The team return to La Santa

This was the 7th year we have been to Club La Santa as an Otter Team, and now as veterans of the training holiday we have come to appreciate all the facilities the complex has to offer and tailor our individual training accordingly. Alongside two training sessions a day the Otters enhanced their training regime with Spinning, TRX and the infamous "Ultimate Abs" classes (who said training was boring?) 

Each week at Club La Santa there is a series of competitive events and as usual Otter placed highly in all of them. From claiming the top 3 positions in the men's 5K run for Alex, Ollie and Mike (ignoring those who's 10K splits were significantly faster!) to Fliss' 1hr 35min half marathon on a very warm Tuesday morning to win the ladies event and place 2nd overall. Whilst we may have lacked the athletic appearance of a visiting Luxembourg swim club we made up for it in grit, determination and fear of being beaten by scrawny 16 year olds in the aquathlon and once again came home with podium finishes from Ollie, Fliss and Gina!

Trips abroad are a fantastic way to get to know your team-mates. We learned that Fraser will skip breakfast, lunch and dinner if it means he can spend those hours being pampered in the spa and an afternoon of athletics coaching taught us that Ollie is natural with a javelin but none of us can hurdle. Nico's love of board games was well known prior to the camp but this time we were still amazed at his dedication to check an extra bag full of games and had to admit defeat after hours spent trying to work out what animal he meant by a "Sea 'edge'og"... 

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A custom of the La Santa trip is the famed night out in one of Lanzarote's cultural hotspots, which we have affectionately termed "Puerta Del Chav". It was a delight to see Otters of all generations, and their partners, get into the spirit of the occasion by donning sailor-themed costumes for this year's event. Special mention here must go to Bob "The Commodore" Thomas for his immaculate costume and for playing master of ceremonies during the meal. The relative newbies to the camp, Alex and Fraser (not to be confused with the Alex Fraser) upheld the firm club traditions by whipping off their shirts to the Baywatch soundtrack quicker than you could say "Will Wall". Good work boys! 

As always the camp culminated in the fun relays session on the Friday afternoon. Joana led the Green Team to victory with a clearly superior T-Shirt change over strategy despite a challenge from the Blue team thanks to Emma's imperious sculling. Maybe if Tim's backwards freestyle could have got off the start line the Pink team would have had a chance - but who are we kidding?

In amongst all the fun, there was some serious hard work. Two time trial sets were particularly painful but no one embodied the work ethic more so than Imran, who managed to get his heart rate up to 196bpm while trying to keep up with Ben and Dave during their bike ride. 

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We leave Lanzarote collectively fitter, stronger, injury free (mostly), more tanned and with considerably better six packs than we started.

A special thanks must go to Nico for organising the trip this year along with help from Jo, Gina and Emma and of course to coach Steve for his many hours on poolside too. 

See you all next year for more fun in the sun! 

Otter stun the champions

The Otter Ladies 1st team pulled off a brilliant 9-7 victory over reigning champions Liverpool Lizards in this season's opening match of the women's Division 1 campaign at Newport Saturday.

Liverpool had led 5-3 early in the third period and then 7-5 midway through the last. Lily Turner's penalty with just over two minutes remaining cut the gap; and within another 30 seconds Holly Campbell equalised.

There were just 20 second left when Otter grabbed an 8-7 lead thanks to another Turner penalty. Campbell scored again just as the final hooter sounded.

Otter eased to a second victory on Sunday, defeating Caledonia 18-2. Seven of the goals went to Lily Turner, with Katie Cutler adding four. Left-hander Hannah Edwards scored twice in the second quarter for Caledonia but the Scots rarely threatened in attack. Otter keeper Tracey Allen added to their frustrations by saving a penalty. 

The team now have a couple of weeks off before taking on Hucknall and Coventry in Sheffield Mid October. 

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Otters show off at GLLAM

This year, fellow London-based masters swim team Out To Swim hosted their annual GLLAM meet (Gay & Lesbian London Aquatics Meet) at the fabulous London Aquatics Centre on Saturday, 9th September 2017. Over 300 swimmers across 58 clubs from 15 countries entered, and whilst many Otters were heading out to Club La Santa, Lanzarote, to begin a week-long training camp, 10 swimmers competed at this feel-good meet!

