2017 Masters Meet Reports


Barnet 1500m & Etwall Masters – November 2017 – End of the Masters’ 2017 Campaign


Our Masters brought their 2017 competitive season to an end with successes across a range of distances at two meets in November.

Dave Wright collected a silver medal in the 55 – 59 years Barnet Copthall 1,500m event, finishing in a time of 20:14.66. His swim earned invaluable points for the Great Britain Men’s Team Decathlon competition that should ensure the Club’s best ever performance once the final results are confirmed in January.

Gwendalyn Skingley, Alastair Gibb and Graham Powell meanwhile travelled up to Derbyshire for sprint events at the 13th Etwall Eagles Masters Open Meet. Rather than seeking personal best times, the focus was on having fun and entering a larger than normal number of events. Despite fielding only three swimmers,  the club finished 11th out of the 39 competing teams and were the third highest scoring non-Midlands club with 125 points. That points total was only one less than a squad of six Luton Masters achieved in 2016.

Graham Powell, Gwendalyn Skingley and Alastair Gibb

For Gwendalyn this was only her third ever pool competition. She is more accustomed to swimming long distances in open water, (and always without a wet suit). Nevertheless Gwendayln had entered into the spirit of the end of year meet, competing in seven events over 25m to 100m. She showed great pacing in her first race, the 35 – 39 years’ 100m Freestyle as she smashed her previous best time by over seven seconds. A four second improvement on her 100m Breaststroke time earned her third place, a feat she matched over 25m Butterfly.

In the 55-59 years’ age group Alastair Gibb swam in eleven races, winning his 100m Butterfly whilst finishing 2nd over 25m, 50m and 100m Backstroke, 25m and 100m Breaststroke to gain a grand total of 48 points. Finishing second overall in his age group Alastair qualified for three free races in Etwall’s 2018 competition.

Competing in the 60-64 years age group Graham Powell set five new Etwall Meet records demolishing the previous times over 25m and 50m Backstroke, 50m and 100m Butterfly and the 4x25m Individual Medley. Swimming in a total of ten races, Graham finished first in all but one event so not surprisingly won his age group. He won an individual prize of five free swims in 2018, having amassed a total of 59 points for the club, but claims he is going to swim the 1500m at Barnet next year instead!

National Short Course – October 2017 – Seven Medals including a Gold for 21 year old Alex Mason


Twenty one year old Alex Mason spearheaded a highly successful weekend at the Swim England Masters championships in Sheffield with the club collecting a total of seven medals, and setting one East Region and two Beds County records. The squad of eight who competed  achieved over thirty top ten placings.

L-R: Colin Mayes, Amy Pelling, Glenda Mayes, Pauline Harrington, Dave Wright, Graham Powell and Alex Mason. Front L-R: Alastair Gibb & John O’Rourke

Having graduated from age group through to university championships, this Autum has seen Alex make his debut in Masters & Seniors competitions. He swam his best times of the year to collect bronze medals in both the 18-24 years’ 200m Breaststroke and the 400m Individual Medley. His time of 4:48.82 in the 400m IM demolished the previous County record by 20 seconds and was less than two seconds outside his age group’s East Region record. Swimming best times for the year in three further events the icing on the cake came with Alex claiming gold in the 400m Freestyle in a time of 4:17.01.

In the 60-64 years’ age group Graham Powell made a clean sweep of the silver medals in his 50m, 100m and 200m Backstroke, finishing 4th in three other events and 5th in the 50m Butterfly. Five of his races saw Graham record his fastest times of the year, with his time of 2:43.14 in the 200m IM beating his own East Region and Beds County record from 2016 by nearly six seconds.

Colin Mayes, aged 62, was also in fine form recording best times for the year in all of his seven events, in each of which he finished in the top ten. His time in the 200m IM was six seconds faster than he had swum in 2016.

Our National Masters’ medal winners, Dave Wright, Graham Powell & Alex Mason

The club’s third medal winner was Dave Wright in the 55–59 years’ age group. Having already attained five top ten places, Dave came 4th in the 400m Freestyle with his time of 5:04.65 being just over two seconds outside the County record Come his final event of the weekend, the 200m Butterfly, Dave swam a well paced race to finish third in a time of 2:46.70.

Competing in the same age group, Alastair Gibb finished in the top ten in three of his seven events, with his best placing being 6th in the 400m IM.

