THE STRENGTH and depth of Rugby Swimming Club was there for all to see at the National Long Course Masters Championships after the team came away from Sheffield with four relay medals.
Along with an upsurge at the club as a whole, Rugby’s master’s section has grown over the past few months and six members of the team made the trip up north to compete against some of the best in the country.
Rugby’s first medal came in the 4x50metre mixed medley as they stormed to a seven second victory in the final.
Karen Bates opened the race for Rugby with a strong backstroke swim and Ross Turner established a huge lead over the next teams on the breaststroke leg.
Next up was Rachel Lloyd who had the killer leg on the butterfly and she was closely chased down by a few male swimmers behind.
But with the lead at around ten minutes, freestyle sprint specialist Simon Rigg set off and despite coming up against swimmers 20 years younger than himself, Rigg was able to extend the lead and lead Rugby to a rousing victory.
Both Rachel and Karen next teamed up with debutants Kelly Dughmosh and Laura Rushall as the four swimmers took on the gruelling 4x200metre freestyle relay.
This was a real leap into the unknown for Rugby but against all the odds the ladies led from the start to finish to record a winning time of 10:14.24.
Karen, Ross, Rachel and Simon joined forces again and despite a mixture of illness and tiredness, the Rugby foursome finished runner-up in both the 4x100metre medley and 4x100metre freestyle relays.
Elsewhere there were individual triumphs too with all of the six Rugby swimmers finishing inside the top seven for each of their respective events.
Ross Turner won the 50metre breaststroke event by nearly a second to claim gold and he also finished third in the 100metre breaststroke, wile also claiming a life-time best time of 28.31 in the 50metre freestyle.
Karen Bates won silver in the 100metre backstroke and in her first ever masters race, Kelly Dughmosh recorded the fastest ever time for a Rugby swimmer to finish third in the 800metre freestyle. Rachel was pleased to win bronze in the 100metre butterfly.