Alice Dinsdale-Young kicked-off the performances of the day, equalling the time she swam at World Championships in the 200m Individual Medley, whilst Dave Adamson's very impressive and out-of-the-blue time of 2:17.27 would have earned him 6th place at last month's World Championships! Christophe Amardeilh also achieved a master's best time in the same event. 

Kara Jancourtz's debut swim of the season also proved successful, with a gold medal in the 100m backstroke, and Etienne Cambier achieved a master's best time in the 100m freestyle, finishing in 4th place. Dontony Gill-Nasadi achieved a second personal best time in the 50m breaststroke this summer, further improving on his performance from Budapest.

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After an entertaining lunch-break, featuring a synchronised swimming demonstration from Out To Swim's female and male talent, the racing resumed with the 100m Butterfly, where both Catherine Demont and Craig Gillespie picked up gold medals. 

A strong Otter presence was felt in the final individual event, 100m Breaststroke, with the gold & silver medal positions across four age/gender categories being swept up. Camille Vrain finished in a very respectable second place, despite being unwell the day prior, and making a very last-minute decision to still compete, and Matt Wan swam a faster time than he had at the World Championships, achieving a master's best.

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That being said, the highlight of the day proved to be GLLAM's signature event - the mixed 10x50m freestyle. All 10 Otters present had a spot in the team, several of whom were still breathing heavily and full of lactic acid from just completing the 100m Breaststroke! After an exciting performance and a solid effort, Otter finished in a close second place behind their friends at LUST (London Universities Swim Team).  There's always next year...

(left to right) Camille, Catherine, Craig, Dave, Christophe, Dontony, Alice, Kara, Etienne, Matt

(left to right) Camille, Catherine, Craig, Dave, Christophe, Dontony, Alice, Kara, Etienne, Matt

17th FINA World Masters Championships

FINA’s 2012 decision to decision to expand the existing programme of the FINA World Championships and to add the Masters tournament to it, began with Kazan in 2015. This was met with a hugely positive response; masters’ swimmers got to enjoy the wonderful benefit of top class facilities, a destination prepped and ready to welcome the older generation of athletes, and being a part of the legacy that the competition creates.

This same feeling was felt this year, as right after the 17th FINA World Championships, Hungary had the pleasure to host the 17th FINA World Masters Championships as well.

From Friday 11th – Sunday 20th August 2017, Budapest and Balatonfüred welcomed an arrival of 9,283 athletes, of which 6,524 were swimmers, and 1,239 open water entrants (most of them also took part in swimming). On the busiest day in the Duna Arena 4,200 athletes took to the starting blocks in the two competition pools, swimming in 1,050 relays. The FINA World Masters Championships is by far the largest FINA event – and 2017 was the largest to date! Four competition pools were required to accommodate these numbers; two in the brand new Duna arena and two in the outdoor Alfréd Hajós national swimming complex.

Team Otter contributed a total of 22 athletes to the mix, and have some great results to show for it.

Friday, 11 August 2017 & Saturday, 12 August 2017

The beautiful scenic Lake Balaton (~130km from Budapest) hosted this year’s open water events. Eventually the races did go ahead as scheduled, and after much flight and accommodation confusion alongside choppy race conditions, Maddie Parra stormed onto the podium with 4th place in the 2.4k (this meet awarded medals for the first 6 positions), just 30secs behind the winner. A fantastic start to the meet for the team! This was closely followed by a great swim from Jess Thrope in 14th.

Maddie (4th from the left) receiving her medal

Maddie (4th from the left) receiving her medal

The men’s side was strongly represented by Pip Bennett, finishing in 8th, and Mike Reys competed in the 3k swim the day prior, placing 29th.

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Most swimmers had arrived in Budapest by now and were making the most of the amazing training facilities available, or just enjoying the free transportation in the city for all athletes, the warm weather and beauty that Budapest has to offer.

Meanwhile, the swimming competition kicked off with a day dedicated to 800m freestyle. Otter was solely represented in this event by Pip Bennett in the Duna Arena, placing in the top 25.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Duna Arena saw more Otter swimmers getting their first races underway. After enduring a 7am start, Wade Rimbach began with the 200m backstroke.