In the 45-49 years’ age group John O’Rourke (aged 48) recorded his best times for the year in two events, the 100m and 400m IMs. His fifth position in the 400m IM came with a five second improvement whilst O’Rourke finished 11th in the 200m IM.

Glenda Mayes also claimed 5th place in her 50m Backstroke whilst finishing in the top ten in her three other races in the 60–64 years’ age group.

In a highly competitive field, 19 years old Amy Pelling finished just outside the top ten in two of her six events in the 18-24 years’ age group. Swimming in her first National Masters championships, Amy was 11th in the 100m and 12th in the 200m Backstroke.


After the weekend in Sheffield, the Men’s Team is currently up to 12th place in the British Team Decathlon competition with 18,365 points, smashing their previous best total of 16,495 points. Having so far this year competed in 39 qualifying out of a potential maximum of 40 events they are currently just an agonizing 65 points short of a top ten finish.

The Ladies have meanwhile risen to 115th place in their Team Decathlon competition. Their total of 6,379 points has been attained over just 21 from the potential maximum 40 events.

East Region Masters & Seniors – October 2017 – Medal Strike At East Region Masters


All of Team Luton’s competitors at the East Region Masters & Seniors’ Championships held in Newmarket last weekend were in medal winning form, bringing home a total of 7 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals.

 Alex Mason, who has recently been helping poolside with our youngsters, stormed to gold in the 18-24 years’ age group 200m Butterfly and claimed second place in the 100m Breaststroke.

John O’Rourke had a full day’s competition, swimming in five events in the 45-49 years’ age group. Having swum personal best times for the year over 400m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke in the morning, John’s efforts were finally rewarded in the evening session with a bronze medal and a further current year best time in the 200m Individual Medley.

In the 55-59 year age group, Alastair Gibb won his 100m Backstroke after claiming silver medals in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Backstroke. Assistant Junior Performance Coach Dave Wright won that 100m Butterfly and collected a bronze from his 100m Individual Medley swim.

Colin Mayes claimed gold medals in the 100M IM and 200m Breaststroke, a silver in the 50m Breaststroke and a bronze in the 50m Freestyle. Competing in the same 60-64 years’ age group, Graham Powell won the 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle and touched just behind Colin to collect a bronze in the 50m Breaststroke.

The quartet of Graham, John, Dave and Alastair, with a combined age of 226, finished fourth in the Men’s 200-240 years 4 x 50m Freestyle relay. Registering a combined age of 236 years, Graham, Colin, Dave and Alastair edged out South Beds Masters to claim a team silver In the 4 x 50m Medley relay.

Having competed in some events that were not necessarily their best, valuable points were gained for the National Masters Decathlon competition. As a result Team Luton are now standing 14th in the Men’s Team competition with 16,417 points, just 78 points short of their best ever total which they achieved last year. That 2016 total was achieved from the maximum number (40) of qualifying races and yet their score this year comes from just 36 races.

Whilst the club’s female swimmers have been thwarted from competing in the latter part of the season by a mixture of injuries and illnesses, they are currently in 124th position in the Ladies Team competition with 5,428 points from just 18 qualifying races. In 2016 they finished in 142nd place with 5,786 points from 20 races.

With the National Masters championships later this month, in Sheffield, hopes are high that both the Men and Ladies will achieve their best ever Team points totals.

World Masters – August 2017

Team Luton was represented by three of our Masters who travelled to Budapest in Hungary for the World Masters Championships.

Graham, Karen & Colin in Budapest.

Karen MacKenzie (44) competed in the 40 – 44 years’ 50m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke.

Graham Powell (61) and Colin Mayes (62) each competed in five events in their 60 – 64 years’ age group.

Coming 8th in his 100 Butterfly, Graham finished in the top ten of all of his Backstroke events; 7th (200m), 10th (100m) and 8th (50m).

East Region Open Water – July 2017

Three of our Masters & Seniors competed in the East Region Open Water championships held at Norwich.

In the Women’s 17-19 years 3k, Amy Pelling was placed 7th in a time of 56:55.10 and was the 2nd fastest in her County event.

Nicola Pasquire came 4th in the Women’s’ 17-19 years 5k, in a time of 1:7:46.40, missing out on a bronze medal by 46 seconds but had the consolation of being the top ranked Beds swimmer. Competing subsequently in the English National event in Sheffield Nicola recorded a time of 1:7:3.59 to finish 9th in the 17-19 years age group.

Dave Wright made it to the East Region’s medal podium for the second successive year coming 2nd in the Men’s 50-59 years’ 3k. Dave’s time was 47:18.10.

