SIX members of Swift swimming represented the Bahamas well at the World Masters Championships. The World Championships highlight both the club and country at the worlds’ largest meet.
The Swift swimmers were Percy Knowles competing in the 80-84 age group, Andy Knowles competing in the 55-59 age group, Bruce Knowles also competing in the 55-59 age group and Nancy Knowles in the 55-59 age group. Lisa Knowles competed in the 50-54 age group, and Allie McPhail raced in the 40-44 age group.
Montreal, Canada, hosted the 15th edition and last stand-alone FINA World Masters Championships July 27 to August 10, 2014, exactly 20 years after successfully organising the event for the first time.
A total of 7,794 competitors representing 101 countries gathered in Montreal. More than 6,000 swimmers hit the pool at the Parc Jean-Drapeau Aquatic Complex on Ste-Helene Island while another 1,370 took to the open water race in the rowing basin located on Notre-Dame Island.
The championships counted 950 water polo players, 487 synchro swimmers and 230 divers. Participants from the host federation came in great numbers (3,550), but also those from USA, France, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Spain, Venezuela, Switzerland and Argentina.
A few from the Bahamas, Nigeria, Greece, Singapore, Senegal, Fiji, Tunisia, Bolivia and Moldova also made the trip, making the World Masters a truly universal experience.
The swimming competition kicked off on August 3 and offered 20 events, including 4 x 50m mixed medley and freestyle events, a 3km race took place in open water on August 10, water polo games were held July 27 to August 2, divers competed on the 1m, 3m and 10m boards starting August 5 and the synchronised swimming events were held July 28 to August 2 with solo, duet, team and free combination.
Since 1990, masters athletes aged 25 to more than 90 years old come and share their life passion for aquatics, competing in one of FINA’s five aquatic disciplines – swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming – while promoting fitness, fun and friendship.
The Swift team won four medals with Percy Knowles taking a 10th place medal in the 100 breaststroke in 2:18 secs, and 200 breaststroke in 2:56 secs, and Andy Knowles taking a 6th place medal in the 400 IM in 5:46 secs and the 400 free in 4:53 secs. There were mostly personal best swims over the entry times going into the meet.
The week started off on Sunday, August 3, with Andy swimming the 800 free in 10:21 for an 11th place finish, and Allie also swimming the 800 free in 13:01 in her first World Championship swim meet. The second day saw Percy swimming the 100 free in an improved time of 1:52 seconds, followed by Andy in the 100 free in 1:02.8, and then Percy and Bruce in the 100 breast with improved times of 2:18.8 and 1:26.9 respectively.
On the third day on Tuesday, August 5, Andy in the 400 IM, followed by Andy and Allie in the 200 free in 2:19 and 2:57 respectively. Bruce and Nancy finished the day off with more personal bests in the 50 fly in 33 and 43 seconds respectively.
The fourth day was active with Lisa, Nancy, and Percy starting the day off with the 50 free in 37, 38, and 52 seconds respectively.
On Friday, August 8, the sixth day, Percy started things off with the 200 breast in 4:56, followed by Nancy, who finished the day with the 200 fly in 4:07 - both swims were big improvements.
Saturday, the 7th and final day at the pool, saw the swimming start off with Bruce and Lisa swimming the 50 back in 37 and 47 respectively. The day finished with Andy and Nancy swimming the 400 free in 4:53 and 6:49 respectively.
Sunday, August 10, was open water swimming with the 3K open water race. Andy finished with a 7th in his age group in 43.02 and Nancy finished 35th in 1:03.0. During the meet Percy, Andy, and Bruce were interviewed on TV to be later shown on the FINA website.
Andy and Bruce were the first swimmers to represent the Bahamas at the Olympic Games in Montreal some 38 years ago in 1976 and Percy, their father, was the coach. Some 38 years later, the three were back again competing in swimming. Swift continues to set the standard in Masters swimming.