Long Course returns with Regional Masters

James MacTavish

The final Masters Long Course Championships before COVID-19 lockdown took place at the K2 Centre, Crawley - that was back in 2020. The two years that followed saw Masters swimmers take to the wilds of open water swimming, try to adapt to dry land sports like running and cycling, and towards the end, sneak in a 25m competition or two if lucky!

Any age will tell you that 50m competitions are always different, no matter what the event or stroke. The welcome return to South East Regional Masters Long Course Championships back at the very venue that closed the calendar for 24 months saw a quartet of Southampton Masters that had certainly put the training in, but likely all feeling unfamiliar with the lack of tumble and touch turns. Opting for a single day from the weekend, the sprint events proved lucrative for the Reds with Melissa Dolby (25-29yrs) and Fiona Carroll (30-34yrs) both sharing spoils from the 50m and 100m FC races. Dolby took her debut Long Course Regional title in the 50m FC (00.28.08) with a quick out-touch over Sammy Wilson of Rushmoor, repeated on the 100m FC (01.02.49) but settling for Silver behind Portsmouth Northsea's Emily Blissett. Carroll comfortably took the 100m FC (01.04.38) although was made to work over the rapid 50m FC (00.30.20) to claim her second Regional Gold over Woking's Hannah Angell. 

The Men had Carl Halford (25-29yrs) battle in arguably the toughest age-division, securing Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke (00.36.23) and a respectable Top.5 finish in the 100m FC (00.59.48) against Portsmouth Northsea regulars Adam Toy and Michael Andrews. James MacTavish (40-44yrs) entered a new age-division and with it claimed the squad's first Regional Title over the 400m FC (04.52.87) going stroke-for-stroke with familiar Kent Weald rival Guy Armstrong, before a surprise Silver over the less-preferred 200m Breaststroke (03.00.99) in a Personal Best time. 

With lockdown measures slowly easing, the hope is to regain the regular Masters event calendar over the next six month cycle, including Royal Navy, County and British National Championships all this side of July. As learnt from 2021, everything is subject to change, but Southampton Masters will take (and celebrate) the chances of friendly competition whenever they arrive...hopefully with a bit more Long Course training in the near future!

GOLD : 4




James MacTavish

City of Southampton Masters Coach