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Open Water

TMBSC OW season 2016

As a club we have had a number of open water specialists who carried the open water mantle by themselves e.g. David Randall and Jane McCormick. As the popularity of the sport grows, so do the numbers of our swimmers embracing the outdoors. We thought that it was long over due that we add a section to celebrate our swimmers’ outdoor achievements!

Warrington Dolphins 22nd annual championship, Budworth, 4th June 2016

This is a friendly, local event. It offers skins and wetsuit swimmers the chance to swim over a range of distances.

Michael Boyle, 3 mile (wetsuit), 1st in 1h8m59s

Dave Randall, 2 mile Veterans (skins), 2nd in 50m 58s

Ian Griffiths in the 3 mile senior (skins),5th 1h25m11s

BLDSA Wykeham Lake, Sunday 5th June

David Randall (Senior) 5k  3rd, 1:33.19

Great North Swim, Windermere, June

The home of the Great Swim Series and this year for the first time they introduced a 10k wetsuit swim. We had a number of swimmers taking part:

Steve Metcalfe 2:18.32 (4th)

Mark Slater 2:31:04 (16th)

Mike Boyle 2:46.09 (33rd)

Over night relay at Boundary Park, 18th/19th June

4 of the The Trafford Metro Channel team, used this as preparation for their double channel relay crossing.

The team of Laura Bowden, Helen Sadler, Niki Williams, and David Randall  won the event in a time of 8 hrs 55 mins.

Great Manchester Swim, Salford Quays, 2nd July.

This mile swim is an annual favourite and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a great event for those new to open water swimming and those more experienced swimmers wanting a fast swim. For newer swimmers, it is a wetsuit swim and the layout of the course means that you can use the walls to guide you rather than needing to have tuned up your open water skills, and it means that spectators can walk around the course at the same pace as you whilst you swim.  This lends itself to a friendly swim with a great atmosphere!

We hand over to Steve for a first person report:

Michael Boyle, Andy Cooper, Martin Edwards, Ian Griffiths, Richard Kennaugh, Andrea Leech, Natalie Massey, Stephen Moores, Attique Rehman,Sandra Skellern, Kimberley Slamon, and Annabelle Surch-Williams all plunged into Salford Quays to take part in the Great Manchester Swim. The one mile course starts near Media City running the length of the dock, through Mariner's canal and ends with a lap of the neighbouring dock. With many of the swimmers having competed in both the Great North Swim (Windermere) and the Great Manchester Swim in previous years and having honed their open water skills during the year, hopes were high for some good personal bests. Sadly on the day the weather was against the swimmers with a very strong wind blowing straight down the dock causing the worst conditions many of the team had experienced with most swimmers being slower than previous years by approximately 3 to 4 minutes! 

Notable performances came from Andy 4th overall in a time of 21:14, Martin 43rd 24:45 and Sandra 26:13; Andrea for her first open water swim; and to Michael, 25:35, and Kimberley, 33:35, who were only 6s and 11s  slower than the previous year despite the challenging conditions! 


BLDSA, Bala 3km, 9th July 2016

David Randall swam 3km in 56 minutes and 16 seconds, placing him 2nd in the 45+ category!

ASA Masters Open Water Championships, Rother Valley, 24th July


Coach Dan Pepper competed in the same age group as Olympian Robert Pavoni, came 4th in 25-29 age group in a time of 22:33


Laura Bowden, 43:14, 2nd (25-29)

Nat Massey,  45:08, 6th (25-29)

We had 2 swimmers in the 45-49 year age group Steve Metcalfe making his debut outing at the Masters OW came 5th in 41:54. Ian Griffiths, continued his improvement and knocked over a minute off his time from last year and came 10th in a time of 56:43!

Well done everyone! Looked like some tough competition; especially in the men’s races!

Travessia Les Isles Medes-L'Estartit 50th AnniversaryRace, 1st August, 1650m

Steve Metcalfe in his first season took on international events!

There were 700 entrants, but 642 turned up due to a jelly fish storm the day before (sounds lovely!). Came 13th in open age and 3rd in over 50's. Spanish Masters work in 10 year age bands!!

Warrington Dolphins, Liverpool Docks, 4 miles, 6th August

David Randall, 3rd open age ,1st over 60, 1:46.28

BLDSA Derwentwater, 5.25 Miles, August

David Randall, Open age 3rd and 2nd Veteran, 2:31.06

TMBSC Masters team tackles 2 lengths of the English Channel.

We hand over to Helen for a first person account of their epic swim:

On 26th August 2016 at 4:06am, 6 Trafford Metro Masters Swimmers set out from Folkestone harbour with their pilot Kevin Sherman aboard the Connemara to take on their challenge – to swim the English Channel to swim to France and back again!

The team of Laura Bowden, Helen Sadler, Niki Williams, Marie Jones, Mike Dilworth and David Randall had begun preparations 18 months previously. These involved as much open water swimming as possible; each member completed a two hour qualification swim as per Channel Swimming Association rules without a wetsuit in water below 15.5 degrees; swam at night in the pitch black and swam in the sea….with jellyfish!

