A team of eager Otters travelled down to the K2 pool in Crawley at the weekend for their first competitive outing of 2016. It was the first opportunity for the team to test their long course racing prowess after the Christmas break. The long course season has taken on more significance this year as the European Masters Championships take place at the London Aquatic Centre (which famously hosted the Swimming competition at London 2012 Olympic Games) with Masters swimmers from all over the UK and Europe looking for race practice ahead of the big event at the end of May.
The select team from Otter consisted of Craig Gillespie, Wade Rimbach, Enrico Hahn, Ben Thomas, Christophe Amardeilh, Dave Warren, Pete Kirk, Peter Rae, Tony Ray, Paul Goudie, Jessica Thorpe and Youri Schwatz.
It was a very encouraging meet for all those racing especially so early on in the season. Coach Steve was on deck throughout to offer guidance and advice to all those competing. After a fantastic short course nationals at Sheffield last year Craig showed he hadn’t lost any of his speed by posting some very quick times in his Breaststroke swims considering it is still only January. There was a great Otter head-to-head between Wade and Enrico in the 400m IM with Wade just piping Enrico on the last length. Dave Warren again showed his class by claiming his first British Record in the 45-49 year age group in the 200m butterfly, beating the previous mark by a whopping 7 seconds. Congratulations Dave!
With the racing extending all the way into Sunday this gave further opportunity for the Otters to demonstrate their early season form. The highlight of Sunday's racing was Dave Warren comfortably claiming his 2nd GB record of the weekend in the 200 IM. Otter was well represented across the remaining events over the course of the day with Jess Thorpe bringing the weekends racing to a close with gold in the gruelling 800 Free event. Over the weekend the Otter team brought home a giant haul of 50 medals comprised of 30 gold, 14 silver and 6 bronze.
The competition at Crawley was a sell out with entries filling up in record time, so if you are considering racing this season keep an eye out for emails from your captains and get your entries in early to avoid disappointment!