Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships 2019

Only two Masters open water swimmers from Somerset Clubs - Clevedon and Frome - entered the Championships in Peterborough which attracted entries from 207 competitors chasing age group titles in 64 categories.

Four swimmers completed an incredible clean sweep of gold medals. Hayley Davis, Harry Crisp, Pip Bennett and Nicholas Parkes were among eight athletes to enter all three events – 5km, 3km and 2km. They showed no signs of fatigue in the packed schedule, each claiming a hat-trick of national titles in their respective age groups.

Otter’s Davis, who won multiple medals at the FINA World Masters Championships in Gwangju last month, continued her success with a series of dominant wins. She began the day by taking out the 35-39 age group 5km title, finishing more than seven minutes clear in an impressive 1:13:53, winning the overall race. Davis then backed up with gold in the 3km – the distance over which she won a silver medal in Gwangju. That winning margin was over four minutes and she capped off a superb day by winning the 2km by more than five minutes. Davis was the quickest overall in the final race, pipping 40-44 champion Jo Mitchinson by two seconds.

She said: “I’ve enjoyed today, it’s been really tiring but good. Both the 5km, and the 3km were the best swims. The last one was the hardest by far; I could definitely feel it tightening up. I’m quite happy with three golds on my birthday, I couldn’t have done much better. My teammate Pip did really well too. He’s swum all three and won all three as well so he’s really happy with his, although I beat him on two of them. He won’t like me saying that, but I did. I had faster times in the 3km and the 2km; we have a bit of a rivalry,” 

Men’s club captain Bennett claimed Otter’s other hat-trick. Bennett started the day with his most competitive race of the lot, winning the 35-39 age group title in a sprint finish. There was little to separate Bennett and City of Cambridge’s James Gill, with the former leaving just enough in the tank to win by two seconds. That set the tone for Bennett’s day and after easing to victory in the 3km, he had the chance to push for his third gold in the 2km. That proved somewhat of a formality as the Otter swimmer clocked 30:05 for the third fastest overall time.

Bennett said: “It was getting more and more challenging throughout the day – 10km turns out to be a very long way in the water. The 5km race was a tussle all the way round and I was very lucky to win on the touch. I thought I’d missed it, there was just two seconds between us in the end, very close. It was great for both me and Hayley to be able to do that in Otter’s 150thyear and show our colours. The World Masters Championships was really exciting because that was the first time I’ve been on the podium at a major event. That was really cool as well, standing there with the British flag and so on was exciting. The experience over in South Korea was just amazing really, I hadn’t been to that part of the world before.”

In one of the most packed age groups of the day – 55-59 Yrs – Nicholas Parkes rose above to take home all three gold medals. The East Leeds swimmer won the 5km by a comfortable margin of more than four-and-a-half minutes, but he was certainly pushed over the other two distances. Parkes edged out Rochford’s Stephen Ham by 36 seconds in the 3km, before showing superb grit to fight for victory in the 2km race. All three medallists were within 32 seconds as Parkes prevailed in 31:26.

Harry Crisp overcame injury concerns to take out the Men’s 25-29 Yrs titles. The City of Norwich swimmer won all three of his events comfortably, claiming gold in the 5km by nine-and-a-half minutes, before winning the 3km by more than five minutes and the 2km by four minutes.

He said: “This year has been a bit topsy turvy for me. I changed clubs to join City of Norwich, which is a fantastic club, and then I ended up wrenching my rotator cuff back in June and I was strapped up over that. I had to completely change my stroke technique and I only got back in open water about a month ago, so it’s been a bit of a hard journey this year. I’ve really enjoyed today, it’s been absolutely brilliant. It was a bit hit or miss as to whether my injury would hold up and if it didn’t I’d have to pull out, but it held and I was just really happy with everything.”

Simon Emm, Warren Kaveney, Robert Milburn and India Rogers also completed the impressive feat of competing in all three events, earning commemorative plaques.

Please click on the respective panel below for event reports.
Women's 5km


Portsmouth Northsea's Ceri Edwards was crowned world champion in the 40-44 age group over 3km in August 2019 and she added to her growing medal haul with victory at Nene Park. Edwards was locked in a tussle with Hayley Davis for much of the race and she finished second overall – behind Davis – in 1:13:55 to win the title.

Edwards also won multiple medals in the pool at the World Championships and reflected on a successful month: “I’ve just come back from the World Championships in South Korea so this was an extra I wanted to put in. I haven’t been very well the last couple of days, so I thought I’d just come and have some fun. I swim purely for fun, as long as I get out knowing that I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve given it what I’ve got then I’m happy, the rest is a bonus.

“The experience in South Korea was amazing. I came back with some unexpected souvenirs but I’m just having fun. I just wanted to do the best I could do at the time. I was fortunate, I came back with four golds, a bronze and a fifth, so I placed in everything. It was incredible.”

Poole’s Liz Mills won silver in 1:31:54, while Leicester’s Laura Davison claimed bronze in 1:47:12.

