Claremont Wins 2016 Nationals Visitors Trophy

13090608 1120688264618466 1814984634 oThe Team - poolside at MSAC

Claremont sent a team of 23 swimmers to Melbourne to compete in the 2016 Masters National Swimming Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) on April 21st - 24th 2016. The team swam exceptionally well, coming away with the Visitor's Trophy for best visiting team, and placing third overall nationally, which is a fantastic result.   

For the full Meet Report from our fearless Captain Sue Bird, please read on!
To see all the highlights from the Pool and the Presentation Dinner, see the Gallery HERE 

 Sue birdCaptain Sue Bird, accepting the Vistors Trophy

The 41st National Masters Swimming Championships – and Claremont Masters is let loose on Melbourne. This year had it all; drama, excitement, state records, injury worries, close finishes, that green speedo suit, DQ’s, swimsuit malfunctions, medals, PB’s by the truckload, we had the best garlic bread ever at Leo’s and we all had one hell of a good time!
Day 1 and our early arrivers claim our territory in the grandstand right over the finish line by spreading the contents of their bags over as many chairs as they could. Our cheer squad was in fine voice the whole 4 days – we were definitely the loudest team there. The medal haul began and so did the drama. Elena revealed her bright green speedo swimsuit and yours truly revealed rather more than was necessary due to a faulty suit (and Kristy – you are absolutely right – you can never unsee that!) and Anthony was just a bit too keen to get off the blocks in the mixed freestyle relay. Sally couldn’t be with us this year but our pacing guru audited our splits from afar and sent an email. As word spread throughout the team that the email had arrived we wondered if we were red or green? We are all so grateful to Sally for her diligence with this. One day Sal, you will get through to everyone. And I speak as a very smug green swimmer.

Day 2 was the much talked about 2 to a lane 800 free. We were not happy about this decision but our swimmers still performed very well under the conditions. Anna had a disaster in the 200 fly when she didn’t realise that the heats had been redone in an effort to save time and was DQ’d for delaying the start. The rest of the Claremont team offered constructive criticism and helpful advice to the ref from the grandstand, but sadly he ignored us and the DQ stood. Despite this attempt to save some time, the relays for Friday were not able to be swum and we were told to be there first thing the next morning to swim them then. We all trooped home very late and there was only one thing on everyone’s mind that night as we went to sleep – Anthony’s groin. Or his adductor to be precise.

Day 3 and the relays from day 2 were the first event. Anthony had to make the very tough decision to withdraw from the mixed medley relay and the 200 Breaststroke which surely cost him a gold medal. But he did see a physio, get some treatment and some strapping and very bravely swam the breaststroke leg of the mens medley relay – winning a silver medal and 18 valuable points for the club. Whilst many had their eye on the finish times, another competition was hotting up – reaction times off the blocks were being flashed up on the big screen and the battle was on. Anything under point 70 was good and Trish, Kat and Richard were our best but the crown went to Richard with 0.60. It’s worth noting that these times were way better than most of the elite swimmers so our diving practice and clinics certainly paid off.

Day 4 and everyone was starting to feel the fatigue, but we had our eye on the prize for best visiting club so had to give our all. The final relays were incredible with a couple of very close finishes from Kristy and Paul in their respective final legs. It’s so good to see everyone lift for the team and splits showed incredible swims from all. We won an amazing 4 silver medals on the final day. It was quite an early finish on the final day, giving us a bit of time to head home and glam up for the presentation dinner.

Great to see Paul Blackbeard finish 3rd in male swimmer of the meet and we were almost as excited as the Superfins when Brigid’s niece and Superfins head coach Katya Anderson was named coach of the year. The team announcements were then made and as you all know by now, Claremont finished 3rd overall and winner of the trophy for best visiting club. This is a fantastic effort and recognition of the hard work put in by the whole squad over the last couple of months.

Paul, Graham, Eleanor, Anthony, Kristy and Nicky performed amazingly well as always, but it was great to see Nationals first timers amongst the medals. Well done Brigid, Anna, Kat, Louise and Tammy. Other medal winners were Trish, Annie and Elena and Damien also had quite a haul. There were many PB’s as well – Hannah almost every time she got in the pool and Orla swam a fantastic 200IM.
Sadly I wasn’t around to bear witness to the shenanigans that ensued after the official presentations and dinner but rumours (and photo’s) abound of tequila shots, dance floor antics and a great time had by all.

Our president Richard was surely the hardest working person there as he was officiating every day between swims. I don’t know how you did it Richard as it was hard enough getting all the warm-ups, swims and cool downs in without any extra work. Maybe it was to your detriment as we all know you were unwell on the last day.

I would like to particularly thank our second claim members – the Riverton 5 and Kat and Eleanor from Stadium Masters. You all added so much to the team, both in your swimming ability and your great company. We were very glad to have you along and hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we enjoyed having you.

Thanks to Kristy for her support and assistance with the relays and also to Nicky for her suggestions. I think we did a great job, especially as the relay points were the difference between us and Tuggerong.
Thank you everyone and I hope to see you all – and a few more besides – at the Gold Coast next year.

- Captain Sue Bird