Southampton Masters kick-start 2023 at K2, Crawley

James MacTavish

The New Year begins as always with the Masters South East Regional Long Course Championships at the ever-familiar K2 Centre, Crawley - a venue that's certainly been getting its revenue from the forever aging racing swimmer! Always a challenge to pick the training up so close after the festive period, but some added incentive with British National Masters this year having some steep qualifying times and the COVID-19 pandemic no longer being much of an excuse. That said, opportunities to register a 50m pool time for Masters are extremely limited in the run-up to the Summer season, so just as well our coastal part of England does get its act together for this important two-day event. 

The Southampton Masters quintet decided on just the one day of swimming, leaning towards a pacy middle-distance programme for most, with both Fiona Carroll (30-34yrs) and Lucy Gruner (40-44yrs) opting for the 400m FC early on the frosty morning, Carroll finally claiming a long-overdue Regional title with an impressive sub-five minute touch (04.56.36), Gruner just missing out by two-seconds (05.37.59) but comfortably under the six-minute mark. Both swimmers went for the halve distance of 200m FC later in the day, Carroll taking a second Gold (02.21.75) and Gruner this time going one better with a well-deserved Bronze (02.37.90).

Matt Nash (25-29yrs) made both a new age-group and Long Course debut with an impressive outing in the 200m IM (02.48.16) and taking Silver for his efforts ahead of a slick 50m Fly (00.29.71) and a finger-tip joint Bronze with Bracknell's Joe Kirkpatrick. James MacTavish (40-44yrs) exchanged a typical 400m FC for a 200m IM (02.40.67) to claim another team Silver behind local favourite Martinus Marx of Crawley, before matching Gruner's efforts in a laboured 200m FC (02.21.86). 

A quick dash up the M3 for Kim Tarrant (55-59yrs) and always worthwhile, for a strong 100m Breaststroke (01.41.32) saw off stern competition Anke Brune of Brighton to take the Reds' third regional title of the meet. 

Despite a slightly depleted contingent, some superb swims and a touch of risk by entering more gruelling distances saw Southampton Masters eclipse last year's Long Course Regional tally by two podium places - a polished start to the year and hopefully more to come from forthcoming Royal Navy Masters and potentially Welsh Nationals later into February and March. 


GOLD : 3



James MacTavish

CSSC Masters Coach