Bournemouth Pier to Pier


Luka Crnjakovic, Nick Warren and David Blakemore headed down to Bournemouth on the 7th of August for the postponed race after wind and large swells made the June date impossible. Unfortunately, the intended 8 strong team had in the meantime been whittled down with two swimmers heading to Lithuania (it’s very nice to have alternative options), heatstroke and sickness affecting a couple (who said England doesn’t have a summer), work commitments another, and a Leeds v QPR match taking priority over the revised swim date (??).

Notwithstanding our diminished team presence, Luka managed to carve out the 1.4 miles faster than anyone else in the 10.00am wave. Quite possibly he now has his picture in the local newspaper… Nick maintained a lower celebrity profile with a top 10 finish (we think – as this isn’t actually a race we aren’t sure about times or exact ‘places’ other than 1st). Nick credits his fine performance to finally learning how to get his ancient wetsuit on correctly. Luka is now enthused about the possibility of ‘defending’ his title so plenty of training time for others to join in next year.

David Blakemore also undertook a commendable swim in the 12.00 pm start. The later start definitely had a larger and more difficult swell but David battled through this very well.

Well done guys!

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Cally Masters ventures to Cornwall

On Sunday 31st July, 10 Cally Masters members participated in the Padstow to Rock swim in Cornwall in aid of Marie Curie. Set among the beautiful beaches along the Camel Estuary, over 500 swimmers took part in the mile crossing.

For many participants, the swim was a personal challenge to cross the Camel Estuary from Padstow to Rock, but for many of our Cally Crew, it was simply an opportunity to visit this beautiful area, raise money for a good cause and swim in a new idyllic spot.

Despite the lack of timing chips, there was still an opportunity for some of our more competitive swimmers to shine, with an initial elite race allowing our speedy Cally crew to race to the other side. Well done to Luka who came in third with Nick and Lucas shortly behind him in the top 10. It was a little tricky to spot and time people – Sara, Jo, Julia, Clare, Gee and Ewan were clearly too fast to check in!

After a fabulous swim, all participants were awarded with certificates, t-shirts, bags and, most importantly a traditional Cornish pasty! It was a fabulous long weekend of swimming, coastal walking, camping and pubs and we would all definitely recommend it.

Please do visit the Just Giving page if you would like to sponsor us in aid of Marie Curie.P to R 2016

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Middlesex County Masters Gala

On Sunday 24th July, a team of Cally swimmers headed to Barnet Copthall for the annual Middlesex County Masters race meet. There are individual races in all of the strokes and for the individual medley. The highlight of the day is the relays where all swimmers get a chance to swim in teams both for medley and freestyle relays.

A massive congratulations to the women’s team who secured a brilliant first place and so are the women’s champions of Middlesex for the second year in a row!

The men missed out on third place by one point but that total combined with the women was still enough to achieve a fantastic second place overall.

The podium places are simply too many to list here and perhaps that’s also not the main point of the event: swimmers can get points for finishing in the top 6 of any event and so all of our swimmers earned points for the team.

However, first places in their categories were achieved by Richard, Gemma, Jo, Sue, Cath, Luka, Katie C, Amy and Maree. Jo and Natasha also secured second places. Special mention needs to go to Sue who finished first or second in all of her events, and Cath who won all of hers!

Cally won four of our relays, came second in seven and third in five.


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Capital Tri races at the West Reservoir

On Sunday 10th July several members of the Cally Team headed to the Stoke Newington West Reservoir for the races organised by Capital Tri. You can choose to swim 3km, 1500m or 750m. It’s a great venue to have a go at open water swimming locally and we get a discount for entering.

The Cally team, Laura, Luka, Nils, Sage, Sara, Rebecca, Mark P, Nick and Steve, had an enormously successful day and they all finished in the top 5 of their races which is pretty amazing!

Three of the six races were won by Cally swimmers and we had 6 podium finishes.

Full results are available here.

More events coming in September.

