Romford Town's old guard make their mark at National Masters
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 November 2016
Squad collects medals and records in Sheffield
Romford Town sent a 17-strong team to the National Masters Short Course Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge and returned with 17 golds, 13 silvers and three bronze medals, while also setting four European and British records.
Jill Complin got the ball rolling in the first session of the weekend with gold in the 1,500m freestyle, as Kira Neal took silver in the same event.
And Town claimed their first team medal, of 11 events entered, in the mixed 120-plus years’ 200m freestyle as Peter Arundell, Dawn Palmer, Neal and Paul Speller won silver.
Further gold medals were won in the second session by Martin Fenner (200m backstroke), Palmer (50m butterfly) and David Ebanks (100m breaststroke), but Michelle Curry just missed out on gold by less than half a second in her 200m backstroke and had to settle for silver.
The last event of the session saw the mixed 160-plus 200m medley relay team of Curry, Ebanks, Martin Lane and Barbara Boxall grab another silver for the Romford cause.
Palmer was back in the pool for session three and set a new British record in winning the 400m medley, as Curry took bronze in a new best in her age group.
Boxall and Complin continued their good form with golds in their respective 100m freestyle swims, before Lane finished the session with a hard-fought bronze in his 100m freestyle in one of the toughest age groups (45-49) at the event.
The second day of action began with Town’s mixed 160-plus 400m medley team of Fenner (backstroke), Cayman Island international Ebanks (breastroke), Palmer (butterfly) and Neal (freestyle) taking four seconds off the previous British record for gold, before Complin won her 400m freestyle title.
And Fenner and Curry added more golds in their respective age groups for the 100m backstroke, with Boxall adding another silver to her growing collection in the 400m freestyle.
Session five began with the 200m medley, where Curry and Fenner swam new personal bests to win silver and bronze, respectively.
And current European Masters champion Palmer maintained her devastating form in the 40 to 44-year-old age group when winning gold in a new European and British record of 2.26.46.
Boxall continued her good form with a personal best to win the 50m freestyle gold, while Lane took silver in a season’s best time of 24.50.
Ebanks competed in his preferred 50m breaststroke event in session six and swam a great race to claim silver as the British record was beaten by two-hundredths of a second, while Lane and Boxall added further silver medals in their respective age groups.
But Palmer finished well clear of the 200m freestyle field for another gold, as did Complin in her age group, before Boxall took silver from her race.
The third day of competition saw many Romford swimmers set new personal bests and the final session ended with the women’s 160-plus 400m freestyle team of Curry, Boxall, Neal and Palmer striking gold again in another new European and British record.
Complin completed the weekend in style with gold in the 800m freestyle, before Curry and Palmer capped their busy schedules with silvers in their respective 100m medley swims.
Masters coach Fenner said: “There was some fabulous swimming and it was one of the best championships that I have been to.
“Romford Town’s Masters should all feel proud of their performances, as there was not one swimmer who didn’t come away with at least one personal or season’s best from the championships.
“A number of our swimmers were competing for the first time at this level and all swam exceptionally well.”