SHEFFIELD, England, November 8. THE wait for a long overdue world record was finally ended on the last day of this year's British ASA National Masters 25m Championship at the Ponds Forge Pool in Sheffield.
Two days had included plenty of European and British records, but incredibly, after having seen 10 world records fall at last year's event, none had been toppled this year. But Judy Hattle, a former Scottish junior international, was the hero of the hour with a record-breaking swim in the 100m butterfly in her 45-49 age group.
The 45-year-old Hadrian Masters swimmer clocked a time of 1:07.65, shaving the previous best by just 15 hundredths of a second. Understandably setting a new world record was very rewarding for Hattle, but there was more satisfaction on the way when she discovered her powerful display in the pool had broken a record which had stood for nearly ten years.
Back on October 13, 1996, United States swimmer Laura Val registered a time of 1:07.80 to secure her place in the history books for the 100m butterfly discipline.
"It's very nice to break records, but it's extra special to break a world record which has stood for nearly ten years," said Hattle. "Masters swimming is a lot more competitive than it used to be. The challenge for me is to always keep testing myself."
Hattle started swimming when she was 11-years-old, but 34 years later she is still going strong.
"I've been swimming for most of my life," added the mother of two. "I got back into Masters Swimming in 1997 after a bit of break and I've been competing ever since then. I train with Carlisle Swimming Club, but for big competitions I join up with Hadrian Masters. Everyone pulls together and gives each other great support and encouragement. It really improves the atmosphere when you are swimming."
No more world records were broken on the third and final day, but three more European records were bettered. Soundwell's Eric Henderson swam a time of 1:04.37 to set a new European record in the 55-59 100m butterfly, toppling the previous standard of 1:04.55, while the Hadrian Masters 200m medley relay team also tasted sweet success.
Swimmers Keith Millican, Graham Pearson, Ian Wallwork and Wilson Mills combined to register a time of 1:57.59 and set a new European and British standard, bettering the previous record of 2:02.08. Gloucester Masters also made their mark in the 200-239 years 200m Freestyle relay with a record-breaking time of 1:48.16.
There were 22 more British records broken as the competition drew to a close with Judy Brown (Warrington Dolphins, 200m Individual Medley, 40-44), Kathy Clapp (Connahs Quay, 200m Individual Medley, 80-84), Ewan Martin (Loughborough University, 200m Individual Medley, 19-24), Aimee Ramm (Loughborough University, 100m Butterfly, 19-24), Wallwork (Hadrian Masters, 100m Butterfly, 50-54), Derek Parr (Otter, 100m Butterfly, 60-64), Mark Reynolds (Barnet Copthall, 200m Freestyle, 40-44), Arthur Lowe (Birmingham Masters, 200m Freestyle, 70-74), Sarah Rickwood (Loughborough Town, 50m Backstroke, 19-24), Mike Brett (Nottingham Leander, 100m Individual Medley, 40-44), Simon Veale (Totness, 100m Individual Medley, 45-49), Thomas Walker (Southport, 100m Individual Medley, 70-74) and Jim Hobsley (Barnet Copthall, 50m Freestyle, 45-49) all record-breakers.
British records also fell in the 200m relays with Loughborough University (76+ years), Hadrian Masters (160-199), Spencer (280-319) and Kenilworth (160-199 years) successful. The 200m Freestyle relays saw Loughborough University (76+), Kenilworth (160-199), Spencer (280-319), Swindon Dolphins (120-159) and Barnet Copthall (160-199) all re-writing their own slice of history.
This year's championships failed to eclipse last year's high standards, but with competition fierce as ever before, a total of one world, 13 European and 61 British records was just rewards for some starring performances in the pool. Last year saw 10 world records, as previously mentioned, 31 European and 115 British records broken.