Thurrock’s veteran swimmers wind the clock back

Swimvet 1

Swimvet2Thurrock swimmers wind the clock back two decades

ANYONE attending the Barnet Copthall Sprint Meet on Sunday 3 September 2017 may have been forgiven for a double take at the programme as they discovered the somewhat surprising entry from Thurrock Swimming Club’s masters’ team.

The team of eight swimmers, Andrew Bell (44), Andrew Westwood (44), Ben Millington-Jones (39), Roy Nineham (37), Caroline Crosby (43), Claire Jones (41), Lynsey Bruce (40) and Marie Latarche (38), led by Team Manager Robert Maguire, had reconnected over social media in recent months and mostly self-trained for the event. This was the first time the swimmers had competed together in more than 20 years and many had not seen each other during that time.

Entering an impressive 37 individual races and six relays, the excitement and encouragement emulating from the Thurrock camp was infectious. Cheers, whooping, hugs and continual support for every swimmer from dive to finish was clear testament that the team bond had withstood the test of time.

And the support paid off, as Thurrock scooped a clean sweep on the relays taking all six gold medals along with 7 golds, 9 silvers and 4 bronze in the individuals. Bell (Gold: 50 Fly, Bronze: 100 IM), Millington-Jones (Gold: 100 IM and 100 Breast, Silver: 50 Free and 100 Free), Nineham (Gold: 25m Free, Silver: 50 Breast), Crosby (Silver: 25 Free, 100 Free, Bronze: 50 Free), Jones (Gold: 25m Free, Silver: 50 Back, 100 Back, 50 Free, Bronze: 50 Fly) Latarche (Gold: 25 Free, 100 Free, Silver: 100 IM, 50 Free, Bronze: 50 Fly)

On top of the outstanding medal tally, the team achieved 28 National Qualifying times and 12 World Championship qualifying times.

Team Manager Robert Maguire said: “Swimming is a tough sport to get back into after such a long break and I am so proud of everyone. It was amazing to catch up with the team after all these years and we encourage other swimmers who want to join us to get in touch. I don’t think we left anyone in any doubt – Thurrock is back!”

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