Rachel Barber and Mark Strakosch did Dacorum proud as they made the long trip to Manchester to represent Berkhamsted SC in the prestigious British Masters Long Course Championships in the Commonwealth Games pool.
Their journey proved to be immensely successful as the duo rolled back the years and recorded a phenomenal 100 per cent success rate in terms of personal best times – clocking 13 from 13 swims.
The meet started with 54-year-old Mark in the 800m freestyle and, as always, he attacked the race with gusto. Seeded sixth, he made a flying start and held on to record a 20-second PB of 10:36.54 and claim the silver medal in the 50-54 years age group.
He followed this up by almost going sub-three minutes in the 200m backstroke – posting 3:00.64 – and finished the first day with a third successive PB.
Rachel, meanwhile, is still a relative novice on the competition front, but joined in with the celebrations in the final session of the day with her own PB in the 50m backstroke – clocking 37.14 for sixth.
Mark’s remarkable season continued with his fourth PB in the 100m breaststroke, chopping off nearly two seconds with 1:37.58, and Rachel chipped in to go 2:54.38 for her 200 IM. She followed that with 41.63 in her 50m breaststroke, while Mark improved to 44.46 in the same event.
In the 100m freestyle, Rachel came back strongly for yet another PB of 1:07.25, before finishing her meet with PBs in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Mark, meanwhile, reverted to his favourite middle distance front crawl events and dropped his 400m freestyle best by 3s to 5:12.36 with his penultimate swim.
The final swim of the meet enabled Mark to win bronze in the 100m backstroke and secure the 13th PB of the weekend – completing a remarkably successful meet for the gutsy and talented Berkhamsted pair.