19 July 2017
After 26 weeks of hard work, kick sets, cramp and occasional fun it was time for the Elmbridge Phoenix swimmers to compete at the Surrey Masters 2017. A record 18 Elmbridge masters travelled to Surrey Sports Park to compete in a jam packed day full of individuals and relays.
It was fantastic to see so many of the masters gain pbs and win medals throughout the day. Mark Donnison continued to progress in his freestyle events coming away with personal bests in 200m, 100m and 50m free and a bronze in the 200m. Elmbridge newcomers Julian Bastida and Helen Lawrenson had a great return to racing, with Julian taking gold in the 50m breast and silvers in the 100IM and 25m breast. In addition to this Helen stormed to gold in the 50m,25m breast and 100IM.
Despite a goggle malfunction in the 100IM, Lloyd Edwards showed off his speed with some fast swims in the 25m free and 25m fly as well as a bronze medal in the 50m fly. Both Natasha and Dean took a clean sweep of gold medals taking 11 gold medals between them. Dean smashed his short course 50m free pb with a 25.62 a massive .30 off his time set back in 2016. Natasha matched her pbs for 50m back and 50m free and then smashed her 50m fly time by .70 to achieve a new personal best of 32.12.
Mark Lufkin swam to a silver place in the 100m and gained a 34.97 in the 50m backstroke, his fastest swim since 2012! It was unbelieveable how he managed to avoid disqualification at the start of his 100IM with a casual freestyle breakout, but a cheeky change of stroke into fly seemed to evade the officials. Kathryn MacCallum came back from some injury setbacks and time away from the pool to smash home personal bests in both the 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle, as well as a silver in the breast. A fantastic come back from her.
Craig Singer swam two incredible pbs. The first came in his 100IM where he beat his previous pb from 2008 to go 1:24.10. He followed this up with a 1.2 second pb in his 50m butterfly. Another annual Surrey Masters for Graham Potter saw him take home 3 golds, proving he still has the speed to be the best. The Vincers where back in force, with Will smashing two golds in the 200m free and 100m free and a silver in the 25m and 50m free. Will shaved off more time in his 100 free to get down to 1:00.13 and it is only a matter of time before he hits that sub 60!! In addition to this Laura stormed to a bronze in the 50m fly with only a handful of training sessions under her belt.
Sarah Hempenstall managed to race an open water event in Weymouth Saturday morning and travel back up to Guildford in time for the final session in the afternoon. After convincing officials, she entered as a wildcard for the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle and hit some very strong times. She continues to impress myself and the EPSC team with her endless amount of energy. Seb Leather was back in the pool, wearing his green and purple speedo trunks and terrible vest lines, he looked like he was sponsored by EPSC with his sunburnt vest embroided into his skin. What a return to racing it was for him. He achieved PBs in all his races, with the pick of his races being a 3 second pb in the 100m free to go 53.98.
The EPSC Masters squad rounded off a fantastic day finishing 3rd in the relay table with 80 points (9 better than last year) behind two strong masters teams in Guildford and Godalming. Big thank you to Matthew Gordon, Roberta Lufkin and Ellie Hurst-Frost who came to help the team with relays, and smashed their races when we needed them to.
Since I have started working with the masters, the team have grown from strength to strength going from 24 golds, 4 silvers and 3 bronze medals in 2016 to 24 golds, 9 silvers and 5 bronze in 2017. In addition to this EPSC moved up to 6th in overall points total 40 points and one position better than 2016. The fact that this small squad can only train maximum 3 times a week shows the hard work and determination they have put in and I hope they continue to push towards the next event.
Assistant Head Coach