National Masters success for Team Hemel

Team Hemel's Nationals Masters Squad at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
Team Hemel's Nationals Masters Squad at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

A squad of 16 swimmers from Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted swimming clubs travelled to Ponds Forge in Sheffield over the weekend to compete in the final major meet of the year, the Swim England Masters and Senior age-group champs.

The team, which ranged in ages from 19 to 67, all performed well against the best masters swimmers from around the country.

The Team Hemel ladies' 200-plus team which finished in second place in the 4 x 100 Medley relay. From left, Hilary Coulson, Sian McDonald, Jo Lee Pearce and Claudia Crutwell.

The Team Hemel ladies' 200-plus team which finished in second place in the 4 x 100 Medley relay. From left, Hilary Coulson, Sian McDonald, Jo Lee Pearce and Claudia Crutwell.

Competing in different age categories individually and collectively in relay events, Team Hemel secured a total of ten top-three individual podium finishes and three in the relay events making it an impressive haul for the squad.

The team also set new East Region records while achieving a number of top-ten finishes and season-best swims.

Individual medals were gained by:

Mike Foskett (2nd place 100m backstroke; 2nd place 200m backstroke; 2nd place 100m IM; 2nd place 200m IM; 3rd place 50m backstroke), Dave Pirrie (2nd place 50m breastroke, new regional record; 2nd place 200m breastroke; 3rd place 100m breaststroke), Jo Lee Pearce (3rd place 200m backstroke, new East Region record) and Mark Strakosch (2nd place 1500m freestyle).

In the relay events the men’s 240-plus team of Mike Foskett, Dave Pirrie, Kevin McKenna and Mark Strakosch retained their national title by winning the 4 x 100 medley relay.

Additionally, the team with Mark Ayres swimming an excellent 50m freestyle also secured third place in the 4x50 Medley relay event.

Not to be outdone, the ladies’ 200-plus 4 x 100 Medley relay team of Hilary Coulson, Sian McDonald, Jo Lee Pearce and Claudia Crutwell secured second place with an excellent effort from all.

In the extremely tough 72-plus age group the 4 x 100 medley relay team and 4 x 100 freestyle team were placed fourth in both events, missing out on bronze medals in both by three one hundreds of a second, with Joe Gillam putting in two stunning swims (24-second 50m freestyle and 54-second 100m freestyle).

The team thanked coach Richard Daniels for his efforts in preparing them for the event.

The attention now turns to 2020 where the masters team will compete in the British Long-Course Championship and the European Masters Championships in Budapest.