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The Dorset team finished in a comfortable second place behind a supremely strong Devon team at the ASASW Inter-County Masters Championships which was held this year in Dorchester and attended by Dorset County ASA President Mark Hoskins and his wife Margaret. Despite a large number of withdrawals from the team of mostly first choice selections, Dorset also managed a 50 points margin, the most ever achieved in this competition, ahead of the rest of the field. Overall, Dorset clocked up 16 wins and 17 second places finishing first or second in almost half of the 68 events and, for the first time for some years, no costly DQs.

Dorset’s younger Ladies were phenomenal, dropping only four points out of a possible 72 in the youngest two age groups and none at all in the youngest. Fiona Hardie won the 18+ Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly, while Hannah Wiltshire won both the 18+ and 25+ Breaststroke (the latter by five seconds) and Kirsty Heard the 25+ Freestyle. With Lucy Pearce, they also won all four 72yrs and 100yrs relays, two of those events with a margin of five seconds. Our other winners were: Mark Sidorenko (18+ Freestyle with a time of 24.40), Nigel Foster (65+ Backstroke), Nick Vaughan (45+ Butterfly), Andy Small (45+ Backstroke), Tony Flattery and Karen Yendole ( 35+ Breaststroke) and the Men’s 140yrs Freestyle team of Dan Monk, Jack Wiltshire, Andy Mason and Nick Vaughan. In the 20 relay events, Dorset took five first places and nine second places.

Some people were especially busy. In the absence of Julia Kemp and Jean Howard-Jones, Linda Ashmore (a sprightly 70) swam all four individuals and two relays, not quite matching the nine she swam two years ago. Mark Sidorenko and Fiona Hardie both swam seven events with Fiona winning the lot. Hannah Wiltshire swam six, and also won six, events. Kirsty Heard, Tony Flattery and Helen Dickins also swam six times.

The Dorset team was made up of swimmers from nine Dorset clubs – Poole, Swim Bournemouth, Littledown Masters, Seagulls, Bournemouth SC, East Dorset Open Water, Wareham, Weymouth SC and Weyport Masters. The final points total was as follows: Devon 346.5, Dorset 294.5, Gloucestershire 245, Cornwall 211, Wiltshire 196.5, Somerset 131.5.

Next year’s event is scheduled for Sunday 12 November 2017 at Millfield and will be joined for the first time by a South Wales team.