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39th Masters Swimming National Championships – 23-27 April 2014

Report by Anne Smyth, Head Coach & Caroline Makin, Club Captain

What a fantastic 39th Masters Swimming Nationals Championships at Rockhampton! The newly refurbished 10 lane 50m pool with its new roof turned out to be a spectacular swim facility and produced many expecpionally fast swims by our 10 Vikings who made the trip north to sunny Queensland for the 2014 Nationals.

The Championships embodied all of Masters Swimming’s ideals of fun, friendship and fitness. Our crew of 10 certainly made themselves known to all around the pool and truly showed that Tuggeranong Masters Swimming ACT is a force to be reckoned with. Our dynamic club finished 8th in the overall point score out of 93 clubs – what a fantastic effort with only 10 swimmers! Our team also achieved the highest average point score per swimmer from the eligible clubs with enough swimmers.

It was a huge week, swimming hard during the day and managing to fit in lots of socialising in the evenings – the team really enjoyed getting to know fellow NSW competitors better and meeting new swimmers from all around Australia. The Anzac Day service held at the pool was a special highlight and it was really moving to sing the national anthem and listen to the last post.

Brenda, Kade and Katrina attended the presentation dinner on the Saturday night and had a lovely evening. Liz decided racing an ocean swim was not for her and headed back to Canberra on the Sunday morning, whilst six of our swimmers were on their way to the coast at 5.30am to tackle the open water swims at Yepoon: Caz (5km), Tara (5km), Anne (2.5km), Ian (2.5km), Nicolee (2.5km) and Marianne (1.25km) which was a nice way to finish off the week with a dip in the ocean – although not sure you can call the 5km event merely a ‘dip’?!

Our total tally of individual medals was 18 Gold, 12 Silver and 12 Bronze plus a relay Gold, Silver and Bronze from our 6 relay teams. Our swimmers did well in their overall age group point scores with totals from the pool events as follows …

Name Age Group Events Points
Kade Burgess Men’s 18-24 12 104
Tara Olsthoorn Women’s 30-34 10 98
Anne Smyth Women’s 50-54 9 77
Brenda Day Women’s 65-69 12 72
Marianne Tweedie Women’s 30-34 10 61
Caroline Makin Women’s 45-49 12 59
Katrina Burgess Women’s 45-49 12 49
Ian Hampton Men’s 65-69 8 48
Elizabeth Needham Women’s 55-59 8 26
Nicolee Martin Women’s 45-49 9 25

The highlights from each of our swimmers were:

Ian Hampton …  “First ever 200m Fly where I managed to keep some kind of stroke going over the final 50m and ‘hang in there’ for 2nd place. 200m IM – closest to nominated time of my longer swims – Reasonable effort and finished in tie for 3rd place. I really enjoyed the Mixed 4x50m Freestyle Relay with mix of young and older swimmers … we did pretty well for 2nd place. I thought it was outstanding how all of the ‘girls’ swam the second half of the longer 800m & 400m Freestyle – either maintaining pace or even negative splitting … outstanding coaching and controlled technique and courage by all :-)

Brenda Day … “My highlight was my gold medal in the 200m Fly but I was also stoked to get bronze in the 100m Backstroke with Ian’s encouragement.”

Liz Needham …  “I couldn’t tell you which was my best swim , but the girls tell me my 50m Backstroke was great and that I sped up the pool and was actually puffed at the end! The branch relay at the end was good seeing everyone from around the country involved.”

Anne Smyth … “I was so surprised to swim a PB in my 400m IM – a time I never thought I could achieve to break my time I set at Nationals in 2011 at Perth.  I was really proud of the team and so satisfied as a coach to see so many of our swimmers smashing PBs and having a superb meet.”

Nicolee Martin  “I was really happy with my 800m Freestyle and breaking the 12 minute barrier for the first time. I also really enjoyed the 2.5km open water swim.”

Katrina Burgess … “I was so happy to get the bronze medal in the 200m Fly and also completing 12 pool swims, which was my overall aim for the meet.”

Caroline Makin … “PBs beyond belief and my hard work at training paying off big style! … Absolutely delighted with my 400m IM taking the Bronze medal, but my most emotional swim was the 50m Fly taking another 1.5 seconds off the PB I set at States just three weeks earlier … I just wish my sister Philippa and my Dad in the UK could have been there to see me swim that – they would have been so proud of me to see the time I swam in the stroke that was by far my worst as a kid back in the UK!”

Marianne Tweedie  “All of my Freestyle swims were PBs but my best swim was my 200m Freestyle on the final day – I was really happy with my time and the way I swam my race, taking 3 seconds off my PB set at States.”

Tara Olsthoorn … “My first event – the 400m IM – set me up for a great meet – I was ready to play – it was game on! The branch relay at the end was fun with my team mates loudly cheering on the NSW team – they were all lined up on the side of the pool deck all still wearing their Vikings club caps and making a huge amount of noise!”

