Sunday, 18 October 2015

World Masters Swimming Championships Kazan Russia August 2015 - Joe Matthews Speaks About Her Experience

After achieving three 6th places in the 50, 100 & 200 Butterfly at the Worlds in Gothenburg Sweden 2010, I was determined to do better next time I attended a World Meet. With 18mths out of the water while I had radiation and chemotherapy, I thought maybe my goal was a little unrealistic! However, once I had built myself back up to training 6 days a week with the children’s club in Masterton, and asking my coach to give me mainly fly sets following my disappointing 200m Fly at the Nationals in March, my dream did not seem quite so daft.

My first event was the 50 Butterfly; I was pumped and felt really good. The starter said to you marks and a swimmer on the blocks next to me fell in! Instead of ignoring the huge splash I stood up thinking they would get her out of the water before we started again. Wrong! It was a one start rule so everyone else had left the blocks. I must have delayed for what seemed like at least two seconds. All I remember is flying off after the others, like a women possessed. At the end of the 50 meters I looked up to the results board and saw I had gained 4th, with a PB. I spent the next hour berating myself, but then I realized that I could so easily have got 10th with no PB and that I had to forget the race and concentrate on the next.

Next day I stood on the blocks again, thinking I can do this. Huge sense of relief to get a good start and finish strongly, out touched by the silver medalist, who jumped out the water and was skipping around. It felt good to think that someone was so excited to have beaten me! I was stoked with 3rd place & a Bronze Medal, a PB and I broke my own NZ record.
A day off and there I was again determined to improve on my 200 Butterfly time. My daughter Rachel had joined me in Kazan and it felt good to have support in the stands. I was the only representative from NZ, so up to that point I had flown the flag on my own. I was over taken on the final length and beaten into 4th place, with a 7 second PB and the NZ record. Two minutes later I looked up to the score board to see that I had been moved to third, they had disqualified the ex-Olympian. Unfortunately she got reinstated just before the medal ceremony, but I had to be happy with what I had achieved. Roll on 2021!

I was very impressed with the organization of the Russians, the pool was amazing, the accommodation was comfortable and the transport superb.


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