Unsurprisingly, Otter’s most popular event of the week was the 100m freestyle, with 10 swimmers competing. We saw several masters’ best times achieved by Michael Jennings, Martin Satorius, David Adamson, Fraser Peh, Graham Webster, Sarah-Jane Law, whilst Catherine Demont & David Adamson both finished in the top 20.

(left to right) Camille, Dave, Graham, Alice, Hayley, Fraser, Dontony, Martin, Matt & Sarah-Jane

(left to right) Camille, Dave, Graham, Alice, Hayley, Fraser, Dontony, Martin, Matt & Sarah-Jane

The breaststroke swimmers had voiced their excitement of racing in Adam Peaty’s water – and the women did so tremendously, Alice Dinsdale-Young who swam a masters’ best time, and Camille Vrain with a season’s best.

Meanwhile, the Alfréd Hajós Complex also saw a season’s best time in the 100m free for Olivier Geleoc, and a season’s best time for Liz Shaw in the 100m breaststroke.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Today saw several Otters racing outdoors in glorious sunshine for the first time, in the landmark Alfréd Hajós Complex on Margaret Island. This complex is also home to Hungary’s first indoor pool, where swimmers had the option of warming up.

The 400 individual medley saw Etienne Cambier & Wade Rimbach both finish in the top 20. Etienne doubled-up on his first day in the competition, producing a second masters’ best time in the 200m freestyle. Camille Vrain & Graham Webster achieved the same, and we saw a season’s best for Liz Shaw.

Camille & Etienne

Camille & Etienne

Sarah-Jane Law produced a significant masters’ best time in the 50m butterfly, and Dave Adamson’s fantastic time earnt him a 4th place medal.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

A little drama ensued when Alice Dinsdale-Young’s new racing suit ripped moments before the start of the 200 Individual Medal. Luckily, the referee allowed her 5mins for a spare suit change, which must have fuelled the adrenalin and help he speed through a masters’ best time, and her highest finishing place of 29th! Camille Vrain, in the same heat, was also delighted with a significant masters’ best time.

Unfortunately, last-minute injury had forced Hayley Davis to withdraw from her earlier races, but she braved the 200 individual medley, finishing in an impressive 14th place. Wade Rimbach also achieved a top 20 position in the same event.

Dontony Gill-Nasadi & Graham Webster The highlight of the day was Dave Adamson’s second visit to the podium, this time with a bronze medal. His time was just .16 behind recent Olympic gold medallist and ex-world record holder Darian Townsend, which speaks for itself as a massive achievement.

Dave (3rd from left) receiving his bronze medal

Dave (3rd from left) receiving his bronze medal

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Friday’s rest day appeared to pay off as all Otters shone in today’s performance of form strokes.   

Wade Rimbach & Craig Gillespie both swam solidly in the 200 breaststroke. This was also Craig’s first event of the meet, which he closely followed with the 100m backstroke, clocking an impressive time for an event he much less frequents. Favouring the backstroke races, Michael Jennings & Martin Sartorius both ranked in the top 25.

(left to right) Sarah-Jane, Dontony, Matt, Catherine, Coach Steve, Wade & Craig

(left to right) Sarah-Jane, Dontony, Matt, Catherine, Coach Steve, Wade & Craig

Both Hayley Davis & Catherine Demont took on the 200m butterfly, sneaking into the top 10 in their respective age groups

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Sunday, 20 August 2017

The last day of racing, and after a long week, the last Otters left standing had the pleasure of finishing in the Duna Arena.

Several swimmers achieved their highest rankings of the meet on the final day; Martin Sartorius in the 50m backstroke, Craig Gillespie in the 50m breaststroke & Wade Rimbach in the 400m freestyle. Catherine Demont also finished in the top 10 in the 400m freestyle.

Sarah-Jane Law finished on a high note, achieving a time a whole 15 seconds faster than her goal, and Dontony Gill-Nasadi was also delighted to swim his first 50m breaststroke in under 34 seconds

What felt like a very long and tiring, albeit thoroughly enjoyable week, came to a close. Every Otter swimmer went home with something to show for all their hard work, and a lot to thank Coach Steve for.  Thanks to Steve, the team’s turns, transitions and breakouts have never looked better.  We look forward to even more of Steve’s renownedrace pace work and reminders to ‘swim big’ over the coming months as we gear up for short course nationals.