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The Jubilee River 10k

On Sunday 5 June a gang of Cally Masters swimmers went down to the beautiful Jubilee River to swim the 10k event as solos and relays. With great weather, swimming through the countryside was a great way to spend a Sunday!
Sally, Katie and Sarah R all opted for gruelling 10k solo swims whilst Steve corralled a bunch of enthusiastic racers to enter the relays
Cally Masters White team consisted of Anael, Steve, Luka and Sara and they finished 4th out of 72 relay teams!
Cally Masters Blue team, Romain, Dylan, Nick and Ewan, finished an impressive 10th.
Particularly impressive swimming by Luka who stormed his relay leg, swimming it in the fastest time on the course: he’s confirmed that he’s caught the open water swimming bug! Also noteworthy was Dylan who opted to swim his leg ‘au natural’ without a wetsuit.
Katie had a storming solo swim, despite never having swum further than 3k in total, completing her swim in 2hrs 51 – way to go Katie! Sarah R kicked off her open water season with a great 4hrs 03 mins on little training (swimming ‘skins’ without a wetsuit) and Sally completed the Cally finishes (skins as well) with 4hrs 29. All soloists were relieved to finish what was a long day out.
This is a super-friendly, fun day-out: he river is beautiful, calm and scenic with no boat traffic to contend with and a river to ourselves apart from the swans. There are feed stations and changeovers at weirs for swimmers and the river seemed really clean. It was a great club day out and one we should try to be competitive in next year!Jubilee Swim
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Sport Relief at Cally

Group pictureOn Saturday 19th March we gave over the last half-an-hour of our morning session to have some fun and games, and raise money for Sport Relief at the same time. Mari and Sally organised some great races and swimmers took part with lots of enthusiasm (and equal amounts of rule-breaking)! Thanks also to Lisa at Cally Pool for her help with the events.

On Sunday, we also entered two teams of three swimmers each into the Swimathon which also raised money for the same cause. Thanks to Rebecca for organising this.

Dual boardEgg and Spoon

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South East Region Long Course Masters

DSC_0273Ewan swam for Cally along with Natasha (who trains at Southwark but competes with us) and Sage who was competing for us for the first time. Here’s his report from the weekend of 23rd/24th January:

I arrived for the Saturday afternoon session, by which time Natasha, in
blazing form, had already set a Welsh national record in the 100 breast
(1:23.35) and also won golds in 200m free (2:22.12) and 50m breast (38.33).

I got off to a shaky start in the 400IM with a much slower time than in
2014 and then managed to hack around my first ever long course 200 fly.
Natasha won a silver in the same event, luckily not in my heat.

On Sunday morning Sage joined us and stormed to gold in her first Cally
race winning the 50m backstroke in 33.57. I started better than on
Saturday swimming the 100m free in 1:26.29. Sage swum the 200IM, just
missing a medal, and I survived 100 fly. By the end of the weekend Natasha
had obliterated the competition, setting four Welsh national records and
winning six golds and a silver. I got bronzes for the 400IM and 100 fly.

A great weekend, very busy with swimmers getting long course racing
practice in advance of the coming British, and European Masters. Next stop Swansea! (See Events tab for these galas)

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Denise’s Last Swim

We say a fond farewell to Denise who is moving away after 10 years swimming with Cally Masters. All the best from all of us and keep swimming!IMG_1879

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Nationals 2015

On the weekend of the 23-25th October, a depleted but dedicated team headed up to Sheffield for the 2015 Masters Nationals. The lengths that some underwent to get out of a few races was extraordinary: Luka Crnjakovic arranged a trip to Spain to avoid the Sheffield weather during October and Rebecca Adam literally broke her leg by throwing herself down a bus stairwell to avoid the 100m Fly.

