The Masters of their swimming craft

A jubilant team of swimmers from Hemel secured national titles and set a new GB record at the British Masters event in Wales at the weekend.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 8:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 9:36 pm
The glory boys, from left, Dave Pirrie. Kevin McKenna. Mark Strakosch and Mike Foskett at the British Masters and senior age-group long-course meet in Swansea, Wales, at the weekend.

The team from Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club’s Masters swimming team, which included members from Berkamstead Swimming Club, travelled to Swansea to compete in the prestigious British Masters and senior age-group long-course meet.

Swimming against the top Masters swimmers in Great Britain and Ireland, Team Hemel performed exceptionally well to secure a number of podium finishes.

The outstanding swim of the weekend came from the 4 x 100 medley team of Kevin McKenna, Dave Pirrie, Mike Foskett and Mark Strakosch, who broke the British national record and bagged the British title.

Additionally, the glory boys were placed second in the 4 x 100 freestyle event and in the 4 x 50 medley relay.

The top individual performer of the weekend was Pirrie, who secured the British title in the 100m freestyle event, before winning a brace of silver medals and a bronze for good measure.

He won silver in the 200m freestyle, setting a new East Region record in the process, and another silver in the 100m breaststroke, before completing his triumvirate of colours with a bronze in the 50m.

Foskett was another top performer, delivering a couple of stunning swims in both the 200m and 100m backstoke events to gain silver medals in both.

He also lowered momentarily his British record in the 200m backstroke.

Joel Green, who was competing in the senior age group, also had a fantastic weekend, securing medals in the 200m, 100m and 50m backstroke, as well as a third-place finish in the 100m fly.

Team-mate Hilary Coulson, competing in the ladies’ backstroke events, nailed three top-ten finishes, with the best being a fourth-placed berth.

McKenna, who was competing in an extremely tough age group, clocked personal best times in a couple of events.

Pirrie said: “Team Hemel secured their position as an emerging force in GB masters swimming.”

Meanwhile, Berkhamsted SC’s Tracy Van Deventer won a bronze medal in the 100m butterfly and set a comeback personal best in the 200m freestyle.

She capped off the meet by posting her first-ever 200m fly long-course swim to bring home a gold medal.

She said: “I am chuffed to bits.”

Meanwhile, ex-Berkhamsted SC member John Wood, who is now competing for Bristol, picked up a clutch of medals.

He won silver in the 800m and 100m freestyle, including a heat win in the 100m (30-34 age group) and then came into his own on the Sunday, taking gold and south-west region records in both the 100m and 50m butterfly events.

He added a bronze in the 50m freestyle and 400m freestyle on Sunday as he looks forward to the World Masters in Korea later this summer.