Sunday's Well and Cork Masters get back in the swim of things

Competitive swimming has returned after the pandemic put the sport on the backfoot
Sunday's Well and Cork Masters get back in the swim of things

Nolan family; Poppy, Kieran, Anne-Marie and Arabelle. Picture: Larry Cummins

AFTER a two-year hiatus, efforts are finally underway to encourage a return to competitive swimming by older swimmers, who were disproportionally affected by successive pandemic lockdowns.

Sunday’s Well Masters and Cork Masters combined to organise a bi-lateral time trial gala towards the end of May, which was the first Munster Club gala at Masters’ level since February 2020.

A spokesperson for Sunday’s Well Swimming Club said it was the first time the clubs have done something like this, but that it was important for older swimmers, as high performance and age group swimmers had “rightly been prioritised” during the return to swimming post lockdown.

 Colman Shanley SWSC competing at Gus Healy Pool. Picture: Larry Cummins
Colman Shanley SWSC competing at Gus Healy Pool. Picture: Larry Cummins

The time trial gala, which took place on May 21, saw coaches from both clubs doubling as officials.

“While it wasn’t exactly ideal conditions for best times, the focus was on getting some race practice and getting the groups together socially,” the spokesperson said, adding that times are not official as officials from Swim Ireland were not present.

 A smiling Emily Thompson, SWSC is pleased with her competition time in the 50m Butterfly. Picture: Larry Cummins
A smiling Emily Thompson, SWSC is pleased with her competition time in the 50m Butterfly. Picture: Larry Cummins

The successful event was also designed to showcase the competitive environment for new Masters’ members, as a means of encouraging them to enter in future competitions.

Competitors were allowed to take part in as many events as they liked and were rewarded with some excellent post-gala catering, with a robustly international flavour, donated by club members.

“It was a very successful morning in the pool and we are looking forward to the next one,” the spokesperson said.

 Anne-Marie Nolan, SWSC at the Sunday's Well Swimming Club Masters Gala. Picture: Larry Cummins
Anne-Marie Nolan, SWSC at the Sunday's Well Swimming Club Masters Gala. Picture: Larry Cummins

While Sunday’s Well Swimming Club aren’t sending anyone to the European Masters Swimming Championships in Rome this summer, they are focusing on growing membership, particularly at Masters’ level, and at encouraging more members to compete locally and internationally.

 Paul Laffan, Cork Masters SC. Picture: Larry Cummins
Paul Laffan, Cork Masters SC. Picture: Larry Cummins

The spokesperson said that in general, although Masters’ swimming is competitive, “there is a strong emphasis on continued, long-term participation and ‘swim for life’”.

 Arjan Toebes, SWSC. Picture: Larry Cummins
Arjan Toebes, SWSC. Picture: Larry Cummins

Cork Masters’ Swimming Club are competing in the European Masters Swimming Championships and are sending a squad of 10.

 Sarah Hyde, SWSC. Picture: Larry Cummins
Sarah Hyde, SWSC. Picture: Larry Cummins

Members will take part in a mixture of open water and pool swims over a two week period between August 24 and September 4 “and 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in what should be a phenomenal event”, a spokesperson for Cork Masters’ said.

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