27 November 2009


Navy swimmers scoop 48 medals

A Training and Adventure news article

26 Nov 09

Royal Navy swimmers have recently torpedoed through the water, battling against competitors from 92 different countries, to bring home a haul of 48 medals from the World Masters Games in Sydney.

Portsmouth-based members of the Royal Navy Swimming Club

Portsmouth-based members of the Royal Navy Swimming Club who between them won 48 medals at the Sydney World Masters Games - from left: Sarah Buchan, James Warwick, Gary Thomas, Stuart Mantle, Andy Grundy and Steve Berry
[Picture: LA(Phot) Pete Smith, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

The 28-strong Navy swimming team from the Royal Navy Swimming Club won 16 gold, 19 silver and 13 bronze medals, rounding off a phenomenal year of success in which they also scooped four Inter-Service titles competing against the RAF and the Army.

Assistant Sports Officer for Navy Swimming, Gary Thomas, said:

"This year has been an exceptional year for us. Before we went out to Sydney we set 30 medals as the target so we were well in excess of that - it is fantastic and a great boost for the team.

"In our five-year plan we target this as one of our major events and, as far as possible and deployment-depending, we ramp up our efforts to gain the maximum achievement possible.

"In fact, if the 3k [kilometre] open water race hadn't been cancelled I believe we would have come back with 50 medals."

The World Masters Games are an international competition similar to the Olympics, but instead are open to athletes over the age of 25 who compete at a world class level in their sport.

This year more than 28,000 people competed in 28 different categories ranging from swimming to cycling to running.

Leading Physical Training Instructor Stuart Mantle of HMS Nelson, Portsmouth Naval Base, came away with one of the largest haul of medals - three gold and three silver. These were in the 200-metre freestyle, two relay events and three backstroke categories. He said:

"I'm over the moon. I've been swimming all my life - I started as a kid and then when I joined the Navy at 18 I just continued with it. I really enjoy it and work hard at my training, so to win so many medals at once is a great feeling. Everyone did well out there though, it was a team effort."

The Royal Navy Swimming Club is open to both serving and ex-serving personnel and has 60 members based at Poole, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Faslane. It consists of both swimmers and water polo players. (MoD here)

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