Masters swimmers celebrate historic European Short Course Championships

Credit: Pedro Vasconcelos / European Aquatics

By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent in Madeira

“Incredible,” “astounding” and “ground-breaking” – just a sample of the positive words passionately delivered by athletes following the first-ever European Masters Short Course Swimming Championships.

Madeira 2023, which took place in the beautiful city of Funchal, saw around 1000 swimmers take to either the pool or open water between 19-25 November.

Eight fresh world records were set and countless new friendships were formed during the seven days of breath-taking action.

“We witnessed incredible swimming from masters athletes, many of whom will have gained not only great medals, but also great memories during their time in Madeira,” said European Aquatics President Antonio Silva.

Credit: Pedro Vasconcelos / European Aquatics

“I would like to extend my thanks to all those who attended as swimmers or supporters and to those who worked on the event to ensure these history-making championships were a phenomenal success.

“We look forward to fully debriefing in the coming weeks with the aim of ensuring the European short course event becomes a regular fixture for masters swimmers.”

CHAMPIONS CELEBRATE SUCCESS IN MADEIRA

World and European gold medallist Susana Sousa Gomes of Portugal, an ambassador for Madeira 2023, was delighted by her experiences and the response to the event.

“It’s special because I had my family here and it’s always special to participate in my home,” she told European Aquatics.

“I think masters (swimming) is always a celebration of the effort we make to train and excel and I hope it’s an example to the younger swimmers.”

The eight new world records were all achieved by Olympic swimmers, with Italian Filippo Magnini (40-44 age-group) setting a new mark in 50m breaststroke as well as the 50m and 100m freestyle events.

Czech swimmer Petra Weber (35-39) broke the previous 50m and 100m breaststroke world records, with Ahmet Naklas (60-64) of Turkey, making headlines in the 100m freestyle.

Irakli Revishvili (35-39) of Georgia also set new landmark times in the 400m and 800m free.

“Swimming creates your spirit to fight, not only in the pool, but in life too,” said Revishvili.

“I had over one thousand bad 800m swims, but I kept that spirit and I finally had a good one where I broke the world record!”

Credit: Pedro Vasconcelos / European Aquatics

EUROPEAN MASTERS SHORT COURSE CHAMPIONSHIPS SET TO RETURN

Hörður Oddfíðarson, chair of the European Aquatics Masters Technical Committee, said he was “delighted” by the outcome of the inaugural edition.

Like President Silva, he too anticipates the European Short Course Championships will now become a regular biennial event.

“The last week has been fantastic,” Oddfíðarson told European Aquatics.

“We had a great competition in the pool and a great day in the open water facility. When I speak with the competitors here they are happy and if they are happy, so am I.

Oddfíðarson concluded; “I believe this event will only grow in the future and we aim to see it every two years.”

MADEIRA 2023 IN REVIEW – VIDEOS, PHOTOS AND MORE

For a full breakdown of the age-group results from the pool swimming programme follow THIS LINK.

For a full breakdown of the age-group results from the open water swimming programme follow THIS LINK.

To view photos from Madeira 2023 follow THIS LINK and use the password Masters2023 to download.

To rewatch the live streams or see some of the great story-led highlight features created by our digital media during Madeira 2023, CLICK HERE.Please keep across the European Aquatics’ website and social media platforms for all of the latest masters’ news and developments.

Credit: Pedro Vasconcelos / European Aquatics