EUROPEAN RECORD HAUL FOR THWAITES
Geoff Thwaites had a weekend to savour at the National Masters Championships in Sheffield as the City of Cambridge Masters swimmer returned home with 5 medals in his pocket and a haul of two European and one British Record. Meanwhile, inspired by Thwaites’ example, his team-mates produced their best ever performance at this level securing another 17 medals and a further British record.
For Thwaites, who had moved into the 60-64 years age group this year, the races were mainly against the clock. The weekend started with a European Record over 100m breaststroke in 1:19.40 and was followed by a second Euro mark in the 200m event in 2:56.26. A final British record of 36.26 for the 50m breaststroke completed a hat trick of gold medals which soon became a quartet with a win in the 100m individual medley. The haul was rounded out by a bronze medal in the 200m backstroke event.
Emma Anderson was once again in the medals, matching Thwaites’ record of 5 podium visits. Competing in the 30-34 age group, she secured golds in the 50m freestyle in 28.25 and the 200m Individual Medley in 2:35.02, both personal best performances, and added silvers in the 100m and 200m butterfly events to a bronze over 100m freestyle.
There was also an individual silver medal for Ian Thwaites in the 50m butterfly, with bronze medals being claimed by Matt Webb (100m butterfly), Dawn Hildebrand (50m freestyle), Paul James (200m butterfly) and Andrea Viola (50m breaststroke).
The relay events also proved a fertile hunting ground for Cambridge, with seven of the eight teams swimming coming home with a medal. The pick of the bunch was the mixed 200m freestyle relay team of Anderson, Hildebrand, Webb and Ian Thwaites who set a new British record of 1:43.78 in the 100 years category, carving almost 1.5 seconds from the old mark. The opening trio had led off strongly, but the pre-race favourites from GB Police had opened up a 1.5 second lead at the three quarter mark. Final swimmer Thwaites was not to be denied though, swimming a tremendous anchor leg to take the lead in the closing metres and secure the win by just 2 one-hundredths of a second.
Thawites and Webb then teamed up with Steve Buckley and Vincent Pottier to take silver and bronze in the 100 years freestyle and medley relays, while Anderson and Hildebrand were joined by Ruth Brown and Sarah Chamberlain to go one better with a pair of silvers in the 120 years category. Elsewhere, the men’s 200 years team of Paul James, Phil Robinson, Geoff Thwaites and Kilian O’Byrne were silver medallists in the medley relay.
Coach Stu Taylor was once again delighted with the performance, particularly from the relays, and the fact that the squad achieved an impressive 35 top-5 placings. “Being able to field 8 relay teams and then picking up 7 medals is a fantastic reflection on the depth that the squad is building” he said, ”Geoff will rightly get a lot of credit for his records but it really was a team performance and the whole squad swam beyond their expectations”