Kade Burgess … ” The gold medal in 200m Backstroke was my favourite swim from the meet. I also had great fun using my coach’s iPad app to take the splits of all the girls swimming in the 800m & 400m Freestyle events!”

Hobart is the location for the 40th Masters Swimming National Championships in 2015 where the racing will be in short course for the first time in five years since Nationals was last in Tasmania. We will all be going again and would love more of our team mates there next year! Nationals is such a great event to be part of no matter what your age or ability.

Big congratulations to all our swimmers and to our coaches Brenda, Leisa, Jeanette, Caz and Anne for all their hard work, thought and effort at training over the past few months – it certainly has paid off - Go You Vikings!!!

More photos and full results are available via the Masters Swimming QLD website.

Mastering Freestyle Workshop – 6 July 2013

Report by Anne Smyth

Our Club Captain, Caroline Makin and Coaching Director, Anne Smyth worked away behind the scenes to organise a fabulous opportunity for our swimmers to take part in a ‘Mastering Freestyle’ Workshop on Saturday, 6 July 2013 which was run by a superb guest coach - Brenton Ford.

32 swimmers participated in this Freestyle workshop, and we were all very excited to have Brenton up from Melbourne for the day to run the two sessions for our members.  Brenton coaches the Powerpoints Masters Swimminng Club and is currently the Australian Masters Swimming ‘Coach of the Year 2012′.

The workshop was aimed at improving Freestyle by focusing on various aspects of the stroke and learning drills to refine your swimming. Everyone benefited from this extended focus on technique and came away with many new tips to try.

We finished the afternoon with a very sociable chat and drinks at our local Vikings Club which was a great way to end the day.

Those who couldn’t attend the clinic will still benefit from the workshop as the coaches will be reinforcing these techniques and drills in training. We are aiming to hold more workshops with Brenton and other coaches in the coming 12 months, as they are an excellent way of improving stroke technique.

Brenton Ford also runs a website www.effortlessswimming.com which is a fantastic resource – check it out if you are keen to develop your stroke technique and get more tips about your swimming!


Thredbo Swimming Camp 2012

Report by Roger Dietrich

Fin, Fatigue, Feebleness, Frailty and Floundering ….

… should perhaps be the new Masters Swimming motto following the 2012 Thredbo Swimming Camp, which was held on the October Long Weekend from 28 September – 1 October 2012.

The weekend saw the alpine weather really turn it on for us with heavy rainfall on our arrival on the Friday afternoon and the Thredbo Village lightly covered in snow the next morning. Then there were heavy flurries of snow falling throughout the day on Saturday. The Sunday was cloudy and cool and as the camp was finishing on the Monday it was a beautiful clear day with the snow covered mountains providing the ideal backdrop for those wishing to ski the slopes following the end of the camp.

Eight of our members including Anne Smythe, Kristen Leydon, Nicolee Martin, Annette Britten, Pam Munday, Ian Hampton, Caroline Makin and Roger Dietrich attended the camp with several members of Ryde Club and a couple of Bushrangers from Albury.

Ryde coach, Greg Lewin really put us through our paces for six sessions of two hours each that were focused primarily on sprint training which was aimed at improving and increasing general aerobic fitness. Whilst only one camp is not going to improve this type of fitness dramatically, the ideas taken away from the camp will be invaluable for us in the lead up to the National Championships in April next year.

Although it was not mandatory that each session be completed, there were several types of Vikings swimmers. Those that were unwell and attended the first session only and watched, those that slept in each morning and attended the evening sessions only, those that were late arriving and missed the first couple of sessions and those that swam all sessions combined with those that did and didn’t visit the pub each night.

We even managed to include a fun game of snakes and ladders, throwing a dice to determine which set we would swim in each lane to keep things mixed up and interesting!

Our association with the Ryde Club seems to be very useful to both clubs and it is hoped that more of our members can attend the camp next year. The camp was carried out in the true spirit of the Masters Swimming motto, Fun, Fitness and Friendship.

Ryde Masters club write up from the weekend is also available to read and below are the personal thoughts of several of our club members that attended the camp … …

Anne Smythe 

A fantastic weekend of intense swimming sessions! It was great to have the time in each session to really get stuck into aerobic sets and developing starts and turns. A really worthwhile experience – although I was extremely tired on Sunday night and I didn’t even complete the entire weekend! Great to swim while watching the snow falling outside!!!

Nicolee Martin

It was a fabulous weekend! Great training, great company and great food, three of my favourite things but not necessarily in that order! The snow gods were also kind and it was terrific to get some thigh burning action in on the ski slopes to counterbalance all that arm work we were doing in the pool! Was a little worried about how I would cope with the 7am sessions not being the early morning person I truly wish I was, but they were well balanced and quite manageable. Will definitely be back for more next year and recommend it to all those who missed out this time!

