18 Feb 2009

11th Isle of Wight Masters Open Meet

2009 news Comments Off on 11th Isle of Wight Masters Open Meet

For the tenth year in succession, records tumbled at the 2009 Heights Isle of Wight Open Masters Meet, held on a beautiful sunny weekend.

Although the swimmers were fewer in numbers than in some of the earlier meets, the friendly atmosphere remained at the Heights Leisure Centre, one the first indoor public pools built on the Island.

110 swimmers, including 13 from Isle of Wight Marlins and 9 from West Wight, enjoyed a full programme of events over two days with some very fast swims being recorded, including 6 British, 6 European and 1 World.

However, it is always pleasing to welcome adult swimmers of all ages and abilities, from 18 – 95 years, many who were enjoying swimming for their first time in Masters competition.

The record breakers were Anne Bourne 55 from Camp Hill Edwardians Swimming Club in Birmingham and John Harrison 95 this year, swimming for the Royal Navy team. Both entered the Masters swimming record books five years ago at the Heights in 2004, when in their previous age groups.

Anne, who was accompanied by her GB coach, Gerry Thain, is a regular Heights Competitor, as is John. (It just so happens that meet manager Jenny Ball, attended the King Edwards Camp Hill School in the fifties, though it did not boast it’s own swimming pool then!)

Anne’s 800m swim in 10 minutes. 49.23 secs. Was a new British and European Masters record in the 55-59 years age group.

John, now swimming in the 95-99 years age group, was creating a new page in the Masters swimming history book with his five new British and European times.

No British swimmer has ever swum in this age group before! Not looking his age and certainly not five years older than in 2004, John jumped into the pool and proceeded to set two freestyle and three backstroke records, the last of which was a World record, off which he shaved a whole three quarters of a minute!

His times were:

100m freestyle 2.43.76
200m freestyle 5.55.45
50m backstroke 1.13.45
100m backstroke 2.57.20 set at the half way point in his 200m swim
200m backstroke 6.18.51

Another “record” was made in the 100m free by 24 year old Philip Muspratt from Salisbury when he recorded the fastest time in the eleven years of Masters’ competition at the Heights, in a time of 53.96 secs.

In the 50m freestyle his time of 24.77 was just over half a second faster than that of 19 year old Island Games team swimmer Sam Tinson-Wood 25.32 making a very exciting penultimate finishing event to the meet.

The final event was a successful record attempt on the 100 and 200 metres backstroke World record by John Harrison, which brought the entire pool crowd to it’s feet cheering and clapping. Some of John’s earlier swims set times not previously attempted in his age group but John had to swim faster than a 95 year old American in this last race, to achieve a World record which he did in great style.
(All records are of course, subject to ratification by respective swimming governing bodies)

Teams compete for the “Heights” aggregate cup and was won for the second year in succession by Ruislip and Northwood with 234 points. London based Otter Masters were second 144 points with West Wight in third place.

Isle of Wight Marlins were close behind in fourth place with 122 points. Twenty six clubs from all over the south and west of the country were joined this year by swimmers from Italy and Germany, giving the occasion a truly international dimension.

As always, the staff at the Heights Leisure Centre, warmly welcomed the swimmers and team of hard working officials, who were led by referees Bob Cooper and David Carter, both of whom are from the mainland but have Island based families. All seemed to enjoy the annual event, (especially the catering!) as much as the participants .

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