11 Nov 2019

The Leander family is vast and diverse.

A team of champions;

This isn't just because we have National champions amongst our swimming team; England players in our Polo team and British, European and World Record Holders in our Masters team but because we champion the ethos of swimming happy, just as much as we champion swimming fast.

This is evident in abundance amongst our Masters team, where swimming is the happy place for many and a fine balance is struck between training hard(ish) and enjoying a laugh or two…

The National Inter Counties meet is the premier team competition in the Masters season where a series of regional meets are run simultaneously across the country in a virtual gala to determine the best county in the country.

The Leander team put to bed any local rivalries to join forces with swimmers from CABSC, Carlton Forum, Hucknall Polo and Arnold, competing in lots of 50m sprint events in individual age groups which span from 18+ up to 75+ and relays which range from 72+ up to a combined age of 260yrs+. Swimming is definitely a sport for life!

After winning the East Midlands inter counties earlier this year, we came in with good form but were up against stiff competition from previous national champions, Warwickshire, alongside teams from Leicestershire, Shropshire, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.

The representatives of the Leander team really do reflect the reach and breadth our family has. Lifelong members competed alongside Leander coaches (both current and former), water polo players (and coaches) shared relays with recent graduates from our senior squad and there was a whole bunch of recruits who’ve been swept up along the way by the green tide!

With 70 races taking place in under 2hrs, and swimmers able to compete across age groups there were some big shifts to be done. However our secret weapon is that the format plays perfectly into our Masters' training strategy affectionately known as ”On Mondays We Race”.  

The Masters' legendary #MNRN (Monday Night Race Night) session prepared the team to swim fast over and over and over again. So just like the Arena League team on Saturday #WeWereReady.

It’s hard to single out performances on a day where swimming fast is worth equal weight to swimming gutsy and where having a fun day out at the races is the ultimate objective but here’s a snapshot:

  • Individual victories for Alex Thurston, Amy K (x2) and Georgia Hohmann (x2). Georgia also swam British record breaking times on all 4 of her 50bk swims including the fastest of the lot at 29.4 seconds - WOW!!
  • Tony Taylor, Alan Falconer and Lesley Cliff competed in our 65+ age group in awesome style and showing us all swimming fast ignores any age!
  • Amy, Georgia and Jonny for doubling up on Arena league and inter county duties this weekend – combining for 19 Races on Sunday following on from their 11 from Saturday night!
  • Our successful relay teams – 72+ W Medley (Georgia, Amy, Abi, Meg), 180+ M Free (Andi, Hase, Pete), 100+ W Medley (Georgia, Amy, Emma C, Abi).

You might be forgiven for thinking that once you graduate into the world of Masters swimming; you’ve been around the blocks long enough that you don’t make errors…but it seems the errors of age group swimming never die out!

Highlights from this weekend included: a swimmer stepping up onto the block in board shorts over the top of his racing jammers, a swimmer racing with their goggles upside down, accidentally competing in the wrong lane and a goggle coming off mid race! But fortunately many a laugh was had.

Poolside is also very much the same with bags of sweets shared as races are analysed and many many many stories recounted of victories past…Back in my day…that’s what they all say!

After 2hrs of swimming the water settled and the local competition’s points were crunched – Notts 2nd behind Warwickshire, 100+ points clear of 3rd place…we’ll await the national results as excel wizards across the country unite to work out who finished where but the team can be proud that they came, swam pretty fast, swam pretty fast again and again and again…and had fun doing it!

Special thanks to Sue Arrowsmith for her relentless efforts in organising the team, she’s absolutely critical to getting swimmers to turn out and therefore the successes the team has in the pool – it can’t be underestimated how tough a task this is and the extent to which she goes to pull the team together. Also to our expert team manager on the day, Rich, who herded the team successfully to their races with cool efficiency.

In between heavy panting from finishing 4 races; Masters coach Alex Thurston said "It was so great to see so many Leander Masters’ swimmers representing the county. It was a fast and furious afternoon of fast fifties!! Well done to all involved - swimmers and organisers!...Oooooosh!!”

We hope all Octopuses had a deserved treat tea…maybe even a Maccies on the way back home. A age-group swimmers beware! The Masters are coming for you at Club Champs!…

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swimming, masters