Barnet Masters Distance Meet – July 2017 -“New Kids on The Block”


Nicola Pasquire and Alex Mason were in gold medal winning form as they both made their competitive Seniors’ (18 – 24 years) debuts for Team Luton at the Barnet Copthall Masters Distance Meet.

L-R: Alastair, Lorraine, coach Pauline, Alex and John

Nicola, aged 19, led the medal charge as Team Luton collected 9 Gold, 2 silver and 5 Bronze medals. In a warm-up swim for her 5km East Regions Open Water championships the following weekend, Nicola smashed her age group’s Beds County record by over 11 seconds in the 800m Freestyle. Her winning time was 9:27.61.

Alex Mason won the 100m Breaststroke and made a clean sweep of the Freestyle events for his age group over 100m, 200m and 400m. His last swim was an impressive 56.23 seconds for the 100m Freestyle.

In the 45-49 years age group John O’Rourke claimed a gold in the 200m Freestyle, silver in the 400m Individual Medley and bronze in both the 100m Breaststroke and 400m Freestyle.

In her first competitive swims of the year, Lorraine Sadler won a silver over 100m Breaststroke and bronze in both the 100m and 200m Freestyle. Up for a new challenge, Lorraine, aged 46, also finished in 5th place when competing in her first ever 200m Individual Medley event as a Masters swimmer.

Alastair Gibb snatched victory in his 55-59 years 800m Freestyle by just 1.5 seconds, finishing in a time of 11.04.84. Two further gold medals came in the 200m Freestyle and Breaststroke events with a bronze in the 100m Breaststroke.

Times from this meet counted towards the 2017 GB Masters Team Decathlon competitions. Team Luton’s men are currently in 25th position with 13,093 points, from 29 qualifying races. In 2016 they finished in 15th place having amassed 16,495 points from their maximum 40 qualifying races. The Ladies’ team, meanwhile, are already up to 108th place, with 5,272 points from just 18 qualifying races. In 2016 they finished in 142nd place in 2016 with 5,786 points from a total of 20 qualifying races.

GB Masters – June 2017 – Ten Medals & Six County Records


Our Masters had an outstanding weekend of results at the GB Masters held in Aberdeen. Five of our swimmers collected medals, 2 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze, whilst Sharon Collins registered the greatest personal improvement with one of her swims.


Everyone happy. Medal winners and / or PBs for all. A highly successful weekend and even the sun shone in Aberdeen!

Karen MacKenzie, competing at the top end of her 40 – 44 years age group, was in spectacular form recording a personal best long course in each of her four swims. A sign of what was to come from the whole squad over the three days of competition came in Karen’s first event, the 100m Backstroke. She finished second in a time of 1:23.00; a new Beds Masters County record by almost half a second. It was Karen’s first ever medal on the national stage. Buoyed by that performance, Karen proceeded to finish 8th in the 200m Individual Medley, 5th in the 50m Backstroke and 8th in the 50m Freestyle. Each of these swims improved on her own Beds County records; her 50m Backstroke time of 36.68 seconds was a full second faster.

Despite still carrying a swollen ankle that had interrupted her training in the lead up to the competition, Sharon Collins knocked almost nine seconds off her 400m Freestyle time to finish 7th in the 50 -54 years age group. Sharon also finished 11th in the 100m Freestyle and 13th in the 50m Freestyle.

Club Chair, Glenda Mayes collected a silver medal for her swim in the 60 – 65 years 100m Freestyle and a bronze over 50m Backstroke. Glenda came 4th in the 50m Breaststroke and 7th in the 50m Freestyle.

Graham Powell successfully defended both of his 60 – 64 year age group’s 50m and 100m Backstroke GB titles whilst finishing second over 200m and in the 100m Butterfly. In the same age group, Colin Mayes finished 6th in each of his 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke races but had the consolation of a surprise bronze medal over 100m Freestyle.

Alastair Gibb came 5th in the 55 – 59 years’ 100m and 200m Backstroke and 6th in the 200m IM. In setting new County records by over half a second for his age group over 50m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly, Alastair claimed two further bronze medals for the club.

Leading from the top; GB Masters medals for three Committee members, Alastair,Glenda & Graham.

It was a truly rewarding weekend for all concerned and the results were a fitting testament to the coaching provided to the Masters by both Pauline Harrington and Jane Cattle. Thanks also go to the small group of travelling supporters, Matt Thompson, John Hillson and three generations of Karen’s family.

