Staffordshire Masters, 23 April 2022

Black Country n Potteries Masters pulled out all the stops at the popular Staffs Masters meet at Stafford on April 23rd. With three relative newcomers, Steve, Lionel and Clive, and a host of members still working their way back after lockdown, the eleven strong team made their presence known!

The highlight has to be Lindsey Gowland’s British record breaking 50m Butterfly swim. She sliced 0.16 seconds from ex GB Olympian Judy Wilsons 12-year-old record. This is her second British record of the year and watch out folks … as there’s more to come!

The team performed well on all fronts with individual club members chalking up 14 County Records (Clive 3, Lionel 1, Justine 3, Richard Woodall 1, Kath 5, Lindsey 1) plus a total of 18 wins, 12 second places and 8 thirds. 

The six relay squads produced five wins and one second place. The Womens 240 year plus created new club records in both the Medley (Kath Tunnicliffe, Justine Doody, Lindsey Gowland, Claire Porter) and Freestyle events (Diane Asbury, Claire Porter, Lindsey Gowland, Kath Tunnicliffe) with the Mens 200 plus freestyle team (Richard Hinsley, Martyn Finney, Steve Moss and Clive Keay) beating the previous best mark with a time of 2:07.08.

Next meet:      Shropshire Masters on 14th May

Future events see:

Calverton and Bingham Masters, Hucknall, March 2022

The BCPM men’s squad of took both victories in the Men’s 200+ freestyle and medley relays at Hucknall (20th March) Tony, Martyn, Richard H and new member Steve Moss set a club record in the freestyle relay in 2.05.56. 

Lindsey chalked up 4 wins, Kath 3, Tony 2 and Martyn 1. Tony swam a creditable 30.16 in his individual 50 free. That’s some swim as he openly admits he’s not doing ‘any real training’ at the moment…. Hope for us all!

Along the way Martyn collected a 2nd/3rd place, Steve a 2nd and Richard a 2nd

Good job team BCPM!

Swim North West Masters. Blackpool, February 2022

Kath and Lindsey took to the water in Blackpool this weekend at the Swim North West Masters.

2022 is a special year of opportunity for Kath and Lindsey as they have both entered new age groups – another raft of records to chase.

Lindsey Gowland instantly managed to grab her first for her new age group, breaking the British record for 50 m freestyle 65yrs + (subject to ratification) with a time of 32.04s. For her decathlon, Lindsey completed a 400m freestyle in 6.08 and a 100 back in 1:33.32 before her record breaking swim!

Kath did a very creditable 1500m in 24:23.30, setting 400m, 800m and 1500m Staffs and Midlands records along the way (subject to ratification).

p.s. I must tell you I swam this and every other ‘longer swim’ like a true sprinter: 1450 m arms and kicked for the last 50! 

KAth, after her 1500m record-breaking swim

Congratulations Kath and Lindsey! They are both hoping more of us will join them racing again soon, but until then we’ll continue to celebrate their achievements in the pool.

Lindsey taking things very seriously in Blackpool

Kath’s 70 = 2022 challenge begins. Carlisle, 11 February 2022

Kath has already opened her race card for 2022 in style. In her words, from the Carlisle Aquatics Open Masters Short Course Meet:

Some may already know but as part of my 70 = 2022 challenges I am attempting to set every 70+ record for Staffs. This challenge began on 11 February when I travelled to Carlisle. I wasn’t feeling great and it was a tricky decision whether to go … or not! Anyway I did manage a 400 IM (not pretty but finished…legally). I now realise that my extremely sluggish swim will also get me a Midlands record as one doesn’t exist at present.

The next swim session didn’t start till Saturday afternoon, by which time my health had deteriorated and I really didn’t feel well. I decided to just try to get my next two events done … somehow!

Here’s the shocker!

The first of the two was the 200 fly! Well, as it’s an absolutely unforgiving event even at the best of times, it certainly was ‘beyond me’. I stopped on the 4th length. I’ve never done that before and hope I never will in the future. I did complete a 200 Breast an hour or so later.

