Masters in dangers of blues after waving goodbye to Danube?
August 22, 2017
There is a saying “we don’t stop exercising because we get old, we get old because we stop exercising”. FINA World Masters Championships serves to prove that point with athletes ranging from 25 – 97 taking to the pool and open water events across two weeks in beautiful Budapest.
48 athletes representing Irish clubs competed across 3 disciplines at this years championships. the pinnacle of the aquatics season. With medals from 1st to 6th position at the World Masters there was plenty of motivation for athletes to chase down their fellow competitors for a place on the podium.
First to test the waters was the ladies team from Donegal Diamonds who faces teams from the UK, Italy, Czech Republic and Columbia over the 6 days of competition. The team took home a bronze medal. just reward for their efforts over week one of the championships.
The open water were next to take on the challenge in Lake Baleton. The 3km event took place over 3 days with Irish swimmers competing each day. First up was Mullingar Jets coach and swimmers Anthony Hughes with a respectable 25th place finish in the 60-64 age group. Dymphna Morris of Aer Lingus Masters took to the calm waters next to claim a silver medal, which would prove to be the first of many podium appearances for Dymphna at the competition. Cork Masters swimmer Jane Jolly (60-64) also put in a strong swim to claim 10th place in her age group. Day 2 and 3 presented some changes to weather and more challenging conditions for the swimmers, Undeterred by changing conditions and race schedules another 7 Irish swimmers took to the open water with top 20 finishes for Julia Murphy (ILDSA), Roisin O’Brien (Kilkenny) and Sabrina Weidmer (Eastern Bay).
The swimming competition attracted the biggest number of Irish swimmers who competed across 6 days of the competition. The first of the swimmers competed on Monday 14th August in the 800m Freestyle. Dymphna Morris finished best of the Irish with 4th place with top 20 finishes from fellow Aer Lingus Masters member Boyd Freeman and Eastern Bay’s Sabrina Weidmer.
Tuesday – Sunday hosted 3 events per day across 4 pools in 2 arenas, with events starting at 8am each morning and finishing at the reasonable hour of 5pm-6pm daily, a stark change European masters in London the previous year. Irish swimmers would continue their good form throughout the week claiming another 11 medals in the pool, along with 9 Irish and 1 championship record. Dymphna Morris took home the most medals with 5th place finishes in the 200m and 400m freestyle and 6th place in 200 IM.
NAC Masters swimmer Dan Golden got his competition off to a great start with a 5th place in 100m freestyle on Tuesday. This turned out to be just a warm up for a stellar performance on Wednesday in the 50m butterfly to claim a gold medal, Irish and Championship records in the 65-59 age group. Not one to rest on his laurels Golden swiftly followed this up on Thursday with another 5th place finish in the 50m freestyle.
Limerick native John Cunningham (45-49) returned to competition this season after an injury enforced break in 2016. Cunningham kicked off his competition with a 6th place finish and new Irish record in the 100m freestyle. Showing he was back on form the next day in the 50m butterfly John claimed a bronze medal and was just a fraction off his own Irish record. Returning to the pool on Thursday in his favoured event 100m butterfly Cunningham went one better to win silver and set a new all-time personal best and Irish record in a time of 58.31.
Trojan swimmer Fiona Kinsella (30-34), representing Hibernian Masters at this meet, and Agnieszka Wysocka-Khan were the only other swimmers to step on the podium. Fiona had a 5th place finish in the 200m Freestyle and a new Irish record in a time of 2:15.15, knocking 2 seconds off her own record set earlier this year. Agnieszka Wysocka-Khan (30-34) from Dungannon set Irish records in 50m and 100m Freestyle, and 100m and claimed 6th place in the 50m Freestyle.
There were strong performances from swimmers who just missed out on the podium but set new Irish records; Greg Straton (40-44) of Eastern Bay Masters in 100m Breaststroke and Botond Solymossy (35-39) of Trojan in 50m Freestyle.
Masters swimmers take a well-earned break for a couple of weeks, with the first event of the Irish calendar generally taking place at the end of September hosted by Dublin SC