BCnP at the Commonwealth Games

With the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on the horizon, here’s a round up of the involvement of Black Country n Potteries Masters club members.

Justine Doody was able to keep teammates up to date with the development of the new 50 m pool during the building phase. The company she works for built it! She got to trial the water quality way before any one else. She’ll be a volunteer in the pool area as a ‘Host’ to sponsors and corporate hospitality. 

Lionel Spittle will be running a leg of the Queen’s Baton relay in Wolverhampton on Sunday 24th July. This is in recognition of his magnificent fund raising achievements for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Another five BCPM members join Justine as volunteers in the aquatic centre to assist in the swimming and diving competitions. Jennifer Powell will be in field of play, Sharon Evans, a protocol team member, Club Chair, Caroline Jones, a host for Fina personnel, Diane Asbury and Kath Tunnicliffe will work in the athletes areas.

As volunteers they’ll help make Brum ’22 a truly memorable Commonwealth Games and put Birmingham on the global map. They are also excited about it’s reopening in 2023 (once adapted), as 50 metre pools are quite a rarity in the West Midlands. Could it’s location in the centre of the country make it an obvious choice for future national and international masters competitions?

Batonbearer for the Commonwealth Games!

One of our own!

Huge congratulations to Lionel Spittle, one of the Batonbearers for the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay.

Lionel has raised £7,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of his beloved wife Linda. To commemorate five years of losing her to a tumour, and to mark his 65th birthday, Lionel undertook his remarkable 65 Challenge.

This saw him swim 65 lengths of WV Active Central Baths pool, where he also works as a lifeguard, cycle 65 miles, then run 65 laps of Aldersley Stadium to raise money for the charity.

But the fundraising doesn’t stop there. Next year, to mark his 70th birthday and 10 years since losing Linda, Lionel will be facing a Relay Channel Challenge with friends (and other club members) to swim the English Channel. The feat will again raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity along with Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

You can cheer on Lionel and many other Batonbearers as the Queen’s Baton Relay hits the streets of Wolverhampton on Sunday July 24.

British Masters Long Course Championships, Aberdeen. June 2022

Lindsey Gowland, Jacqui Mann and Kath Tunnicliffe all competed at the British Masters Long Course Championships in Aberdeen at the weekend weekend.

Kath took on the 100 Back on day one, with all three swimmers looking to sprint the 50m pool in the shortest freestyle event this evening.

Kath took the backstroke win in a time of 1:34.33, almost two seconds ahead of the silver medal swim. The ladies were on fire in the 50 Free too; Jacqui took 5th in the 50–55yr age group in 31.06 seconds. Lindsey took second place in 32.19 seconds (a time under the previous British Record) in the 65–69yr age group. Kath stormed to Gold in a time of 35.20 in the 70–75yr category.

Thoughts of challenging the British record in the Women’s 240+ Freestyle and Medley relays have had to be ‘put on hold’ because our fourth member – Barbara Boxall – is back at home recovering from a couple of fractures in her arm! All the best to Barbara and the rest of the squad!

Day two saw a very special swim from Lindsey as she took a new European Record in the 50 Fly. Her swim took over two seconds off the previous British Record.

Jacqui took to the pool for the 50 Back and 50 Fly, achieving 6th and 4th place respectively for her swims. Kath had a clean sweep of 1st place finishes for her day two races: 100 Free, 50 Back and 200 Back. And Lindsey took 2nd in the 100 Free, setting a fantastic if short-lived British Record!

Final celebratory photo Lindsey Gowland, European and British record, one gold and three silver medals in a red hot ‘world class’ age group. Kath enjoyed 5 gold medal winning performances following a stunning 17 day preparation period (much of it with leg action limitations) following pretty invasive surgery. Good job girls!

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.