On my return I was properly ill for a week.

Kath, we hope you are back to full health! Good luck with your 70 = 2022 challenge; we look forward to cheering you through all those Staffs records and much, much more!

Sandwell Aquatics Centre, November 2021

By Justine Doody

I have worked for Wates Construction for 27 years and have been involved in many fantastic projects over my time. However, there is one scheme that we are currently working on that has particularly stood out based on my own personal interests. 

Wates were selected as main contractor for the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick back in 2018. After spending a long period in close consultation with numerous stakeholders and working collaboratively with the clients consultants, the final design and costs were agreed, and we started on site in September 2019.

Even though I am not based on this site, I am lucky to get the chance to go out and visit my colleagues on a regular basis and have a good look at how the scheme is progressing. I had previously seen drawings, photographs and even drone footage, however on my first visit to site, I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of facility. There has been over 3,000m3 of concrete used in the construction of the pools and 190,000 pool tiles laid !!

The scheme includes 3 separate pools, complete with moveable floors to provide flexibility around the use – from beginners and toddlers needing a shallow pool, continuous depth for competition swimming or water polo, through to the provision of much needed elite training facilities for diving within the Black Country and West Midlands.

The £73m project is due to be completed (first phase for Games use only) in Spring 2022 and will be the host for the diving and swimming events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

After the Games, we return to site to transform into a state-of-the-art leisure facility providing additional community facilities which will open to the public in May 2023.

Facilities will include:

  • 50m competition pool (with 2 booms to allow flexibility in use)
  • separate 25m diving pool with a 10m dive tower 
  • 20m studio pool
  • permanent spectators seating for 1,000 with an additional 4,000 on a temporary basis for the Games.
  • dry diving centre
  • 3 activity studios
  • sports hall 
  • 108 station gym
  • 25 station ladies only gym
  • indoor cycling studio
  • external grass football pitch with changing facilities 
  • café

Masters Swimming in 2022

The good news is that Masters swimming is alive and well and we would love you to join in the action. It really isn’t too early to think about your plans for 2022 and begin to plan a program to get ready for competition. Here are a few pointers to get you started…

The Black Country n Potteries website gives ALL the information you need:

The governing body Swim England site has a lot of advice at:

One of our BCPM members, Phil Carpenter, runs an excellent Masters training scheme from Bridgnorth pool. Further info: If that’s not convenient, contact us through our website and we’ll try to help with other suitable training opportunities in your area.

Check our Events Calendar for a draft schedule of competitions in 2022.

Swim England Short Course Masters Nationals, Sheffield – 29–31 October 2021

Day one of the National Short Course Masters at Sheffield saw drama, trepidation and glee. Kath, Lindsey and Richard were all at Ponds Forge whilst Martyn Finney battled every constraint to reach the venue on time. Frozen to a standstill on the M42, Martyn looked to have no hope whatsoever of reaching the poolside for the 5.00pm deadline. However, given the smallest of chances, Martyn broke all legal (+illegal) means, parking his car, catching a tram and running the final lap into the pool. Congratulations Martyn, a true team player. To cap it off, the squad were delighted with their bronze medal in the the 240+ Mixed Medley.

Elsewhere in the arena Kath won gold in the 100 free and within the hour followed up with a win in the 50 back in a tight finish. Lindsey won bronze in the 100 free and swam an excellent 50 breast to achieve silver in grand style.

Mid way through the National Masters Championships in Sheffield and Richard Hinsley started his account in the pool with a couple of very respectable swims. 2.37.57 in the 200 free and 5.30.36 in the 400 metres. Kath had to be at her best to take the crown in the 50 Free. In a highly competitive field she broke the 34s barrier with a 33.89, a season’s best. Lindsey followed up with an excellent bronze in her 50 Free with another seasons best of 31.34. Later Kath was disqualified in her 200 back for a technicality on her final turn.

The relay squad Kath, Richard Woodall, Martyn Finney and Lindsey, battled throughout their 240+ Freestyle Relay to gain a bronze behind a strong Barnet Copthall team and close to Trafford Metro. Thanks to Richard and Martyn for travelling to the meet just for club relay swims.

