British Masters Champs, Day 3: Jane Asher Sets Global Mark in 100m Free for Women 70-74

MANCHESTER, England, April 26. THE final day of action at the British Masters Swimming Championships in Manchester proved to be full of excitement as one world record fell and no fewer than three European records and 24 British records.

On a scorching hot day inside the Manchester Aquatics Centre, swimmers young and old proved they still had the appetite for success by making waves in the 2002 Commonwealth Pool.

Having seen two world records fall on Friday, as well nine European records and 22 British records, it was always going to be incredibly tough for this year's competitors to continue to keep the records tumbling.

But Saturday proved that with three world records, nine European records and a staggering 33 British records, this year's meet was going to be one of the best ever.

And Sunday could not have started any better as multiple world-record holder Jane Asher added another world-record to her illustrious honours list.

Swimming for Kings Cormorants, from Wimbledon, in the 100m Freestyle 70-74 years age group, Asher touched home in an impressive time of 1min 17.94secs.

That swim eclipsed the previous world record of 1min 18.46secs, and left 73-year-old Asher, understandably delighted.

"I've broke a lot of records, but it was special breaking a world record in Manchester," said Asher.

"I came to University in Manchester in 1953 to do a postgraduate course and I lived in Altrincham. It's so nice to come back here and to swim well. Manchester has been home to me.

"The pool is so lovely and I just felt really comfortable. I loved swimming here and I also swam for the University of Manchester team all those years ago."

Asher used this year's competition in the North West as a stepping stone to find some form before the World Championships in Italy, and is now planning to compete in a series of Open Water swims before she attempts to break even more records in Riccione in June.

"I've competed in five world championships, so Italy will be my sixth," added Asher. "I haven't lost any of my desire. Masters swimming is a lot of great fun and everyone feels happy. We are one big happy family."

It also proved to be a superb day for the Heart of England men's 4 x 50m Medley Relay team as they set a new European and British record with their time of 2min 01.13secs in the 200-239 combined age group.

Heart of England eclipsing the former GB record of 2min 07.82secs, as well as the European standard of 2min 01.48secs.

The team, who had a combined age of 201 years, were led by former Olympian Bob Lord, who competed in the 100m and 400m Freestyle at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Lord, now 59, swam the final freestyle at this year's event, while Steve Burchan (Backstroke), Anthony O'Driscoll (Breastroke) and Trevor Clark (Butterfly) completed the victorious quartet.

"We knew we could the British record, but were careful and made sure that we got the European record as well," said a jubilant Lord.

"We can go faster that that, but we are all happy with how we swam. Manchester's a great place to come and swim. To swim in any 50m pool is a big plus.

"The camaraderie at Masters events is very special and we've found that again this year. There is a very competitive side to the swimming but there's also a very good social side."

Lesley Wilde completed a memorable weekend by setting a new British record in the 50m Backstroke 45-49 years age group final.

Wilde, 45, finished in 34.52secs swimming for Hollywell SC, from Wales, to add to her two world records on Saturday.

Wilde swam 2min 36.03secs for a new world record in the 200m Backstroke, as well as 1min 12.64secs for the 100m Backstroke final for another world record time.

And to crown a splendid day, the Rhyl-based swimmer also set a new European and British record in the 200m Individual Medley with her time of 2min 40.37secs.

The previous British record stood at 2min 47.95secs and the European standard was 2min 43.64secs respectively.

Other British record breakers on a action-packed day included Paul Alvarez, Julie Crayford (2), Christine Parfect, Elaine Bromwich, Chris Jones, Derrick Davey (2), Lindsey Gowland, Marie Royal, Guy Davis, Richard Hutton, Katie Peachey, Trevor Clarke and Nicola Latty.

Team winners were Spencer Swim, Hadrian Masters (2) and Worcester Mens (2), who all set new British records for their age groups in the 400m Medley Relay, and Masters and Worcester in the 200m Freestyle relays, which concluded this year's hugely-popular competition.

In total, six world records, 22 European records and 79 British records fell during the course of the 3-day championships.

–courtesy British Swimming

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