) on Sunday 15 July 2018.

In the absence of a few of our more seasoned competitors, the Vikings team (with some supplementation from our friends at Molonglo) consisted of six women (Anne Smyth, Ann Reid, Jeanette Droop, Kris Kennedy, Annette Britten and Helen Morris) and seven men (Al Byrne, Nick Thorne, Jon Collis, Gary Stutsel, Richard Phillips, Tom Boyce and Kim Beamish).

Naturally, we had to make a social event of the weekend, with most of the team spending the night at the Travelodge motel adjacent to the Workers Sports Club in Blacktown, thanks to co-ordination efforts of our absent President, Greg Gourley. A couple of our ladies were lucky enough to be invited to stay with a Viking recently moved to Sydney, so they didn’t join us, but – after a scenic drive up the coast – they apparently arrived at their destination a bit earlier than expected, thus there was no-one home to let them into the house. Readers are invited to ask Annette or Jeanette exactly how they got in!

Besides bumping into a famous cricketer in the club, and ordering way too much dinner, the rest of us enjoyed an uneventful stay until the following morning when one learned the hard way that the club’s underground car park is locked until 10:00AM! Bugger! Once the escape was achieved, everyone made it to the venue with time to spare.

As seems to be the case every year at this particular event, the atmosphere and the buzz of the big crowd of enthusiastic swimmers and supporters made for a great day in and out of the pool. With only one exception, every Viking swam their maximum allowable number of events, and, as well as actually winning a few heats (see full event results here), almost everyone bettered their Personal Bests or seed times – some by a significant margin!

It was particularly impressive to watch one of our more senior breaststrokers put in a great effort to overtake the competition, taking the lead in his heat at the very last second!

Notably, during the presentations, Jon Collis was kind enough to accept a certificate on behalf of fellow Molonglo Water Dragon Geoff Llewellyn, who had, during National Titles at Perth earlier this year, set a new age record for 800 metres, as well as collecting several other medals. Well done Geoff!

Despite most of us only swimming a total of about 500 metres of actual competition for the day, a great day was had. For those that haven’t been inclined to have a go at a Masters competition meet, this one is the one to try – the atmosphere generated by a couple of hundred enthusiastic swimmers actually makes the frantic pace of the day and the organised mayhem of the marshalling area exciting! This event really does put the ‘fun’ into the Masters Swimming motto of ‘Fitness, friendship and fun’.

And, finally, a very sincere thank you to a couple of partners-of-Vikings, who, besides supporting their own partners, gave excellent support to the team as a whole and to the meet. Genuine thanks to Paul Kennedy for his photography efforts, and to Peter Sharman for spending almost the whole day timekeeping down on the pool deck! Your efforts are very much appreciated.

Bathurst ‘Grape Escape’ 19-20 May 18

MSNSW’s second Grape Escape weekend on 19 & 20 May 2018 was a great success.

First in everyone’s mind was the opportunity to get coached by our crack roving coaching team of Anne Smyth, Caroline Makin, Paul Bailey and Di Coxon- Ellis. With over 30 eager swimmers in the water, including some very welcome local non-masters swimmers, the coaches managed to cover all four strokes, with drills and instruction on technique.

The mini-meet on Sunday morning was fast, efficient and lots of fun, with a full complement of volunteer officials on deck as well. For some the highlight was the 10- person relay, with Manly suiting up gamely against all comers. Valiant, yes.

This was a get-away weekend. Lunch, wine tastings and dinner were important to many swimmers while others just enjoyed being in the country with all the fresh appeal that late autumn offers.

Thanks everyone for coming along and making it fun. Keep your eyes peeled for the next MSNSW grape escape weekend to . . . who knows where?

Post and picture used with permission of author Sue Wiles (Pheonix Blue Mountains Club)

Hills Long Distance Meet – 6 May 2018

Report by Katrina Burgess

It was a merry group of five plus Pete Sharman that attended the Hills Long Distance Meet on 6 May 2018 at Galston.

The Galston pool is a small 25m slightly too warm pool, and the event is run with staggered starts, thus swimmers going off individually on the whistle in effect like ‘time trials’.

Ann Reid manned the marshalling table the entire day due to her inability to swim from recent foot surgery which continues to keep her out of the water. Congratulations to Ann, she controlled the marshalling with such high precision that the swim meet finished two hours ahead of schedule!

The four swimmers: Kylie Lane, Caroline Makin, Katrina Burgess and Donna Campbell … mmm … all female, and all swam brilliantly.

Each girl swam a 1500m and a 400m event, and all swims added to the club’s 2018 Endurance 1000 program point score tally.

Kylie swam 1500m Freestyle and 400m Individual Medley and both of these swims were PBs. Kylie is only new to the idea of endurance swimming as she previously just focused on her sprinting ability – it is marvellous to see her enthusiasm and rapid improvement since experimenting with the longer distances and coming to the “dark side”.

Caz also swam 1500m Freestyle and 400m Individual Medley, still nursing the tail end of a head cold, moving up to a new age group this year and breaking three existing club records including the 400 and 800 during the 1500m Freestyle, and then another record in the 400m IM.

Katrina swam 1500m Backstroke and 400m Breaststroke, and must thank Pete for his amazing massage skills as she was so pleased to have swam as well as she did with her current neck injury. As well as setting the club record in the Backstroke, she achieved a PB and club record in her Breaststroke swim.

Donna swam the 1500m Breaststroke and 400m Backstroke, and came away with two further PBs. In the 1500m Breaststroke she scored herself three club records as she set the 400, and smashed the 800 along the way to the final 1500m finish.

Our club placed 6th from 21 clubs overall, and placed 1st on average points per swimmer – way to go Vikings!

Full results are available.