West Midlands Retain National Titles at Police Sport UK Swimming & Water Polo Championships
The 2017 PSUK Swimming & Water Polo Championships were for the first time in my police career hosted by our friends from over the water, Police Service of Northern Ireland. The event was held at the outstanding facility built especially for the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Bangor. PSNI have for many years travelled to the mainland to take part in the event and it was good to finally see the championships being held on their soil. Garda Siochana were also invited to take part which added to the friendly competition.
West Midlands got off to a fantastic start to the weekend; in the first event the 400m freestyle West Midlands dominated with Claire Thorn (CTU) and Nigel Gaskin (Central Traffic) both taking gold by some considerable distance. West Midlands continued their success on day one with Sara Gamble (BWC) winning the 200m IM and Thorn winning the 100m breastroke with Gamble a bronze. Gaskin also picked up a silver in the 200 IM and Vicki Standen (Operations) winning a silver in the 100m freestyle. In the Masters 50m events West Midlands won podium places as follows: Standen won the freestyle and butterfly; Thorn the breastroke and freestyle; Lisa Rushton took a silver and bronze in the butterfly and freestyle events. Angie Fisher (Ret) won her freestyle and Carl Smith (Ret) silver in the same event. The 4 x 50m Medley Relays finished off day ones competition with West Midlands winning the ladies 140 years (Rushton, Thorn, Standen & Andrews). Rushton, Gamble, Standen & Thorn also went on to win the Open event after a close fought race with Police Scotland.
Day 2 kicked off with the 200m breastroke where Thorn continued her golden streak, closely followed by Gamble in second place, Gaskin also took silver. In the 100 fly Standen and won the silver medal. The 200 freestyle saw Thorn fight a tight race but managed to take gold. In the open 50 freestyle Standen made third place on the podium. The prizes continue to flow in the Masters 50’s: winning their respective age categories were Gamble, Standen & Thorn in the breastroke, Fisher in the backstroke; silvers went to Smith & Rushton in the backstroke and bronze to Liane Andrews (Sandwell). Gamble, Rushton, Thorn & Standen won the ladies 4 x 50m freestyle relay.
Standen, Gamble, & Gaskin swam the 4x1 IM on day one and qualified for the Skins event; a fast moving series of 25m sprints, a true test of speed over all strokes, it is an exciting event for spectators and also swimmers who win cash prizes, Standen performed the best finishing runner up and bagging £35.
West Midlands continued with their trophy winning with the Thorn winning the top overall open female and Gaskin the male.
Selected from the West Midlands to represent GB Police for 2017 were:
Nigel Gaskin, Sara Gamble, Vic Standen and Claire Thorn
Another outstandingly successful PSUK championships in the pool.
Larry Byrnes the opposition off
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