RACE REPORT – Royal Navy Masters swim open meet

Last Sunday saw me enter my first masters swim meet of the year, at Millfield pool hosted by the Royal Navy swimming club.


So training has generally been going well for the last few weeks. I seem to have finally shaken the knee problems that have been plaguing me since October last year, and I have found a good consistent routine since mid-January. As my focus this year has really shifted away from swimming towards triathlon, I have been swimming less to focus more on my weaknesses on the run and bike. However, I have upped the swimming to 4 sessions a week for 2 weeks in preparation for this meet, and combined with the extensive race-pace/lactate tolerance work we have been doing every week in the pool I was feeling reasonably well prepared for this.

The race schedule for the day was a bit tight with minimal break between events as is the norm for smaller meets like this. I wanted to choose my events based on my goal swimming events for the year at masters swimming world champs in Budapest in August (800fr, 200IM, 100fly). However, the only option for medley was a 100, and the longest freestyle event was 400m first thing in the morning (immediately followed by the 100 fly!). As I haven’t swum a 400, 800 or 1500 outside of a triathlon since I was about 15, I was really keen to try the 400 at this meet. That wrote off the 100 fly as an option, so I added in the 50 fly to compensate – noting my total lack of fly training recently this was probably sensible! This meant my races were precisely half distance of what I would be doing at worlds (400fr, 100IM, 50fly + 2 relays and 100fr which I only entered because I sent a cheque for 4 events instead of 3… woops!)

It was also great to have Chloe come along to support/spectate for the day, which gave me good boost.  Little did she know that the event was short of officials and she would be roped into timekeeping all day (sorry!). She made the best of the situation as she always does and I know everyone was really grateful she stepped in to help run the meet, even if it meant she couldn’t sit and eat the holdall of snacks for the day that she brought with her.

So the day started well on the 400fr with a time of 4:34:36 (3rd overall, 1st/3 in age). In recent training I have been doing a lot of negative split 400s with Savage tri club and am finding it is paying off. It has really helped me to visualise the race as 4×100 increasing effort on each one, rather than as a steady 200 followed by a hard 200. Racing in this way seems to help me pace a lot better and hit more even time splits. I was a bit too enthusiastic on the first 100 (1:03) trying to keep up with the quicker guys next to me, which meant I had to back off in the 2nd more than I would have liked (1:09) to get my breath back. The 3rd and 4th I was able to progressively pick up the effort and finish in strong even splits (1:10, 1:10). With a bit more discipline on the first 100 I think I could probably turn that into 65, 67, 69, 69, but this distance stuff is still new to me and I am happy with the time.

I finished the morning with a 50 backstroke in the medley relay in 30.18, which I think may have been a lifetime best (with a bad/deep start I should add). Not sure where that came from, but feeling good.

The afternoon opened with 100 medley, time was 1:03:98. 0.2 away from my masters PB but have been struggling more than usual to find the pace on breaststroke lately, and my back/breast turn was pretty sloppy. Definite room for improvement here.

5 minutes after that was the 50 fly in 27.68. Another decent time considering the lack of rest between races, and within 0.3 of my short course PB.

After nearly backing out of the 100 frontcrawl I decided to just go for it. I finished in 57:47 which is a masters pb and my first time under 58 since I came back to swimming. I can’t help but always feel like I should be faster than I am on this event, but this was good for considering I hadn’t intended to enter.

Finished off the day (5 mins after 100fr) with a Freestyle relay (1st leg) and swam a 26:11. Not the 25 it should have been but lack of rest before the event (and slow turns) make a big difference on 50m.


Overall, very pleased with my swimming at this time of year considering I have not put the time into it I could do. The cross training seems to be of more benefit than I thought it would be to my swimming.

It was also my first time racing in my new Arena Carbon Pro mk2 jammers and I was really impressed with them. I am planning to start adding some gear reviews in the near future so will be sure to write some thoughts about these.

Full results link below:

https://www.swimmingresults.org/mastersdata/results/?y=2017&v=1&c=3A3499FF-5791-4BF0-B007-CCF3D1003ABD

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