CSSC Masters impressive return to form continues at Regionals

James MacTavish

The South East Regional Masters Short Course Championships returned after its COVID-interrupted 2020 schedule with a new venue - The K2 Centre, Crawley - and a new look and feel. Whilst the Swim England protocols for safe-swimming in what is described now as the 'new normal' brought far more formality to this traditionally relaxed day of competition (whipping areas, socially distanced spectating and event a pre-event briefing for all swimmers and officials) the racing itself remained as strong and as passionate as ever, with four World, One European and Two British records all falling during a brisk two sessions of over-subscribed events. 

Southampton Masters travelled through horrendous weather and frugal petrol conditions to the south belt of London - the team of Seven coming away with a total of eleven Regional Titles...a record in itself I believe. Leading the charge was Melissa Dolby (25-29yrs), missing out on the recent County Masters Championships but back with a bang snatching Golds in each of her four sprint events - holding off newly crowned Hampshire Masters Record holder Samantha Wilson of Rushmoor Royals to take both the 50m FC (00.27.43) and 100m FC (01.00.23) for top podium spot. A  Championship Record fell in the 100m IM (01.09.00) before the final forth Gold in the 50m Butterfly (00.30.18) finished off an expectional day for the 26-year-old. 

The Age-Group above had distance-specialist Fiona Carroll (30-34yrs) dominate the FC events from 50m (00.29.34) all the way up to a powerful 400m FC (04.41.45), matching Dolby's quartet of Titles and finishing the day with an impresive 200m FC Season's Best (02.14.56). Hannah Dicker  (25-29yrs) narrowly missed the top-slot to Spencer's Helen Cumber in the 50m Backstroke (00.34.18) but got the better of the London competitor in the 50m FC (00.29.84) to take the Bronze behind Dolby and Wilson. 

Kae Neustadt (45-49yrs) completed a trio of races with some more Season's Best performances notching up Top.10 finishes in the 50m FC (00.41.07), 100m FC (01.31.33) and 100m IM (01.48.88) in a tough Age-Division featuring newly crowned British Record Holder Fleur Turner of Basingstoke Bluefins. Duncan Lip (45-49yrs) managed impressive Top.5 swims across the same events - 50m FC (00.32.26), 100m FC (01.13.20) and 100m IM (01.27.62). 

Carl Halford (25-29yrs) opted for favoured FC sprint distances, out-touched by Kent Weald's Ashley Dyson on the 50m FC (00.26.37) and settling for Silver, but going one better in the 100m FC (00.57.94) for Gold. James MacTavish (35-39yrs) made the most of his final showing the upper-30-year Age-Division with a Personal Best in the 400M FC (04.40.93) and solid 100m Butterfly (01.08.46) to claim double-Titles...whilst also acting as Chief Whip for much of the event (very sore legs come the end of the day!)

Spotlight was heavily on Jane Asher MBE - with the 90-year-old going for a string of World Record swims, and as always, not dissappointing! From the 50m Backstroke to the 200m FC, the remarkable veteran shaved seconds off the previous World-Best times...managing a smile each time and a joke about not always having her hearing aid in for the starting bleep! 

A well-run competition at a great venue that will hopefully be repeated for Long Course Regional Championships in January 2022. Congratulations to all CSSC Masters for incredible results. 

GOLD : 11

SILVER : 2

BRONZE : 1

TOTAL : 14

James MacTavish

CSSC Masters Coach