Friday 28th - Sunday 30th November
Swim England National Masters Gala - Sheffield
For many, the domestic masters swimming season reaches its pinnacle in October with the Swim England National Championships and it’s what DDMASC have been working towards throughout the summer months. Plenty of hard work was about to be put to the test with the best in the England & the rest of the United Kingdom. There were 5 swimmers representing DDMASC, all of which were ‘first timers’, so although expectations were high, so were the nerves. Even more so when some of the best universities in the country were targeting this meet and with some big names like James Wilby and Imogen Clark around poolside. This gala, in particular, had a very competitive feel to it; not the usual atmosphere found at masters galas, although very friendly, nonetheless.
Day 1 saw the arrival of DDMASC in plenty of time, so as to establish themselves in the stands, soak up the atmosphere and watch some excellent swimming as the records tumbled. First up to represent DDMASC in the 200m Freestyle were Mike Poole and Bob Wood. Mike gave a great performance, with some even paced swimming, just beating his entry time. This is much more impressive than it sounds given Mike’s recent training routine and especially in a tough event. Bob was up against it, as the reigning champion in his age group was in the next lane. They both turned within half a second of each other at the half-way mark, however, the champ regained his title as Bob narrowly missed out on the silver medal and came away with a Bronze medal in the 50-54yr age group; not a bad start for DDMASC.
The evening session was soon amongst us and it wasn’t long before Mike was up again in the 50m Breaststroke and even surprised himself with his performance. A much more relaxed Bob was in DDMASC’s final swim of the first day, the 100m Butterfly. Giving the cheering supporters a wave before his race, Bob set off steady on the 1st 50m and turned on the burners in the second 50m with an amazing last length, picking up speed to finish with an overall pb and picking up the Gold medal in the 50-54yr age group…National Champion, Bob Wood!
Day 2 was no less impressive, with a near full cohort of DDMASC swimmers in action. Anouska Rogers-Smith delivered a pb in the 50m Backstroke in her first competitive masters season and only the second time competing this year was an amazing achievement. She was up again in the women’s 100m Individually Medley with another pb, showing great progression over the season. Bob was up in the 400m Freestyle, crushing the majority of the field and completing the set of medals with a Silver Medal in the 50-54yr age group. The men’s 100m IM saw Mike Poole and Adam Howell in action, delivering some great performances. Adam, who had a significant break from swimming, in his first masters season has been working tirelessly for the past 6 months and the results spoke for themselves with a lifetime pb in the 100m IM. All 3 men were back in action in the 50m Freestyle. This 50m Freestyle event, in the masters circuit, is arguably the most competitive race and the competition is nothing less than fierce. Once again, all 3 men achieved season best times with Adam breaking his lifetime personal best.
Day 3, the final day, saw Sarah Addison representing DDMASC for the first time at a national event. Super determined to beat her 100m Freestyle pb set earlier in the year, Sarah put in a fantastic performance, setting a new pb, amazing! The final event for DDMASC was in the Men’s 100m Freestyle. Bob and Mike were up; Mike narrowly missed out on breaking the magic minute mark with a great performance after a full weekend of competitive swimming which certainly does take its toll. Bob cemented his great weekend with another Bronze medal in the 50-54yr age group, with the winner being the national record holder.
After the 3 days of swimming, DDMASC came away with 4 national medals, 10 personal bests and most importantly 5 smiling swimmers. A true inspiration to all those at the club and a great example of hard work paying dividends, Well done all…on to next year!
Men’s 50m Freestyle: 25-29yr age group – Adam Howell = 29th
Men’s 50m Freestyle: 50-54yr age group - Bob wood = 7th , Mike Poole = 11th
Men’s 100m Freestyle: 50-54yr age group – Bob Wood = 3rd, Mike Poole = 11th
Men’s 200m Freestyle: 50-54yr age group - Bob Wood = 3rd, Mike Poole = 9th
Men’s 400m Freestyle: 50-54yr age group – Bob Wood = 2nd
Men’s 100m Butterfly: 50-54yr age group – Bob Wood = 1st
Men’s 50m Backstroke: 25-29yr age group – Adam Howell = 19th
Men’s 50m Breaststroke 50-54yr age group – Mike Poole = 12th
Men’s 100m IM: 25-29yr age group – Adam Howell = 18th
Men’s 100m IM: 50-54yr age group – Mike Poole = 7th
Women’s 50m Backstroke: 30-34yr age group – Anouska Rogers-Smith = 11th
Women’s 100m Freestyle: 35-39yr age group – Sarah Addison = 17th
Women’s 100m IM: 30-34yr age group – Anouska Rogers-Smith = 16th
Iain Hodgson (Coach)
Sunday 13th November
Inter Counties Masters - Huddersfield
DDMASC’s 2022 masters swimming season concluded with the Inter-Counties Masters competition. This gives the best sprinters of the season an opportunity to be selected for the county in a national competition. 12 DDMASC swimmers were selected for Northumberland & Durham, nearly making up half of the squad, showing the strength and success the club has had over the past year. The northern counties competition was held in Huddersfield this year, which was a new venue for all swimmers. The other counties taking part were Yorkshire, Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire. Competing at the same time are the rest of the counties across the country, therefore the overall times are ranked nationally and so is the county, so every swim counts.
