PSUK Swimming Team Have Silver Touch on Home Ground
Ten police swimmers survived the crazy and painful entry process to compete at the European Masters Championships at the Olympic pool in London 24-29th May 2016. Some might say that it was an achievement just to have been there, sharing the fantastic facility with 10,000 swimmers. Who wouldn't want to have an opportunity to swim in such an iconic building in one of the great cities of the world and to follow in the strokes of the likes of Adam Peaty and Fran Hassall who only the week before competed in the same water?
Unfortunately due to the high demand swimmers were restricted to only 3 individual events and you weren't guaranteed to swim in the Olympic pool as events had to be split with the other 50m facility in order to get through the colossal amount of competitors. Choosing to get my events done in the first 2 days of competition due to another commitment; an open water festival in Majorca I avoided the mega busy weekend, however, there were still queues to enter the building, have a warm up and then swim. Despite all this I would not have missed it for the world, who knows when the Euros will return to the UK.
Day 1 started with 48 heats of the women's 200 IM where Sarah White (Surrey) came 19th in the 35-39 years and Sara Gamble (West Mids) 34th in the 25-29 years age group. Followed by 49 heats of the women's 800 free where PSUK got their first medal. Claire Thorn (West Mids) recorded a huge personal best to surprisingly take the silver medal in the 45-49 age group in a time of 10.08.3 a mere 0.8 off the British Record. Nigel Gaskin (West Mids) was 25th in the 35-39 age group. Day 1 finished after 12 hours of swimming, with 100's of officials working shifts.
Gamble, Gaskin & Thorn competed on Day 2: Gamble recorded a long course personal best coming 26th and Thorn 21st in the 50m breastroke & Gaskin 20th and Thorn 10th in the 200m free. On Day 3 Gamble finished her swimming off with coming 43rd in the 100m breastroke, whilst Rachel Vallins (Dorset) came 25th in the 50m backstroke 30-34 year age group.
Day 4 was nicknamed 'Super Saturday' by the officials an epic 18 hours of swimming from 0700 to gone 0100 hours the following day. This is when the queues reached their height, thankfully the organisers had learnt from previous days but the pure volume of competitors was a massive challenge. PSUK's second medal came in the form of a silver won by Aimee Ramm (Leicestershire) in the 100m free missing the gold by 0.3! in the 30-34 age group, Ramm was also 7th in the 50m butterfly. Also going in the 100 free in the same age group were Vallins coming 27th and Vicky Standen (West Mids) 18th; Standen also came 45th in the 50m butterfly and White 37th. James Patterson (Nottinghamshire) was 31st in the 35-39 and Chris Jones (South Wales) 25th in the 45-49 age groups. It is worth pointing out that there were a staggering 199 heats of the men's and over 100 heats of the women's 100 free. Also on that day Jones narrowly missed out on the medals in the 200 backstroke coming 4th. The day had not yet finished there were still relays to be swum; in the mixed 4 x 50m 120-159 age group freestyle relay Ramm, Standen, Jones & Patterson were 7th
The final day of the championships provided PSUK with their final medal, Jones had a fantastic swim to take silver in the 100 backstroke, Vallins finished in 15th place. In the 50 free, another very popular event where the pace both within and out the pool was very fast Ramm was a painfully close 0.03 from a bronze medal. Standen came 16th, White 32nd and Patterson 25th.
The last event was the women's 4 x 50m medley relay; going for PSUK were Vallins (back), Gamble (breast), Ramm (fly) & Standen (free) the ladies put in a nail biting performance missing out on a medal by 0.02 of a second to finish in 4th place.