Roger Dietrich

The Thredbo camp was my first ever swimming camp and I had never even done anything like it when I was swimming as a kid. I was a little worried how I would cope as I had not been training a lot in the lead up to the camp and was pretty unfit in addition to me being used to more casual distance training rather than sprint sessions. 

I managed the first two sessions and in the third session I did my own thing and it made it more like my usual distance training session. The fourth session on Sunday morning I slept through and also slept through Greg’s alarm and him leaving early. Sunday evening and Monday morning were then relatively easy for me. Overall it was a very worthwhile weekend for me and made me realise how much harder I have to train to go faster, which is the ultimate goal.

Our thanks go to Susan, Greg and Wendy. It was great meeting more people from Ryde Club and getting to know people from Tuggeranong a lot more.

Caroline Makin

Coming back to the Thredbo Training Camp for a second time took a lot of courage, knowing the gruelling sessions ahead of me, and the fatigue that sets in by breakfast on the Sunday!  Last year I managed all six sessions, albeit completing one entirely as backstroke due to a sore shoulder.  This year I managed to swim every single set in all six sessions, attend three drinking sessions in the pub on the evenings, and even tagged a skiing session with Kristen and Nicolee onto the end of the camp on the Monday afternoon!  

This year the focus was sprints and starts/turns  and our fabulous coaches Greg and Wendy certainly put us through our paces with timed sprints in many of the sessions and repeatedly practicing our starts and turns to try to perfect our technique.  The feedback and advice was useful for all of us, and we had some good fun in and out of the pool.   The food at Boali lodge was terrific.

Bring on year three next year – although I definitely will be investing in some remedial massage on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons between the swim sessions!!!

Annette Britten

Torrential rain, even too wet for the ducks, wind gust and the river running a banker, Welcome to Thredbo intensive swim training clinic for 2012.  What was I thinking, thankfully I had picked up snow gear in Cooma to help keep me dry.  A quick stop at Boali Lodge to unpack, how many stairs are there, and down to the pool where I took photo’s and supervised the first swim session, a game of snakes and ladders!  An interesting concept and yes adults try and cheat too!! 

Fast forward 16 hours, a nice sleep in while others supposedly worked hard and I awaken to a winter wonderland, 3 to 4 inches of snow covering the ground and cars, who would have thought it from the weather conditions from the night before.   Saturday after lunch I headed off to Friday Flats to practice up on the skills I learnt last year from my first ever skiing adventure, the brain can retain some information and I managed to stay upright and attempted some downhill skiing on small slopes without becoming too reckless and out of control. 

Swimming, did someone say I was supposed to be at a swim training clinic and actually swimming.  Ski’s off I head to the pool for my first swim session for the weekend.  Stretches, warm up, kicking sprints – OMG how sore are the calf muscles from all the stair workouts at the lodge, starts and timed sprints and a cool down and that’s me beat.  One session down and one to go, did someone say that there were six sessions! Recharging the batteries with a drink and a two course meal at Boali before heading to the pub was a great way to relax and unwind from my busy day and to catch up with the rest of the group. Sunday saw me have yet another sleep in and then head to the little slopes for yet another ski, although found that the shins and calf muscles were not up to too much.  Rest in the afternoon and off to the pool for my final swim for the weekend.  Similar session from the day before only I needed to leave half way through as one can’t miss the Grand Final of the Rugby League, just too much happening in the one weekend.

All in all a fabulous weekend with my emphasis on fun, friendship and relaxation and just forgetting about normal life.  I’m sure the lack of swimming will show at the NSW SC Championships, or maybe it won’t!!

Ian Hampton

To summarise – the Thredbo camp was once again well planned; also the detail organisation, follow up and “delivery” by Susan Leech, Greg Lewin and Wendy Seale was great.

For starters – Thredbo is a beautiful and inspiring place for a training camp, even if the weather on Friday night and Saturday morning was challenging.  Boali Lodge is also just about perfect for the purpose – Olivia and Jason are a really nice couple; they provided excellent nourishing meals and a great “atmosphere”, and then there are the STAIRS.  

The six sessions all had some common themes, nevertheless with a different theme or challenge with each one.  The first session was the easiest – but even in that session Greg Lewin gave us a challenge to push-off hard, streamline well and dolphin kick at every turn (and keep doing that with every swim); he also gave us a nice tip about freestyle arm-stroke – kick timing.  In three of the sessions – Greg and Wendy Seale combined and cooperated to time us over sprints and turns… once again this was worthwhile – I reckon we were spoilt having two coaches.

 A few thoughts about going forward from this:

Worthwhile to record the times of the swimmers who were at the camp over the next few weeks, especially at the Short Course Championships to see what sort of lift they get out of attending the camp.

Think about running a similar (if more low key camp) in the lead-up to the National Long Course Championships in April 2012.  Possible locations for the camp could be Phillip Pool, Cooma or Thredbo (once again).”