The inter-counties events come through thick and fast and consists of individual 50m races, along with a variety of relays. As expected, DDMASC were performing extremely strongly with pb’s for Sarah Addison, Naomi Clark, Bob Wood, Martin Whitfield, Drew Robson, Adam Howell and Elliot Hughes. Helen Murray had the most number of swims with 7 events; a true test of anaerobic tolerance. 3 of DDMASC swimmers certainly had ‘healthy glows’ and there is speculation as to whether or not this aided their performances? Up against a very strong Yorkshire and Cheshire, N&D managed a handful of wins, with a couple of 1st places for Bob Wood and Elliot Hughes. Elliot came 2nd nationally in the 25-29yr age group and Bob came 1st in the 50-54yr age group, both in the men’s 50m Butterfly, a huge achievement!
Overall, N&D came 3rd, behind Yorkshire and Cheshire. It was one of the strongest performances from N&D in many years, no doubt with the help of the DDMASC swimmers – well done everyone!
That brings the year to a close for DDMASC and a much well deserved social night out awaits us all. On to bigger and better swims and achievements in 2023. There are a couple of very proud coaches eager to make those targets a reality.
Inter County DDMASC representatives
Iain Hodgson (Coach)
Photo of DDMASC swimmers representing N&D at the Inter-Counties Masters Competition (excluding Mike Poole & Bob Wood who were late)
Billingham Masters Gala 13 March 2022
After a solid training period throughout winter, the Darlington Dolphin Masters swimmers targeted the Billingham Masters Gala for their first gala of 2022. There were 14 DDMASC swimmers in attendance which, when compared to the other clubs, appeared to be the highest turnout of any swimming club there; it was excellent to see a squad presence on the poolside.
The excitement levels were running high on poolside and with some of the swimmers competing for the first time in many decades, it certainly had that buzzing feeling to it which could only be compared to the first time they competed at a gala, where they fell in love with this sport. Although eager to warm up, they were reminded to relax and let the ‘sardines’ warm up first, before taking to the pool in a much more leisurely environment.
The competition began with the gruelling 400m Freestyle where Andy Millar, sporting one of our lovely orange hats, gave a great performance despite his goggles turning inside out – something we’ve all experienced.
After that, the racing came through thick and fast. With only training times to base most of our entries on, there was some uncertainty as to how the races would pan out, however, there was no disappointment in the performances, smashing our entry times on nearly every swim. There were often 2 swimmers in one heat (not just having 2 swimmers in one event!) which made the videographer’s time particularly busy. The Mens 50m Breaststroke had 3 DDMASC swimmers in the one heat.
A quick rest for lunch and some much needed fresh air required, the afternoon’s session quickly came around and DDMASC took to the blocks once again. There’s not much time to rest in between events at a Masters gala, however, that wasn’t an issue with our swimmers as we continued to race with enthusiasm from start to finish.
Another loaded heat came in the Womens 50m Freestyle and in total we had 7 x DDMASC swimmers in what appeared to be a favoured event.
At Masters galas, in order to level the playing field, there is a (somewhat questionable) handicap system which deducts time off for every year over 25yrs and adds time on for every year younger than 25yrs. Overall, DDMASC came away with 1 Gold (Helen Murray, 100m Br) and 3 x Bronzes (Bob Wood, 100m Fc, Naomi Clark, 100m Bk, Richard Murray, 200m Br). In terms of age-group wins and places, they were in abundance.
However, most importantly, everyone swam with great enthusiasm, encouraged each other and came away smiling; nothing more can be asked from a coach’s perspective. DDMASC have set the marker now, put some official PB’s down and can build from here.
Already looking forward to the next block of training and the next gala. Well done, everyone!
Iain Hodgson (Coach)
Full results can be found here
Northumberland & Durham Masters Meet 2019
A strong contingent of swimmers represented the club at the N&D Masters at South Shields on 7th July 2019, coming back with a haul of medals and PBS...
30/34 years old
50m freestyle 25.38 (Gold)
35/39 years old
50m breaststroke 52.06
100m breaststroke 1:45.88 (P.B)
50m freestyle 41.10
100m freestyle 1:26.87 (P.B) (Silver)
200m freestyle 3:16.35 (P.B) (Gold)
40/44 years old
50m freestyle 27.02 (Gold)
100m freestyle 1:00.56 (Gold)
50m butterfly 33.32 (Gold)
100m butterfly 1:16.45 (Silver)
50m freestyle 29.31 (Silver)
45/49 years old
100m freestyle 58.80 (Silver)
200m freestyle 2:12.99 (Silver)
100m individual medley 1:10.97 (Gold)
50m freestyle 26.09 (Gold)
100m freestyle 56.50 (Gold)
200m freestyle 2:05.64 (Gold)
400m freestyle 4:39.49 (Gold)
50m butterfly 28.78 (Gold)
100m freestyle 58.83 (Gold)
400m freestyle 4:32.05 (Gold)
North West Regional Masters Blackpool
Tony Day represented the club at the North West Regional Masters at Blackpool on the 23rd February, and set yet another Welsh MastersRecord of 18:09:04 for the 1500m Freestyle (50-54) .
Another huge congratulations Tony again!