Newmarket Masters & Seniors – April 2017 – Karen Heads Medal Sweep


Karen MacKenzie was in spectacular sprint form at Newmarket’s Masters Open Meet winning all six of her events. The squad of six swimmers brought home 12 Gold, 8 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals, set one new County Masters record and numerous personal best times, demonstrating the benefits of the winter season’s training programme.

Competing in the 40 – 44 year old age group, Karen set personal best times (“PBs”) over both 100m Freestyle and the 100m Individual Medley. Her winning times over 50m Butterfly, Backstroke and Freestyle were each less than 1/5th of a second outside her PBs. Karen’s “poorest” swim came when she was just 0.26seconds outside her 100m Backstroke PB.

Back L-R Coach Pauline, Colin, Graham & Dave; Front L-R Karen, John & Alastair

Dave Wright swam his fastest ever Masters’ 100m Backstroke by 0.48 seconds to claim a gold medal in the 55 – 59 years age group. Two further gold medals came in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Freestyle whilst Dave rounded off a successful day’s competition with silver over 50m Butterfly. Alastair Gibb swam his best time of the year over 100m Backstroke to finish second to Wright. A further silver medal came in the 100m Individual Medley with Alastair also collecting a bronze medal over 100m Breaststroke.

Graham Powell took time out from his preferred events to race in all four of the 60 – 64 years age group’s freestyle events. He claimed first place in both the 200m and 400m events but had to settle for silver medals over 50m and 100m. In winning the 200m, Graham bettered by 0.48 seconds the Masters Bedfordshire County record that he set a year ago at the same meet.

Competing in the same age group, Colin Mayes finished in first place in the 100m Individual Medley, second over 50m and 100m Breaststroke and third over 100m Freestyle.

Like Karen MacKenzie, John O’Rourke chose to swim in six events and was rewarded with bronze medals in the 45 – 49 years age group 50m and 100m Backstroke and a silver over 200m Freestyle. John secured further top five places over 50m, 100m and 400m Freestyle, with his time over 100m being the fastest he had recorded since 2013.

South East Long Course Masters – January 2017 – Trio Win Golds


A squad of six, half of whom were still recovering from assorted illnesses, kick started the new competitive year winning three Gold, one Silver and four Bronze medals at the South East Region Long Course Masters championships in Crawley.

 Over the two days of the swim meet, they also claimed one East Region and three Beds County Masters records.

EVERYONE’S HAPPY: Karen, Dave & Sharon, with Coach Pauline

Karen Mackenzie felt she was “swimming through syrup” finishing 4th in the 40 – 44 years old 100 metres Backstroke. She took some comfort on learning that her time of 1:23.41 improved on her own county record by over half a second. It also spurred her on to demolish the 50m Freestyle Beds County record for her age group, recording a time of 32:58 seconds. Now being at the top end of her five-year age group band, Karen was not expecting to still be breaking records.

Competing for the very first time over a distance greater than 100 metres, Sharon Collins finished in ninth place in the 50 – 54 year old 400m Freestyle. Much to her surprise she found the race got easier the further she progressed, despite showing respiratory problems before the start.

“The Saturday Team” : Graham, Alastair & John

Graham Powell’s winter training had been interrupted for several weeks by a protracted respiratory virus, so he chose to only swim in half of the events that he had entered. A time of 34:34 seconds gave Powell a comfortable victory in the 60 – 64 years 50m Backstroke. Despite misjudging his finish, Graham touched home in the 50m Butterfly in 32:38 seconds to collect a silver medal. Given his lack of preparation, Graham was still pleased with his times this early in the season.

Team Luton’s second gold came from Alastair Gibb in the Men’s 55 – 59 years old 200m Individual Medley with less than half a second separating the first three swimmers. This narrow victory followed on from Alastair collecting bronze in both the 50m Backstroke and the 800m Freestyle.

On the second day of the meet, Alastair finished sixth in the 400m Freestyle and then came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Dave Wright claimed third place in that IM, taking over a second off his own East Region and Beds County records to set new figures of 6:13.86. These records capped a rewarding day out for Dave, with him collecting a Bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle and a Gold medal over 200m Butterfly, less than two seconds outside his County record.

Dave Wright, in the zone ready for a medal winning swim

Competing in the 45 – 49 year age group John O’Rourke was also suffering the effects of an enforced break from training. He still claimed four top ten placings, finishing 6th in his 800m Freestyle, 7th in both the 50m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley and 9th over 200m Freestyle.