This year there have been only 6 members of the Masters Team competing. In the 35 to 39 years age group there were four members competing, Philip Croxall, Bob Whittaker, Karen Driver and Stephen Smith. In the 60 to 64 years age group was Tony Catterall and in the 65 to 69 years age group was John Penswick.

The other members haven’t been competing for various reasons, Rachel Ingham has started university, and Chris Wood has been concentrating on his triathlons, which has culminated in him finishing The ‘Iron-Man’ Triathlon in Hawaii. And as for Janet Kirk, who didn’t feel confident enough to compete.

The big competition this year was held in Slovenia which was the European Masters Championships, but more on that later.

The first competition of the year was the Rotherham Open Masters Meet which was held at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre on Sunday, 11th February. Only two members of the team competed and they were Bob and Philip who finished 1st in 200m Individual Medley, 2nd in 50m and 100m Breaststroke and 3rd in 50m Freestyle setting a new personal best in the process. Meanwhile Bob finished 2nd in the 100m, 200m and 400m Freestyle events.

On Sunday, 15th April, three members of the team travelled north to Darlington to take part in the Darlington Dolphin Masters Gala. Tony finished 1st in 100m Individual Medley, 200m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke, was 2nd in 100m Freestyle, 50m Breaststroke and 100m Breaststroke. Philip was 1st in 100m Individual Medley, 50m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke, and was 2nd in 100m Freestyle. Bob was 2nd in 100m Backstroke and 200m Freestyle, 3rd in 100m Freestyle and 4th in 50m Backstroke.

A week later Karen travelled up to Scotland to take part in the Scottish Masters Championships from 20th to 21st April. She was 1st in 800m Freestyle setting a new personal best time, was 2nd in 200m and 400m Freestyle and was 3rd in 400m Individual Medley again setting a new personal best time.

On Saturday, 12th May, the team travelled in two separate directions, with Jack going over to Scarborough to take part in the Yorkshire SA Masters Championships where he finished 1st in 50m and 100m Breaststroke and 100m Backstroke, and 3rd in 50m Backstroke. Janet should have been swimming, but decided that she wasn’t ready to compete.

Philip and Bob travelled up to Carlisle to take part in their Open Masters Meet, where Philip finished 2nd in 100m and 200m Breaststroke, 3rd in 100m Individual Medley and 4th in 50m Breaststroke. Bob finished 3rd in 200m Freestyle, 6th in 50m and 100m Backstroke, 7th in 50m Butterfly and 8th in 50m Breaststroke and 50m and 100m Freestyle.

The best attended event this year was British Swimming Masters Championships held at Manchester’s Aquatic Centre from 15th to 17th June when five member of the team took part. Stephen won the 50m and 100m Freestyle events. Karen won the 1500m Freestyle, 2nd in 800m Freestyle and 5th in 400m Freestyle. Tony was 1st in 200m Individual Medley, 2nd in 1500m Freestyle and 200m Butterfly, 3rd in 200m Breaststroke and 4th in 200m Backstroke. Bob was 2nd in 1500m Freestyle, 4th in 400m Freestyle and 5th in 800m Freestyle. Philip was 6th in 100m Breaststroke, 7th in 200m Individual Medley, 50m Breaststroke and 100m Freestyle, 14th in 50m Freestyle.

On Saturday, 30th June three members of the team travelled up to Newcastle to take part in the Gateshead and Whickham Open Masters. Tony finished 1st in 200m Backstroke, 200m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly, 400m Individual Medley, 200m Breaststroke, 400m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley. Karen was 1st in 200m Freestyle, 100m Individual Medley, 400m Individual Medley, 400m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley. Philip was 1st in 50m Breaststroke, 2nd in 100m Breaststroke and 200m Breaststroke, 3rd in 200m Individual Medley and 4th in 100m Individual Medley.

The main event of the year was the European Masters Championships held in Kranj, Slovenia, where Philip and Stephen were competing. The competition was held from Tuesday, 28th August till Saturday, 1st September in an outdoor 50m pool in picturesque surroundings. On Tuesday, 28th August, Philip was competing in hot sunny conditions with the temperature up to 30 C for the 200m Individual Medley where he finished 28th in a time 2:40.56 having bounced down the lane rope on the backstroke leg. On Thursday, 30th August, with temperatures down to 14 C and rain threatening, Philip finished 26th in 100m Breaststroke in 1:20.01, which was his best time for 3 years. Shortly after the thunderstorms turned up and caused the remainder of the days events to be switched to the indoor 50m pool. On Friday, 31st August, it was Stephen turn in the 100m Freestyle, in what were overcast conditions and the temperatures in the high teens. Unfortunately after a promising first 50m where he turned in 27 seconds, he failed to finish as he swallowed water half way back. On Saturday, 1st September with the sun shinning again and temperatures returning to normal, Philip set a new personal best time in the 200m Breaststroke as he finished 14th in 2:56.33. Later in the day Stephen took part in the 50m Freestyle and set his best time for over 15 years as he finished 10th in a time of 25.89 seconds.

The next event was the ASA North East Region Open Masters Championships held at the Hydro, Harrogate on Saturday, 22nd September where four members of the team competed. Stephen finished 1st in 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle. Philip was 1st in 50m and 100m Breaststroke and 50m Backstroke which was a new personal best. He was 3rd in 50m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke, 100m Individual Medley and 100m Butterfly, 4th in 50m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle. Jack was 1st in 100m Backstroke, 100m Breaststroke, 50m Breaststroke and 50m Backstroke. Bob was 1st in 200m Backstroke in a new personal best time, 2nd in 100m Backstroke in a new personal best time and 2nd in 200m Freestyle, 3rd in 50m Backstroke, 5th in 100m Freestyle and 7th in 100m Individual Medley.

From Friday, 26th till Sunday, 28th October it was the ASA National Masters & Senior Age Group Championships 2007 held at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield. Only Stephen and Philip were competing.

On the Friday, it was Philip swimming in the 100m Breaststroke, in which he finished 10th place in a time of 1 min 14.90 seconds, which was a new lifetime personal best by 1.2 seconds.

On the Saturday, Philip finished 7th in the 400m Freestyle with a time of 4 min 56.00 seconds, and then in the afternoon he finished 6th in the 200m Breaststroke with a time of 2 min 45.43 seconds, which was a personal best by 4.5 seconds. Next up was Stephen who finished 2nd in the 100m Freestyle in a time of 55.01 seconds, losing out by 0.04 of a second!

On the Sunday Philip finished 6th in the 50m Breaststroke with a time of 34.11 which was the best he has done for 19 years. He then finished 14th in the 50m Freestyle with a time of 27.24 which was also a new personal best, but he lost out to Stephen who powered to 4th place with a time of 25.44 seconds.

Next year the season starts again with the Rotherham Masters meet taking place on 10th February. This gives the team a little longer to get over the excesses at Christmas.

The biggest competition will be the 12th World Masters Championships which are to be held in Perth, Western Australia. Philip and Karen will be taking part.

There is also the Great Britain Masters Championships taking place at the Aquatics Centre, Manchester in June and the ASA National Masters Championships at the end of October at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.