This meant that Cally team relays were off the agenda and it was all about individual performance. Sara Perry used the 200m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke on Friday to stave off her impeding illness and get into the swing of it. Sara wasn’t that happy with her 200m Free (2.46.88) but the first race at Nationals is a bit like making pancakes – the first one never works. In saying that, Sara still managed top 10 for both the Freestyle and Breaststroke (1.36.05). Nick Warren only showed up on Saturday (similar to training really so let’s hope the pool police don’t notice) but did ok with only being 1 second off his best pace in both the 100IM (1.09.94) and 100 Free (59.2) and mid-field for the age group, around 15th. The 100 Fly was a different story: although the overall time and place was around par (1.10.35 – 18th), there is clearly a lot of work to do when the first 50m split was 30% faster than the 2nd 50m – #armsfelloff. More training necessary for that chap. Christine Jaeggi had a much sharper 100m Fly with a 1.13.19 and top 5 finish. Very impressive for her first fly race after baby (FFAB).

That left it to Sara to bring it home with the 50m and 200m Breaststroke. And what a performance! The sprint was 43.88 and the 200m 3.23.68. Her 50m was her best of the season and the 200m was only just off this and included a 100m split time that was a second faster than her 100m from the Friday.

An honourable mention needs to go out to Natasha Morgan. She has a close affiliation with Cally Masters and you will see her from time to time, although generally swimming down with Southwark club. Natasha knocked out no less than NINE races over the three days. That is more than half of the entire programme and far more dedicated than pretty much anyone else racing up there. Despite the workload, Natasha hauled in some metal as well: she won the 200 Breaststroke (2.49.07), and came third in both the 100 Breaststroke (1.18.95) and 400IM (5.30.75). I didn’t realise it was legal to continue making people swim 400IM; that’s 5 and half minutes you probably never want to experience again.  She was in the top 10 for all the other races so quantity went hand-in-hand with a lot of quality. Well done and we would love you racing under the Cally Masters’ banner any day.

If anyone is keen to learn a little more about the competition programme at Cally Masters, come and have a chat. We are keen for participation (it is good for club ranking) and Masters comps really are designed for everyone so it’s definitely a case of the-more-the-merrier.


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Padstow to Rock Swim

Four Cally swimmers, Sara, Jo, Helen and Ewan, took part in this swim on the 12th July. Here’s Ewan’s report on it:

On Sunday 12 July, we joined the wetsuited throng on the quay at Padstow, Cornwall for the annual Padstow to Rock Swim in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Padstow and Rock lie on opposite sides of the Camel Estuary in North Cornwall. Once a transatlantic port with boats sailing to Canada, Padstow is now best known as a tourist destination and seat of Rick Stein’s seafood empire.

After the safety briefing (no mention of the estuary’s infamous ‘Doom Bar’) and directions (“keep the big yellow buoys on your left …”) we tiptoed down the slipway to the water. The harbour side crowd gave us a countdown and we were off.

Surviving the starting mêlée, I tried to draft another swimmer. When in open water, do as the open water swimmers do, to garble the song. Too slow! I wove around him and out into the estuary. The sandy riverbed below seemed to be moving at a decent rate. Looking up a few minutes in (“sighting”, in the parlance), there were a reassuring number of red swim-hats around but no-one to draft.

Head down again and the sandy river bottom gradually disappeared from view as the light green water darkened and cooled across the central channel of the estuary. Occasional glances up showed the big yellow marker buoys off to the left.

The riverbed once again came into view and I found myself next to another swimmer. We finished the last few hundred metres level with one another and swam through the shallow water without the competitive sprint that would, of course, have been obligatory between lanes in a pool-based Masters Swim Session.

Wading out of the shallows, we crossed the narrow beach to a victory walk up the packed slipway and out into the carnival atmosphere on the harbourside. It felt like the end of a Tour De France leg with stalls for free hot chocolate, pasties (Rick Stein’s!), tee-shirts, a world away from the little medals you receive from an official at a trestle table at a Masters Swim Gala. Masters Cheerleaders… could it take off?

Four of us set off on the swim and four of us finished. Between us we raised £1748 for Marie Curie, and we’d all like to thank those who very kindly supported us. We were all delighted to have completed it. Roll on 2016!

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