Kingdom Masters Gala 2013

Last Saturday, I had my first swim meet for 2013, the Kingdom Masters Gala. This was a short course meet and was held in Tralee, Co. Kerry. This is a very nice pool and one that I hadn’t competed in for a few years so I was looking forward to the gala. Also, I’d recently restarted training with Fermoy SC so I was looking forward to seeing how I performed after some club sessions…

I arrived at the pool early, having driven across Sliabh Luachra, and armed with a day’s supply of wine gums (a gala essential). Once the gang from Dolphin SC, with whom I would be hanging out for the day as I was the sole representative from Fermoy SC, we started the warm up. I never manage much of a warm up at galas and this wasn’t an exception. I finished up after about 850 m, but wasn’t the first so didn’t feel too guilty!

Photograph – Kingdom Masters SC (Facebook)

My first event was the 400 m freestyle – my personal best (PB) for this event is 4:39.90 but that’s a very old time which I aspire to break at some juncture. I was placed in Lane 3 of my heat with two 52-year-olds on either side of me and Carol Cashell in Lane 1. It was a great race, I felt much better than my last 400 m at Mallow Masters late last year. I finished up with a 4:55.25 which, while not great, I was reasonably happy with as it was ~5 s faster than my swim at Mallow. Carol finished with a 5:07 which was faster than her seed time but she felt she could have been faster as she was suffering from a head cold.

I then swam in the 50 m butterfly which was just for fun. I didn’t think that I swam very well but finished up with a 31.50 swim which is a PB for me – I don;t get many PB’s these days! My next event was the 100 m freestyle which was a disaster. My PB for this event is 1:00.10, just shy of the magical minute mark, but I was well behind in my heat and finished with a 1:03.91 so wasn’t too pleased. I really need to work on turning my arms over faster for that one…

There was a huge spread put on for the break, which may have been the downfall of a lot of the swimmers for the afternoon session! I only had two events left: the 200 m freestyle and the 100 m backstroke. My 200 m freestyle performance was not great, as usual. I swam a 2:22.25 which is a good 10 s off my PB. I’ve never liked the 200 m anyway as it’s not an all-out sprint like the 100 m but not a distance event like the 400 m either so I’m never sure of how to approach it. My 100 m backstroke time was a bit off as well at 1:16.48, my PB is 1:13.50, but I still enjoyed it as I always enjoy swimming backstroke even if it’s not that fast for me.

In total I came away with four gold medals and one silver (no, the 19-24 age group os not the most competitive in Irish masters swimming). The silver was in the 100 m backstroke and I lost out to Arif Yilmaz of Mallow Masters SC who posted a 1:03.62 (yes, faster than my 100 m freestyle time that day) so I wasn’t too put out! It was a great gala, good fun and very well organised, well done to Kingdom Masters SC.