We’re already excited for the next FINA Masters World Championships, and hopefully we’ll be taking an even bigger squad with us – see you in Gwangju in 2019!

http://www.fina-gwangju2019.com/

(left to right) Craig, Wade, Catherine, Sarah-Jane. Dontony, Matt & Coach Steve

(left to right) Craig, Wade, Catherine, Sarah-Jane. Dontony, Matt & Coach Steve

(left to right) Fraser, Graham, Martin, Hayley, Matt, Dave, Don, Alex, Wade, Catherine, Etienne, Matt, Camille, Alice, Jezz, Sarah-Jane, Olivier

(left to right) Fraser, Graham, Martin, Hayley, Matt, Dave, Don, Alex, Wade, Catherine, Etienne, Matt, Camille, Alice, Jezz, Sarah-Jane, Olivier

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Otter 1/4 Mile

Congratulations to all of our swimmers and spectators that participated in our open water series for 2017! This years season culminated in the 1/4 Mile race and water polo match on 12 August.

Results:
1st Alex Fraser
2nd Joana Sandrin Gauer
3rd Dan Shunn

We hope you enjoyed the events and look forward to seeing more new faces next year!

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Otter Mile Report

It was a decidedly grey and drizzly evening for the 2017 edition of the Otter mile, run on Friday 28 July and taking in a pleasant and winding portion of the Thames at Windsor. 13 swimmers braved the conditions, along with an array of supporters. Having taken a boat ride a mile upstream the swimmers made their way back to Windsor leisure centre with various degrees of urgency.

Open water supremo, Pip Bennett was the first to finish (in 20 min 37 sec) but took himself out of the race for this year’s trophies by donning a wetsuit (a one off, he assures us) so it was left to Hayley Davis to battle with Dave Warren for top honour and, in her first Otter mile swim, she took the overall win - the first lady to do so this decade. Well done Hayley! She showed her commitment to all things Otter by following this up with a trek to Barnet the next day for the annual Middlesex Masters competition, and reigned supreme there too. Dave won the men’s trophy. The men’s and women’s top 3 were:

Men
1. Dave Warren, 21 min 4 sec
2. Mike Reys, 21:36
3. Chris Grey, 21:42

Women
1. Hayley Davis, 20:57
2. Lex Higlett, 21:45
3. Carly Jackson-Clark, 24:58

The mile is run as a scratch race, yet there is also a handicap event (the Hon Handicapper having decided the handicaps in advance and working out the handicap placing upon completion of the race). So in addition to the ‘first past the post’ trophies, there’s a handsome handicap plate on offer. This year Mike Reys defied the handicapper and added his name to the list of mile handicap winners - well done Mike! Top three in the handicap race as follows:

1. Mike Reys (handicap 21:15, actual 21:36, difference +0:21)
2. Hayley Davis (20:30, 20:57, +0:27)
3. Lex Higlett (21:00, 21:45, +0:45)

Special mention to Ben Cocksworth, Alex Bion and Carly Jackson-Clark, all from the water polo side of the club who competed in their first Otter open water event and proclaimed that they’d be turning up for another one! 

Following the racing we quickly retreated to the pub to replace the burnt carbs. Thanks to Hon Handicapper, Dave Warren, for making the boat, safety and pub arrangements for this year’s event. The final club open water event of the year is the Quarter-mile, which is held at Parliament Hill Lido on Saturday 12 August. Contact Tracey Allen (traceyallen28@gmail.com) if you’d like more info or to sign up.

13 swimmers at the start of the Otter Mile

13 swimmers at the start of the Otter Mile

Women's and overall winner Hayley Davis receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Women's and overall winner Hayley Davis receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Men's mile winner Dave Warren receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Men's mile winner Dave Warren receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Mile Handicap winner Mike Reys receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Mile Handicap winner Mike Reys receiving the trophy from President, Paul Hindle

Half-Mile Handicap Report

On Friday 14 July, 34 swimmers and supporters made their way to Henley on Thames for Otter's annual half mile handicap. In perfect conditions, 21 swimmers took to the Thames and glided effortlessly down to the Henley Sailing Club. We were treated to a flying visit from Barbara Woodward, in town for the ambassadors’ conference and, adding weight to the argument that the best way to secure a good handicap is to leave the country for a prolonged period (ambassadorial posting optional), she reigned supreme, winning the JW Rope trophy. 

