Vikings lap it up at the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games 2023

Report by Caz Makin, Publicity Officer

The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games are held every two years in Cairns. The sixth edition took place from 25-27 May 2023, with the swimming event being run by Masters Swimming Queensland at the Tobruk Memorial Pool over three days, attracting 162 participants from 45 clubs around the country. 

Donna, Caz & Kris at the Tobruk Memorial Pool

Three Vikings: Donna Campbell, Caz Makin, and Kris Kennedy headed to beautiful North Queensland to participate.

One additional Viking, Ron Watkins, who lives locally in Cairns also participated.

The medals on offer were slightly different from the usual format, being made from carved wood rather than metal. The Viking warriors brought a fair amount of wooden bling back to Canberra with them!

Participation was sadly a lot lower numbers than in 2021, which meant some very fast turnarounds between swims with little recovery time!

Donna Campbell enjoyed the GBRMG for the second time, claiming it was “a beautiful pool, beautiful weather, and beautiful Cairns“. Donna was happy with her two gold and two silver placings after a disrupted training schedule in the lead-up.

Kris Kennedy “had a great time at the Games both in and out of the pool” and the highlight for Kris was her gold placings in the four Backstroke events: 50m, 100m, 200m, and 400m, and a bronze in the 200m Individual Medley.

Donna and Kris were excited and chuffed to have met Leisel Jones as well as Arianna Titmus and coach Dean Boxall whilst at the event. Donna and Kris stayed on in Cairns for a couple of days to do some tourist activities including a boat trip out to the reef.

Kris and Donna with Arianne Titmus
Donna and Kris with swimming legend, Leisel Jones

Caz Makin was also a second-time participant at the Games, and had “lots of fun at the pool hanging out with NSW and QLD swimming friends“.

Caz scored four gold and three silver placings plus she broke Games Records in the 100m, 200m, and 400m Freestyle.

Caz also swam with a team of NSW Ladies in the 4x50m Freestyle who placed first and a 4x50m Mixed Medley relay with Qld swimmers, also placing first.

NSW Ladies Freestyle Relay Team: Megan, Caz, Bel & Lauren
Caz with River City swimmers

Dinner location in Port Douglas!

Caz had lots of social time with Brisbane swimming pals, which even included a trip to Port Douglas for dinner to enjoy amazing food at the beautiful Harrisons Restaurant at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.

Ron Watkins, who swims magnificently in the 80-85 age group and lives in Cairns, swam in four individual events: 50m and 100m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly, and 50m Backstroke securing four gold placings. Ron also caught up with his son Troy who swims for Woden Masters in Canberra and was also participating in a number of pool events.

Read the full report from Masters Swimming Queensland.

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