A small but very successful group of East Leeds Masters swimmers kicked off 2016 in record-breaking style over the weekend of 23/24 January. Kirsten Cameron travelled to Holland for the Dutch Nationals and set a World Record for the 40-44yrs 800m freestyle in a time of 8.55:34. Karen Graham also made an excellent start to 2016 setting a British Record in the 50-54yrs 200m freestyle in a time of 2.21:81 at the South East Region Long Course Masters in Crawley. Congratulations to both swimmers on their records.
Along with Karen, James Barwick also travelled to Crawley to gain some much needed long course racing experience early in the season in the run up to The European Championship looming in May.
Karen opened proceedings in the first event of the day, the 400m freestyle with a Gold medal in a time less than 2.5 seconds slower that the time she posted at the meet the previous year. A feat all the more impressive given the block of training she missed due to illness towards the end of 2015!
With the 2016 Decathlon in mind Karen returned to the pool later that session to race in the 50m freestyle where she clocked a personal best time of 31.07 taking the silver medal in the process. In the men’s 50m event James, after a 3 hour wait after warming up took Gold by .06 in a tight but fairly sluggish opening race to the season.
Coming back for the afternoon session Karen again lead from the front in her 200m freestyle finishing with an incredibly strong second half stopping the clock in 2:21.81, a new British Long Course record in the 50/54 years age group! Two heats later James dived into the same lane Karen had “lit up” not so long before but could not match Karen’s impeccable Record breaking pacing as after a strong first 100 faded after the 125m point. His performance still managed to take third spot in a time 2 seconds better than his outing a year earlier.
Finishing the session Karen took on the 50m Breaststroke slashing an amazing 4 seconds off her previous best, (set in a short course pool!) claiming her second silver of the day. This after it had been pointed out every East Leeds performance that day had resulted in a podium finish and her remonstrations that this wasn’t “one of her events and there wasn’t much chance of a medal”.
Karen had chosen to only compete on day 1 leaving James to fly the East Leeds flag by himself. Starting off in the 100m free on Sunday morning James took silver struggling to find any early season front end speed to produce a notable time turning in second at the 50m point and maintaining it down the second length to the finish. The final race of the weekend was James in the 50m Butterfly where he tied for the Gold with Wade Rimbach of Otter only .2 shy of his Long Course best.
So from the first 8 races of the East Leeds Long Course campaign we had a return of 4 Gold, 3 Silver and a Bronze, 3 PBs and not to mention a new British Record – a statement of intent for the year to come. Full results from the meet are available on our results page.
Posted by: James Barwick