In second and third place were Hayley Davis and Maddie Parra, with open water first timer, SJ Law, coming in fourth. All agreed that it was well worth the trip out of London for the evening, with Henley Sailing Club laying on another generous BBQ after the swim. Thanks to Dave Warren for organising and handicapping.

Full results can be found here: Half-Mile 2017 Results

The next open water event is the mile at Windsor on Friday 28 July. Sign up with Dave for another relaxed social swim with Otters from across the club. 

21 swimmers at the start of the Half-Mile

21 swimmers at the start of the Half-Mile

Half-Mile winner Barbara Woodward being presented with the J. W. Rope Memorial Trophy by President Paul Hindle

Half-Mile winner Barbara Woodward being presented with the J. W. Rope Memorial Trophy by President Paul Hindle

Saturday training sessions for Q3.

We are pleased to confirm the Saturday training sessions for Q3.

LAC 11:00 - 12:30: July 1, July 8, July 22, Aug 5 & Aug 26

Crystal Palace 11:00 - 12:30: July 15 & July 29

These dates are now in the Club Calendar so check there before reaching out to the captains with questions. Happy swimming.

More medals and a British Record on Day 3 of the British Long Course Championships

The Mens 120-159 4 x 200 Metre Freestyle Relay (Nicolas Barber, Graham Webster, Mike Reys, Olivier Geleoc) started the last day of Long Course action in style winning in 9:27.51.

Craig Gillespie 30-34 (1:10.73) & Camille Vrain 25-29 (1:25.28) were both 2nd in the 100 Metre Breaststroke
with Wai Kwong Wan 30-34 (1:14.05) & Liz Shaw 50-54 (1:35.14) in 3rd. Alice Dinsdale-Young 25-29 (1:33.00), Emma Shkurka 35-39 (1:26.63), Gina Hobson 40-44 (1:32.23) & Enrico Hahn 35-39 (1:15.05) all finished just outside the medals in 4th,with Mike Reys 40-45 (1:18.53) in 5th. 

Wade Rimbach (2:28.69) continued his good form in the 200 Metre Backstroke taking silver in the 30-34 age group. 
Hayley Davis was just outside the medals in 4th in 30-34 (2:37.16), while Abi Hucker came in 6th in the 25-29 (2:50.36) 

All three Otter Mixed 4 x 50 Metre Medley Relay's collected silver medals: 100-119 in 2:08.37 (Wai Kwong Wan, Dontony Gill-Nasadi, Abigail Hucker, Alice Dinsdale-Young), 120-159 in 2:07.82 (Nicolas Barber, Camille Vrain, Fraser Peh, Emma Shkurka) & 160-199 in 2:09.74 (Gina Hobson, Mike Reys,  Michelle Senecal, Olivier Geleoc)

The Mixed 100-119 4 x 100 Metre Medley Relay took Gold and a British Record in 4:30.14. Congrats Wade Rimbach, Craig Gillespie, Abigail Hucker, Catherine Demont. 

More Otter medals in the 50 Metre Butterfly. Roger Lloyd-Mostyn won the 75-79 (40.05), Stephen Braine was 2nd in 60-64 (30.01), Fraser Peh 25-29 (26.41) & Craig Gillespie 30-34 (27.87) were 3rd. Gina Hobson (31.51) was 4th, Wai Kwong Wan (29.39), Olivier Geleoc (30.00), Camille (34.03), Michelle Senecal (33.92) were 5th & Enrico Hahn (29.01) was 6th. 

And Abi & Hayley rounded out the meet with Bronze medals in the 800m Freestyle. Hayley Davis (10:13.60) in the 30-34 age group and & Abi (10:32.94) in the 25-29 age group.

Congratulations to everyone who swam, Otter and otherwise. It was another brilliant weekend of Masters racing. Next up, Worlds.