Best call the final Sunday of the National Masters Championship in Sheffield ‘Brilliant Butterfly Day’. Lindsey Gowland claimed a scintillating victory in the 50 Fly in 35.55; her nearest rival was nearly 5 seconds behind. Richard Hinsley was well pleased with his own 50 fly with a time of 35.02. Kath Tunnicliffe finished her weekend with Silver in the 100 Backstroke. A great meet and BCPM swimmers were certainly in the mix, well done guys!

Plymouth – 5 September 2021

Lindsey, Richard and Kath, Plymouth Sept 2021

At the very first competitive opportunity since March 2020 three Black Country n Potteries Masters swimmers travelled 200 miles to race in Plymouth. 

Richard Hinsley stormed a 400 free 5.27.67 and followed up with a 1.27.28 in the 100 fly. Kath produced a 40.60, 50 back and 34.56, 50 free. Lindsey blasted a 31.82 in the same event. All agreed they felt really rusty being back in competition, especially using starting blocks. 

Results below:

Kath TunnicliffeWomens 50m Freestyle65–69134.53
Womens 100m Freestyle65–6921:18.30
Womens 50m Backstroke65–69140.61
Womens 100m Backstroke65–6911:32.20
Lindsey GowlandWomens 50m Freestyle60–64131.84
Womens 50m Breaststroke60–64143.68
Womens 50m Butterfly60–64136.37
Richard HinsleyMens 200m Freestyle35–3912:36.10
Mens 400m Freestyle35–3915:27.60
Mens 50m Butterfly35–39337.35
Mens 100m Butterfly35–3911:27.20

An alternative way to Tokyo

By Tony Ward

It is the ambition of many Technical Swimming Officials to be involved in a major competition. Many see this as the National Championships where they’ll see some of the worlds best athletes competing for a title or aiming to get into the international team.

Sometimes you get “lucky” and officiate at a higher level and strangely enough, the harder you work and the more knowledge you have of the rules, the luckier you get!

I started my journey in early 1970s when I became a timekeeper. I have since taken a number of qualifications, specialising in Para Swimming. Now I find myself in the World Para Swimming Core Group of officials consisting of the top 25 Para Officials in the World.

It was always said you only do one major Games – such as the Olympics or Paralympics – once in a lifetime. My luck has extended this to four Games spanning 13 years.

In 2018 I was selected for the Tokyo Paralympics as Assistant Technical Delegate by World Para Swimming (WPS). For those not familiar with this role, it is a position working with the Technical Delegate (TD) who is appointed to oversee all technical matters, including the set up and conduct of the competition, and ensures the WPS Rules and Regulations are upheld.

Alongside the TD role, I have been involved in all aspects of the organisation of Tokyo Paralympics 2020. Yes, it’s still called Tokyo 2020. The postponement of the event to 2021 has brought in many other challenges, from Athletes arrival in the Paralympic Village to COVID-safe Victory Ceremonies.

From being a simple swimming official, I’m now involved in:

  • Officials’ Training and selection
  • The programme of events and their viability 
  • Minute-by-minute timeline to inform Broadcast’s Worldwide coverage
  • Callroom sizes
  • Athletes flows around the building (COVID friendly)
  • Number of accessible toilets
  • Athletes spectating area estimating number of wheelchairs, 
  • Swimming Pool water circulation, Turbulence Test, Water Treatment, 
  • Victory Ceremonies, 
  • Camera Positioning, 
  • Equipment lists from extension leads to Starting Blocks
  • Transport from Village to venue – not an easy task with accessible transport.
  • Team Leaders Guide
  • Games Officials Guide

The list goes on and this is before we get to the start of the competition itself!

It’s been challenging, frustrating, demanding, but most of all fun. I’m so proud to be involved with an excellent team who I’m sure will deliver golden opportunities for athletes.

On behalf of Black Country n Potteries Masters, we wish you all the best for a successful Games Tony!