Colours covered again by Masters in Crawley

James Mactavish CSSC MASTERS

With 2020 being a European Masters year, it came as no surprise that the kick off to the new decade for Masters Swimming at the K2 Centre, Crawley saw capacity reached in record time. Over a month before the official close date, events were full as competitors from across not just the Region but all of the UK descended down South with an aim to clock up vital qualifying times ahead of Budapest in July. 

Such an early curtain call, combined with its earlier annual timing (Olympic Year also lets not forget!) meant that many Hampshire Masters Clubs either missed the cut or decided to sit this one out in favour of more local events. Basingstoke Bluefins, Fareham Nomads, Winchester and Havant and Waterlooville keeping attendance to a minimum - leaving the provincial rivals of Guildford, Kent Masters, Bracknell and Mid-Sussex Marlins to bulk up the events together with regulars from London-based Spencer and Otter SC. 

So popular were the less frequently available 400m and 800m events that the 50m and 100m sprints appeared as little more than an appetiser - holding only 4-6 heats in comparison to over 12 for middle to long distance races. City of Southampton's only entry, James MacTavish (35-39yrs) opted for the single day of competition and sat neatly between this divide, taking on the 400m FC (04.50.61), 200m Back (02.46.72) and 200m Breast (03.05.12). 

Despite just about every age-division from 25yrs+ to over 60yrs+ having at least one or two stand-out performers down in name, the usual cold and flu season did take its toll on attendance. If not that, clearly the Christmas Season left several a shade out of sorts when it came to matching their entry times, leaving podium places open for the taking.

Over the 400m FC, the absence of Guildford's Robert Duran allowed the Coach to snatch the Regional Title over the 400m FC with a 4 second Masters PB from nearest rival Guy Armstrong of Kent SC - slowly coming back into the Masters fold after a year of absence. The 200m Back saw a Masters-best equalling swim from the 38 year old, but having to settle for Silver behind Enfield's Luca Guiccardi. 200m Breast was not down as a medal chance on paper, but a slip up from the formidable Robert Messenger of Dover SC permitted the final podium place behind Kent SC's breaststroke specialist Stewart Grant. A clean sweep once again!

Early 2020 will prove to be an exciting but busy time for Southampton Masters, with the Royal Navy Meet back on the agenda for February and Fareham Nomads returning for their third annual Masters Meet in March at The Quays. The latter set to be a more vivid affair in terms of Red and White attendance!

MEDAL TALLY:

GOLD : 1

SILVER : 1

BRONZE : 1

James MacTavish

CSSC Masters Coach