Haul of personal bests for masterful Mark in Sheffield

Mark Strakosch and Jo Holder competed in the British Masters Short Course Swimming Championships
Mark Strakosch and Jo Holder competed in the British Masters Short Course Swimming Championships

Mark Strakosch represented Berkhamsted Swimming Club at the British Masters Short Course Swimming Championships at the prestigious Ponds Forge complex in Sheffield.

Throughout the weekend, Mark swam five events and was exceptionally successful in his freestyle races in particular.

In the 200m breaststroke and 400 IM he was slightly outside his best times following a recent leg injury, but he still managed his second fastest ever swims in both events.

In the freestyle he competed in the 100m, 800m and 1500m events, beginning with the 1500m.

At the age of 53, Mark is still setting all-time PBs and is proof that hard work and dedication means you are never too old to keep improving.

Last year, he had set an East Region age group record for the 50-54 bracket in the 1500m only to see it snatched away shortly afterwards by another swimmer.

This year the two of them were in the same heat and Mark had his supporters biting their nails for the first half as he slowly lost ground to his rival.

Mark put the hammer down in the second half, swimming a remarkably consistent race and came out victorious in his personal battle (fourth overall) to win the duel and reclaim the record by just over a second in finishing a PB of 19:24.62.

Later the same day he took on the 100m and re-emphasised his current form by smashing his 18-month-old PB by over a second, clocking 1:06:77.

Onto the final day and Mark looked to make his PB for the 800m. On this occasion, he was ahead from the start and finally touched home in 10:20:82, some six seconds quicker than he split in Friday’s 1500m race.

That was good enough for another fourth place overall and a perfect finish to an excellent weekend.

Mark was joined at the event by ex-Berkhamsted swimmer Jo Holder – now ploughing up the lanes with South Beds – who was also pleased with her performances over the weekend.