Otter swimmer Hayley Davis sealed the 35-39 age group title after finishing first overall. She left enough energy in the tank to sprint to the finish gate, clocking 1:13:53. Davis was another of Britain’s star performers in Gwangju, winning silver in the open water before claiming multiple medals in the pool. She won silver at her last National Masters Championships, over 3km in 2015.

The GB Police duo of Charlotte Jessup and Lucy Hall rounded out the podium.

City of Coventry were twice represented on the podium in the 45-49 age group. Dawn Smith was victorious in 1:27:34, closely followed by City of Cambridge’s Julie Scott (1:29:07), before Smith’s teammate Sophie Matthews picked up bronze (1:31:23). That was City of Coventry’s second gold of the event, following Kathryn Gill’s win in the 30-34 age group.

Heidi Nevin cruised to the 50-54 title in 1:19:45. The Rochford swimmer streaked away from her rivals, with Bishop Stortford’s Helen Shingler winning silver in 1:31:16 and City of Coventry’s Claire Coventry wrapping up bronze in 1:39:53. Deepings swimmer Caroline Randeria finished fourth in the age group.

Emily Jevons (1:18:42) was crowned 18-24 national champion, finishing ahead of Guildford City’s Kate Alexander (1:21:23) and Exeter City’s Gemma Owen (1:26:54). 

Nene Valley’s Kimberley Bell was with the lead group for much of the race and her early efforts were rewarded with gold in the 25-29 age group. Bell clocked 1:15:14 to win her sixth national open water title since 2016. East Leeds’ Jessica Trewin (1:22:33) won silver, while Felixstowe’s Gemma Cannon won bronze in 1:30:07, trailed by Bexley Masters’ Rebecca Farrell.

In the 55-59 race, Winchester City Penguins’ Catherine Munro (1:27:01) streaked away to win gold, with Wellingborough’s Sheila Hardy (1:35:44) in second place and Leicester’s Jose Mills third (1:38:28).

Meanwhile, City of Derby’s Valerie Thorp won gold in the 65-69 age group.



Women's 3km


Heidi Nevin won back-to-back titles, adding 3km gold to her 5km triumph earlier in the day. The Rochford swimmer began the day with a comfortable win over the longer distance, taking the 5km 50-54 age group title in an impressive 1:19.45. She showed no signs of fatigue in backing up for the 3km just a couple of hours later, cruising to victory in 48:38. She was trailed by Lynne Hargrave, while Hemel Hempstead’s Hilary Coulson won bronze in 1:00:36.

Otter’s Hayley Davis also claimed her second gold medal of the day, winning the 35-39 title. Davis won the 5km by seven minutes and she was again dominant in the second of her three events, taking the win in 45:12. Anne Turner edged out Colchester’s Katie Holmes to win silver.

The fastest time of the event came in the 25-29 age group as Guildford City’s Hannah Kitchen clocked 43:22 to win gold. Kitchen was almost two minutes quicker than any other swimmer as she topped the podium ahead of Corsham’s Laura Atkinson (45:34) and City of Coventry’s Emma Hooton (55:05).

Loughborough’s Elaine Seager won gold in her first year in the 55-59 age group. She clocked 51:28, with Teddington’s Elizabeth Torode claiming silver. 

Seager’s Loughborough teammate Lucy Sharp had earlier won the 18-24 title in 49:06, beating out Thirsk’s Jasmine Harrison (49:32). Long Eaton’s Chloe Blaydon won bronze in 50:34.

City of Coventry’s Kelly Burnage was the standout in the 40-44 age group, winning by more than four-and-a-half minutes. Burnage clocked 47:41, with Sarah Windo (52:15) her nearest challenger. Southwold’s Zoe Ward won bronze in 53:43.

Cirencester’s Jacqueline Blastland and Tiverton’s Susan Haigh enjoyed a tight battle for overall placings as they won their respective age groups. Blastland pulled clear to finish in 54:13 for gold in the 60-64 event, with Haigh just seven seconds behind to take out the 65-69 title.

Meanwhile, there were also wins for Fareham Nomads’ Laura Molyneaux (30-34), Lincoln Vulcans’ Suzanne Hegg (45-49), Mid Sussex Marlins’ Alison Gwynn (70-74 and Ryde SC’s Jenny Ball (80-84).


Men's 5km


John Molyneaux and Pip Bennett won their respective age group national titles in a thrilling finish to the Men’s 5km race. Molyneaux, Bennett, Chris Grey and James Gill were locked in a four-way battle throughout the race and there was little to separate them as they turned around the final buoy. GB Police swimmer Molyneaux turned on the pace in the closing stages to take the overall victory and win gold in the 30-34 age group, finishing in an impressive 1:11:45. Teddington’s Grey was 12 seconds behind as he won silver. 

