Tuesday, 7 November 2017

What Dawn had to say about the World Masters Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary

In August of this year a team of 16 swimmers from NZ (Richard Smith, Rachel Richardson, Dawn Walker, Giles Walker, Ben Van Dyke, Malcolm Anderson, David Stekert, Michelle Lockhart, Mark Weldon, Marina McCartney, Helen Price, Julie Gunthorp, Jan Kordonski, Rebecca Perrott , Melanie Jones, and Robyn Crotty) headed over to Budapest, Hungary, for the World Masters Swimming Championships. Many of the swimmers had participated in similar events before but for some (like Giles and myself) this was a first. What an eye opener. We had thought the standard at the World Masters Games was high, but this was a whole new level!

The racing was held over 7 days, with 4 pools being used each day. We were fortunate to swim most of our events at the new Dagály Swimming Complex, which features 3x 50m pools, seating for a few thousand and the all important hot tubs! In all there were over 7000 swimmers, with the oldest being well into their 90s. In fact there were plenty of teams
competing in the 320+ age group relays. The highlight for me was being a part of 2 mixed relays with Giles, Rachel Richardson and Richard Smith. The real spirit of the sport comes out in relays.

Overall NZ performed fantastically with many stand outs. For a small team we won 7 golds- Julie (4),Rebecca(1) and Mark (2) and a number of silvers and bronzes- also included in these were Robyn and Ben. Mark and Julie also broke Championship records in some of their events.

Budapest was the perfect location for such an event to be held, with so many attractions, away from the pool, worth visiting and learning about. With travel and networking being so easy these days it makes attending these overseas events a lot less daunting. Team NZ swimmers met up and supported each other the whole time, lots of new friendships were made and many laughs were had (local wine helps!).

I would encourage our swimmers to consider attending one of these events in the future. It would be great if we could take a bigger team and make a few more relays to challenge those larger countries. I think I can safely say we all had lots of fun, in and out of the pool. Thank you to everyone who made it such a memorable experience.

I wish I could finish this piece with some Hungarian phrases that I picked up but I am afraid to say I would consider a 200 butterfly to be easier than pronouncing correctly and remembering any Hungarian words. We tried!

Dawn Walker

Well Done to all our NZMS Swimmers!!


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