Hampshire Masters retain Inter-County Championship title in the Capital

James MacTavish

An Olympic effort and near-decade long first for the South East Regional Masters as 2022 saw all Seven of the County Regions field exceptionally strong teams for the annual Inter-County Masters Championships...including the ever-elusive Middlesex ASA, sadly absent for a number of years but now back with a vengence. 

Hosted by Kent ASA, quite the coup achieved to win the venue of the London Aquatics Centre for the Sunday afternoon...its prestige undoubtledly stirring all regions into rangling their very best Masters swimmers aged 18yrs right up to over 75yrs. The line up of Hampshire / Channel Islands, Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Oxfordshire, Berkshire / Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Oxfordshire boasts some of the finest mature swimmers from across Britain, with our very own County the defending champions. Last minute pleas and social media posts flew from organisers Martin Bennell, James MacTavish and Spencer/Fleur Turner to get every fit and able swimmer stand to attention, including a quartet from the gold-mine of talent that was our Channel Island cousins. The Red and Yellows were a lean team, fewer in number to fellow contingents (with several atheltes, including the near indefatigable IOW swimmer Graham Harris - 71 years of age - swimming every 50m race possible) but stacked with quality and determination...made clear by an impressive dominance over nearly every relay whether it was 72yrs+ or 260yrs+. Impressive individual swims from Bennell and the Turners (Basingtoke Bluefins) Jo Corben (South Down Trojans SC), Neil / Sam Redman (Portsmouth Northsea) and Chris Jones (Portsmouth Northsea) clicked the overall points tally firmly in favour of the most Westerly contingent. Some blistering sprint pacing from the younger relay teams, Women (Sam Wilson/Melissa Dolby/Lara Chalton/Gemma Atherley/Laura le Cras) and Men (Daniel Wass/Michael Andrews/Clive Marquis/Brendan Giltinane) saw comfortable leads over fierce Sussex and Middlesex offerings. 

Southampton Masters had two call ups in Dobly (25-29yrs) and Sarah Aldridge (50-54yrs), both putting in solid efforts across 50m Butterfly and 50m Breastroke respectively in addition to several polished relay swims. In an event built upon exclusively 50m racing, squeezing in a spot for selection is an achievement in itself, so well done Ladies!

The impressive Inter-County Trophy returns to Hampshire ASA safely for another year, but this annual event is certainly heating up and despite a comfortable winning margin, we'll need to keep an eye on the swelling strength of Surrey, Sussex and London-based Middlesex all of which are sure to keep us on our toes.

Now we wait to see how Hampshire ASA faired in the National Swim England rankings...another Top.3 finish would be delightful I must say!


Hampshire / Channel Islands ASA : 387

Middlesex ASA : 340

Berkshire and Buckinghamshire ASA : 308

Sussex ASA : 287

Surrey ASA : 286.5

Kent ASA : 266.5

Oxfordshire ASA :149

James MacTavish

Hamsphire ASA Masters Secretary / CSSC Masters

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