At 4:06am, under night skies with green flashing lights attached to her goggles and costume, Laura bravely jumped off the boat and into the water to swim to the beach to await the signal to begin. As soon as this was heard Laura swam powerfully to leave the English coast a long way behind during her first swim.

Each swimmer then took their turn to swim for one hour. In strict rotation the swimmer in the water was given the signal that the next team mate was getting in and was going to swim past them by way of a take-over. The rules of the Channel Swimming Association forbid the swimmer in the water being assisted in any way so the swimmers are not to touch each other when they overtake.

Although there had been a storm the previous night and some early morning mist, as the sun rose, conditions improved and a perfect swimming day unfolded. Calm sea and unbroken sunshine gave the team the best weather they could have hoped for. The regular backdrop of cross Channel ferries provided some excellent photo opportunities and there was not too much to hamper the team’s progress during the morning although Mike had to swim through a “carpet” of seaweed on one of his swims hiding hundreds of jellyfish! Helen and Niki though were accompanied at some distance by dolphins during each of their first swims. Poor David had to contend with some rubbish that had been dumped in the sea.

The team swam strongly reaching to within a mile of the French coast in around 9 hours. A further hour’s swimming to overcome the current enabled Mike Dilworth the coveted honour of making land in France. A well-earned experience as he had swum stoically for a large part of his first swim through a huge bloom of jellyfish. Mike duly received the signal to re-enter the water and begin the return leg some 10 hours and 6 minutes after the team had started.

The swim back to England saw both Niki Williams and Marie Jones face their fears and tackle jellyfish; Niki dodging them as best he could and Marie suffering a number of painful stings on her face and arms. Team spirit from the boat and her solid determination willed her on to complete her hour despite the obvious pain she was in.

Swift progress back towards the always visible English coastline was made in the remaining daylight before the team were back to wearing flashing lights and continuing in the dark with only the lights from the boat to guide them.

The lights of Dover harbour became their focus as David at hour 18 completed the third cycle of swims and Laura began the fourth. The current was strong and relentless making the task of passing to the left of a beacon on the land seem nearly impossible. This coupled with fatigue began to take its toll on morale and confidence. Helen struggled with the cold on her final swim but was spurred on to complete the hour by the whole team shouting encouragement from the boat.

Niki made great progress on his final swim enabling Marie the honour of being the swimmer to finish their challenge making land in Folkestone though rather than Dover as the tide and current had dragged the team four miles down the coast. Marie swam to shore in the boat’s spotlight until she could stand and her costume be clear of the water to enable the officials on the boat to stop the clock at 1:57am and sound the fog horn to mark that the challenge had been successfully completed 21 hours and 51 minutes after it had started.

This was the fastest 2 way relay crossing of 2016 logged with the Channel Swimming Association.


Well done!

Great Scottish Swim, Loch Lomond, 27th August

Martin Edwards 12th overall in a time of 24:59

Greater Manchester Open Water Festival, Sale Water Park, 3rd September

Andy Cooper won the 3.8k (wetsuit) in a time of 49:03

Nicola Rodgers came 2nd in the womens 3.8k (wetsuit) in a time of 1:08.55

Chill Swim,  Coniston 5.25 miles, 3rd September

Kath Thomas, 2:07:26,  1st in her category and 10th overall (men and women)! 

Vanessa Atack 3:16.28, out of over 500 swimmers she came 15th in her category. 

Uswim Abersoch, 5miles (cut to about 4.25 due to conditions), September

David Randall, 1st

BLDSA Lynn Regis, 5KM, September

David Randall, Open age 3RD, 1:20.58

BLDSA Awards

David Randall, won the BLDSA Willy Van Rysel Trophy (overall male 60+ swimmer). He finished 2nd overall in the BLDSA Veterans (45+) Grand Prix  and 10th overall in the open age BLDSA Grand Prix.

Niki Williams finished 11th in the open age BLDSA Grand Prix

A length of all the Lakes in the Lake District

A challenge for the whole of the 2016 season - Neill Hughes and Mark Smith completed a length in all of the Lakes in the Lake District! 

Big Chill Swim, 9th and 10th December

With one of the last competitions of the year, Martin Edwards swam in 2 events: 120m freestyle in a time of 1:28.3 coming 5th overall and 1st in his age and the newly introduced 30m ice fly in 19.33 coming 1st in his age and 6th overall. Just to put these times into perspective the water temperature is a spine chilling 5 degrees or so and these are from a push not a dive! Great swimming! 

What a great year of open water swimming! Well done everyone! Bring on 2017!


Joining the club

Mini Mets
For information about joining Mini Mets please contact Dan Walsh to arrange a trial.

Junior Squads
For information about joining the Junior Squads please contact Craig Ward  to arrange a trial.

Masters/Masters Fitness
For information about joining Masters and Masters Fitness please contact Bob Bolton to arrange a trial

Club Office

Our Club Office at Sale Leisure Centre is open on Sundays between 3.45-5.45pm for enquiries and to purchase swim hats and second hand items.

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We're affiliated to: ASA NWR, C.C.W.P. & S.A., M & D.S. & W.P.A., C.L.S. & W.P.A.

HQ: Sale Leisure Centre, Broad Road, Sale, Machester, UK