City of Sheffield Masters had a busy time in June with the Yorkshire Championships at Ponds Forge and the British Masters Championships in Swansea only two weeks later. From the results it is clear that Masters swimming at Team Steel has taken some massive strides forward in this last year. Most of this is down to the enthusiasm and energy Coach Wendy brings to the squad. The performances at the Yorkshire masters were the perfect inspiration for our swimmers at the British Masters Championships in Swansea.

Last year’s Yorkshire's did not feature any relay teams and a relative small team overall. This time round Team Steel had 4 teams in total. Two in the 4x 50 mixed medley relay and one in each of the men’s/ women’s 4x50 freestyle teams. The 160+ medley took a fantastic bronze medal in their race. In the individual events Danny Roberts in the 70-74 impressed with stellar performances in the Freestyle events taking the gold in the 50 and 100 and the silver in the 200 and 400. Jonathan Sykes, 25-29, who’s only swimming in his second competition is growing from strength to strength utilising his improved dive he claimed two huge PBs in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. Jonathan Saunders, 50-54 age group, was in great form on the 100 freestyle taking a gold medal, hopefully this will set him up for a great swim at the British Masters Championships. He also collected another two golds in the 100 Backstroke and 50 Fly. Tom Day one of our younger Masters swimmers who has been part of team Steel for 15 years keeps showing his love for the sport and took medals in 50 Free (bronze), 50 Fly (bronze), 50 Breast (bronze), 100 Back (gold) and 200 IM (gold). Helen Tuner, 55-59, swam some fantastic races picking up 3 silvers in the process. Helen swam an awesome 100 Fly to claim the gold medal to top off a great meet for her. Linzi Gaywood, 55-59, is the Masters speed machine, with rapid times over the 50 Free, 100 Free and 100 Fly. Linzie powered to three gold medal finishes. On the other side we have Wendy, who loves the distance events and swam a superb 800 taking the silver medal, I hope her JO3 swimmers were taking note. Recently engaged Ryan Borthwick and Harriet Smith still keep trying to save money on dates by racing at masters meets instead. Ryan felt the pain of going in the 400 freestyle off 3x1h session a week. But a speedy new PB in the 50 freestyle and bronze medal show the new sprint training is working. Harriet also showed the sprint training is paying dividends with a fantastic PB and first sub 1.30 in the 100 breaststroke. Overall Yorkshires was a huge step forwards for Masters showing that it is not just a thriving group, but also an extremely competitive one and we hope to see more PBs in Swansea.

Four of our Masters swimmers drove the long way to Swansea to compete in the British Masters Championships, with two individual silvers and two individual bronzes and a fantastic bronze in the relay it was a great meet for Team Steel Masters. The Medley Relay team of Ryan, Harriet, Jonathan and Linzi had previously swum at the Yorkshires two weeks prior. They showed that Team Steel can step up to the occasion, knocking a crazy full 5 seconds off their Yorkshire time and taking a thoroughly deserved Bronze medal. Each swimmer gave it their all and left nothing in the pool, but Linzi Gaywood’s, 55-60 age group, 29.78 split on the 50 Freestyle was phenomenal. This shows that the hard work Masters are putting into training is paying off and the group has taken huge steps forward in just a year. With other strong performances all around in the individual events by these swimmers, included Jonathan’s new PB on the 100 freestyle, Ryan’s 200 Fly silver, Harriet’s 50 Backstroke Silver and Linzi’s 50 Freestyle Bronze. Masters will hope to inspire more swimmers and teams next season to start competing and racing for Team Steel.

The next main meet will be the British short course Masters in Sheffield in October and Team Steel will be aiming high at this meet. However our Masters Team is definitely aiming even higher over the next season. With less than a year to go, Budapest is firmly on the horizon, the Masters European Championships are sure to be an opportunity for Team Steel Masters to show what Sheffield is made of on the European Stage.