Just a stroke behind Molyneaux, the battle was on for gold in the 35-39 age group. Otter’s Bennett had just enough in the tank as he touched the finishing gate in 1:11:47, two seconds ahead of City of Cambridge’s Gill. Perry Beeches swimmer Charlie Wheadon completed the podium in 1:27:50.

The fifth and sixth fastest times of the event came in the 50-54 and 55-59 age group. Colchester’s Simon Emm claimed the 50-54 title in an impressive 1:14:58, with St Albans’ Craig Kirkland winning silver and City of Coventry’s Martyn Brunt picking up bronze.

Nicholas Parkes was crowned 55-59 champion, clocking 1:17:11 for a comfortable victory. The East Leeds swimmer was in the second chasing pack and strode away for the win ahead of Borough of Redbridge’s Ralph Pinel (1:21:46) and South London’s Brian Daly (1:34:34).

Colchester won two golds over 5km, with Robert Milburn adding the 45-49 title to Emm’s win. Milburn won bronze in the 3km in 2017 and made a strong debut after moving up an age group, winning in 1:17:25. Amersham’s Charles Bagot won the silver medal in 1:24:13.

City of Norwich’s Harry Crisp (1:18:54) won the 25-29 title, ahead of Trafford Metro’s Warren Kaveney (1:27:24).

Epsom District’s first medal of the day came in the 40-44 age group as Daniel Mcendoo won gold by five-and-a-half minutes. Mcendoo clocked 1:22:51, while silver was won by Teddington’s Philip Pellegrini and bronze taken by Southern Isle of Man’s Dane Harrop.

Meanwhile, Northampton’s John Parker won the 60-64 title, as Brighton’s Michael Read took out the 75-79 race.


Men's 3km


Nottingham Leander won a trio of titles in the Men’s 3km. The club’s first gold came in the first wave as Paul Wheatley won an enthralling battle with Colchester’s Simon Emm in the 50-54 age group. Emm – who won the 5km race earlier in the day – applied pressure to Wheatley, but the Nottingham swimmer was too strong, pulling away to win in 44:21, 21 seconds clear of silver medallist Emm. D.T.S swimmer Stephen Hammond won the bronze medal in 46:26.

If Wheatley had been in the same wave as his clubmate Wayne Stott, the pair would have enjoyed an eye-catching tussle at the finish. Stott swam exactly the same time as Wheatley to comfortably win the 45-49 age group, with Barnet Copthall’s Simon Marsden in second and Loughborough’s Nick White third.

Nottingham Leander’s third gold of the day separated the victories for Wheatley and Stott. Robert Steel – the 2017 national champion over 3km – won gold in 48:53, ahead of Hyde Seal’s Ian Foden (55:17).

Three swimmers successfully backed up from their 5km wins and sealed back-to-back golds in their respective age groups. City of Norwich’s Harry Crisp (25-29), Otter’s Pip Bennett (35-39) and East Leeds’ Nicholas Parkes (55-59) all topped the podium for the second time in the day. 

Harry said: “It’s been a good day, really lovely weather and this is a beautiful venue. They were all really hard swims I was up against good competition and I’m not in a lot of pain. This year has been a bit topsy turvy for me. I changed clubs to join City of Norwich, which is a fantastic club, and then I ended up wrenching my rotator cuff back in June and I was strapped up over that. I had to completely change my stroke technique and I only got back in open water about a month ago, so it’s been a bit of a hard journey this year.

“This is my first competition since the injury and it held up today, which is interesting. The next one I’ve got is club championships and then probably the Nationals over at Sheffield in October. I’ve really enjoyed today, it’s been absolutely brilliant. It was a bit hit or miss as to whether my injury would hold up and if it didn’t I’d have to pull out, but it held and I was just really happy with everything.”

Both the 30-34 and 40-44 age groups were won by smaller margins as Chorley Marlins’ David Jackson and South Bedfordshire’s Peter Gleed won gold. 

Jackson won the 30-34 national title in 43:18, with Bristol Henleaze’s John Wood only 27 seconds behind to win silver. Gleed clocked 43:08 to win the 40-44 age group, 35 seconds ahead of Team Anglia’s Alexander Bevis. Rochdale’s Matthew Lees and Loughborough’s Stuart Sharp won bronze in the respective races.

BUCS swimmer Sean Husband won gold in the 18-24 age group on his debut at the competition, clocking 50:10.

The 65-69 age group was won by D.T.S swimmer John Ryan (53:26), ahead of East Leeds’ Bruce Goldberg (59:23) and South Bedfordshire’s (1:02:34).

Sudbury’s Stuart Mclellan won the 70-74 title in 56:06, while Royal Navy’s Peter Stephens claimed silver.

Gloucester Masters’ Tony Cherrington was a comfortably winner in the 75-79 age group, finishing in an impressive 56:07. 

Just 19 seconds separated silver and bronze medallists Graham Ling (Hythe) and Michael Read (Brighton).

Meanwhile, Eastbourne’s David Cumming won the 80-84 title in 1:06:47 – a time which would have been enough for silver in the two age groups below him.



Results link will follow.

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