SHEFFIELD, England, Nov. 5. RECORD-breaker Francis Penwarden had a smile as wide as the Ponds Forge pool as she registered her own slice of history on the opening day of the (British) ASA National Masters 25m Championship.
The Kings Cormorants 200m Breaststroke ace set a new European and British record in Sheffield, clocking an impressive time of 3:00.66 in the women's 50-54 age-group category. And 51-year-old Penwarden was not the only record-breaker in South Yorkshire, but she and Judy Hattle were the only two swimmers to set a new European standard.
Hattle, 45, representing Hadrian Masters, set a new European and British record in the 50 Butterfly. Her time of 30.70 was enough to re-write the record books in the 45-49 age group.
Records continued to tumble during the course of the 1500m Freestyle, 200m Breaststroke, 50m Butterfly and 100m Backstroke disciplines. This year's swimmers have a tough ask on their hands if they are going to eclipse last year's final record standings – but they've certainly started in the right manner. Last year saw 10 World, 31 European and 115 British records fall.
But 86-year-old Harold Dodd, a plucky pensioner from Wythenshawe, started the ball rolling with a new British record in the 1500m Freestyle, competing for Trafford. His time of 34:04.68 bettered his previous best of 34:20.91 from last year.
City of Milton Keynes swimmer Margaret Smith, 47, was also in fine form in the 1500 Freestyle, with a time of 20:12.79 for a British and new Scottish record in the 45-49 age-group.
Hadrian Masters had cause for double success when, as well as Hattle's success, Graham Pearson claimed a British record in the 200m Breaststroke for the 50-54 age bracket. The 53-year-old registered a time of 2:44.26 for a deserved medal, while in the 70-74 age-group section Southport's Thomas Walker touched home in 3:15.50 to achieve a British record of his own.
There were six other British records broken on the opening day, with a total of 13 British and two European records broken.
Aimee Ramm, 23, starred for Loughborough University with a time of 28.30 in the 19-24 age-group of the 50m butterfly, with Soundwell's Eric Henderson a record-setter in the 55-59 section of the men's 50m butterfly. The 57-year-old recorded a time of 29.15.
The other record-breakers were Sarah Rickwood, 21, from Loughborough Town, in the 19-24 100m Backstroke (1:05.51); Jo Corben, 21, of Fareham Nomads, successful in the 35-39 100m Backstroke (1:06.02), and 62-year-old Diane Ford, of Spencer, in the 60-64 200m Breaststroke (3:18.15).
Bob Lord, 60, made his experience tell with an inspired swim in the 60-64 years 100m Backstroke competition. The Kennilworth Masters swimmer clocked a time of 1:15.46 while the last record of the day went to 81-year-old John Davis. The Birmingham Masters swimmer swam a time of 1:49.03 for a new British record in the 80-84 age group.