City of Cambridge sent a team of seven swimmers to the ASA National Masters Championships in Sheffield this weekend and was rewarded with a series of personal best performances and a double medal success in the shape of two bronze medals.
The first medallist of the weekend was Andrea Viola who recorded a lifetime best performance of 33.35s for the 50m breastroke on Friday night to take a well deserved third place in the 35-39 years age group. The event was won in a British record from double Olympic medallist Nick Gillingham, who recorded a swift 30.01 to take the gold. Andrea was back in action the following morning recording another lifetime best of 1:14.05 of the 100m breastroke whilst finishing fourth. Earlier in the week he had commented that he did not expect to achieve such a fast time ever again and was clearly amazed and delighted with his performance which earned him fourth place. Gillingham again took gold and a British record with 1:04.31.
It was Sunday morning before the second Cambridge podium finish was attained by Steve Buckley, who knocked 6 seconds off his 800m freestyle lifetime best, recording 9:53.31 to take the bronze medal in the 25-29 age group. “ I knew I’d have to swim under 10 minutes to get a medal, but really didn’t think I would beat my PB” he commented. Earlier in the competition, Steve had reduced his 100m freestyle lifetime best by a full second, posting a time of 57.72, and lowered his 100IM time to 1:09.16. He also secured a top ten finish in the 200 free, but had to be content with a performance just outside his best time.
Cambridge’s sole female competitor in Sheffield, Allyson Williams achieved several top 10 finishes in the 25-29 years age group. Her best performance came in her opening swim of the meet, where she recorded a time of 1:15.76 for 8th place in the 100m Backstroke. She also finished 8th in the 200 freestyle (2.27.23) and 10th in the 100IM (1.17.87).
Meanwhile John Cochrane had to be content without any medals for the first competition this season. Despite this lack of hardware, John was pleased with his performances overall, having set a lifetime best by almost a second and recorded his second highest ever finish in the 200 breastroke. "Sub 3 minutes is not too far away now" he remarked after his swim of 3.01.70, which placed him 6th in the 45/49 age group. He also made the top 10 in the 100m event, recording 1:24.88.
Ian Sharpe was looking for some indication of his form as he continues to prepare for the IPC world championships in Argentina in December and produced some solid swims. His time of 1.03.94 in the 100 fly placed him 7th in his age group. The time was outside his best, but Ian declared himself satisfied, as the swim in his words felt "pretty bad”. He also contested the 50m event, posting a time of 29.94s.
Ian and John were joined by Nationals newcomers Killian O’Byrne and Andy Fenn to contest the medley and freestyle team events. The foursome recorded 2.12.08 for the medley to finish 14th but the highlight was Killian’s anchor leg swim of 26.70 in the freestyle relay to bring the team home in 1.53.86 and secure 11th place.