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Stroud Masters Swimming Club making a big splash

Gloucestershire South > Sport > Swimming

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 09:00

Stroud Masters swimmers, from left, Nick Bishop, Rich Powis and Jack Powis Stroud Masters swimmers, from left, Nick Bishop, Rich Powis and Jack Powis

Their alarms go off at 05:35 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, every week of the year.

But they have no trouble getting out of bed even at that unseemly hour because their alarms have been set for a specific reason.

You see, a dedicated group of Stroud Masters Swimming Club members are about to leave home and – from all corners of Stroud and the surrounding area – head for an hour-long/3.2km training session in the pool at Archway School.

Sessions start at 6.30 and typically 2.4km - less for the slower lanes - is swum at a lung-busting heart rate of 150bpm+.

Members who swim at Stratford Park Leisure Centre on a Sunday morning get an extra hour in bed, but then they do have to swim for an hour and a half.

Between them they swim the equivalent of the English Channel each weekday morning!

The club have some 50-plus members and, as well as the morning sessions, they also meet on Tuesday evenings at Archway School.

Competitive swimming is predominantly a young person’s sport of course – you only have to check out the ages of some of the more recent Olympic gold medal winners – but Stroud Masters, whose members are 18-plus, have some pretty decent swimmers of their own.

For such a small club they’ve more than their fair share of champions. Jessica Wooddisse was FINA World age group open-water champion a few years back, while Sean Kinsey set two British Swimming age group records last year in the 400 individual medley and the 800 freestyle, and is also International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Aquathlon (swim and run) champion.

Not to be outdone, Sean’s wife Gwen, also a member of the club, is triathlon age group world champion, while Richard Searle is a Triathlon England’s age group aquathlon champion.

Members of Stroud Masters compete all over the country, with some venturing overseas for international meets.

In recent years members have competed in Italy, Slovenia and Sweden. This year sees members off to the FINA European Swimming Championships in Budapest, or if they’re a triathlete to Canada, Austria and the Netherlands.

While there are certainly some exceptional swimmers at the club, not everyone is competitive. The club welcomes anyone who is 18 or over if they can swim - there’s a lane to suit all abilities.

The club have a good mix of people in terms of age. The youngest has just tuned 19, and the oldest is over 70, and the gender balance is roughly 50/50.

Most members are in their 30s and 40s, with around 12 in their 50s – including two of the aforementioned champions.

“Swimming’s a great way to keep fit and make friends with like-minded people,” said a club spokesman.

“Being a non-load bearing sport it’s relatively injury-free. Some people may get a shoulder injury, but that’s more to do with poor technique than arm repetitions.

“Hitting those high heart rates mentioned earlier may not seem like fun, which is why you hear members refer to it as ‘Type-2 Fun’ - you take enjoyment from the effort put in after the session has ended.”

The club has been going since 1989 and were originally affiliated to Stroud Swimming Club before becoming registered in their own right in 2006.

Anyone wanting to join Stroud Masters or find out more about the club can either email treasurer Mark Partridge at markpswim@gmail.com, or visit the club’s website at http://stroudmasters.org/.

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