Dave leads the way as Sunderland swimmers make mark in European Masters Championships

City of Sunderland Masters swimmers From right: Jon Dean, Dave Hills, Mark Robinson, Graham Shutt, Norman Stephenson, Lindy Woodrow
City of Sunderland Masters swimmers From right: Jon Dean, Dave Hills, Mark Robinson, Graham Shutt, Norman Stephenson, Lindy Woodrow
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Seven City of Sunderland Masters swimmers made a splash in the LEN European Masters Championships in London.

Dave Hills was the star turn for the Wearsiders at the Olympic Aquatic Centre, competing against veteran swimmers from across Europe, finishing in the top 10 in his 65-69 years age group in all three events.

Norman Stephenson in action in the Olympic Aquatic Centre

Norman Stephenson in action in the Olympic Aquatic Centre

Hills also teamed up with Jon Dean, Mark Robinson and competition debutant Sean Harrion to impress in the 4x50m medley relay.

Swimmer Lindy Woodrow enjoyed the competition, saying: “Our swimmers did very well. A great time was had by all, with some pretty good results.

“The medley relay event was the highlight of the competition.

“Our relay team managed an awesome time of 2min 21sec.

Sean Harrion of City of Sunderland Masters enjoys his time at the Olympic venue

Sean Harrion of City of Sunderland Masters enjoys his time at the Olympic venue

“Our team were just one year off the next age category. This means they were 40 years older than some of the competing teams.

“Well done Dave, Mark, Jon and Sean!”

In all, the championships attracted more than 10,000 swimmers aged from 25 up to the 90s.

Lindy added: “Most of the events were held in the Olympic Pool – this was thrilling for the competitors.

City of Sunderland Masters' relay team. From left: Mark Robinson, Jon Dean, Dave Hills and Sean Harrion

City of Sunderland Masters' relay team. From left: Mark Robinson, Jon Dean, Dave Hills and Sean Harrion

“Because of the huge numbers, they expected no more than 3,000, some of the events were held in the No 2 pool and the longer events were run with two swimmers per lane.”

Hills finished fourth in the 100m freestyle in 1min 10.99sec, also ending fifth in the 200m freestyle (2.39.66) and ninth in the 50m sprint (31.42).

In the 70-75 section, Norman Stephenson was placed well in his three breaststroke events, finishing 10th in the 100m (1.41.23) and 12th in both the 50m (44.80) and 200m (3.48.45).

Graeme Shutt was a creditable 20th in the 65-69 years 50m backstroke, posting a time of 49.77sec.

Sean Harrion, in the 40-44 section, was 110th in the 50m freestyle (29.39) and 162nd in the 50m butterfly (36.92), while Jon Dean and Mark Robinson both produced fine results in the 45-49 category.

Jon was 33rd in the 100m backstroke (1.17.87), 52nd in the 50m backstroke (35.77) and 235th in the 100m freestyle (1.12.81).

Mark came 140th in the 50m freestyle (30.58), 144th in the 100m freestyle (1.06.79) and 155th in the 50m butterfly (36.02).

The relay saw Sunderland finish 29th in the 160-199 years section, one year out of the next category, in 2.21.76.

Dean posted 34.99 for the backstroke, before Hills recorded 42.89 in the breaststroke, Robinson managed 35.36 for the butterfly and Harrion closed with 28.42 in the freestyle leg.

Lindy Woodrow, the only lady competitor in the Sunderland team, enjoyed a good 400m freestyle swim in the 60-65 section, recording 7min 42.83sec.