IT WAS a special day for each of the nine West Wight Swimming Club swimmers who took part in the annual Hampshire Masters Championships — winning at least one gold medal and several of them scooping many more.

Some 20 swimming clubs took part in the competition, held in the newly-built swimming complex at Winchester.

West Wight — a team which comprised swimmers aged from 18 years to 71 — placed fourth in the overall team points table.

In the mixed medley relay, in which the two male and female racers’ ages have to add up to 72 years or more, the team of Lottie James, Grace Poynter, Henry Barrington-White and Jack Carter won a special team shield. 

Jack, 20, only swam in the relays and his 25-second swims on 50m freestyle were very helpful.

Lucy Issacson, 18, the youngest in the team, took part in the freestyle 72+ relay, which won silver — missing gold by just a tenth of a second, with team mates Grace, Henry and Jack. 

Lucy won all her individual races in the 18 to 24-year age group.

Meanwhile, Grace Poynter, 19, was the fastest of all competitors in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke. 

In the same 18 to 24 year age group, Lottie James, 22, also beat all competitors in the 100m individual medley in an impressive 1min 8secs.

In the 25 to 29-years age group, the most competitive group, up against 12 swimmers, Paige Critchley, 27, won gold in the 100m breaststroke and medalled in all her other events.

In the same age group, Dr Henry Barrington-White won one of each medal and was part of the victorious relay team.

Former Island Games champion, Elizabeth Pilcher, 37, recently returned to competition and won all her events in the 35 to 39 age group — and raced in the fastest heats.

In the 60 to 64s, West Wight coach Nicolas Popov won his four events.

Current backstroke British record holder, Graham Harris, 71 — a member of the West Wight Swimming club for 35 years — easily won all of his events.

Matthew Sussmes, 58, who raced for Ryde Swimming Club and Paul Doyle, 69, of the IOW Marlins, added their support, poolside.

For most of the younger swimmers, this was their first experience of the Masters competition and, seeing veteran swimmers still compete well into their 80s proved to be a great inspiration for them.

On social media, Paige said: “Graham, in his 70s, beat me on the 50m front crawl. Just goes to show – keep swimming!”

After such a successful and encouraging event, the team now has its sights set on the National Masters in Sheffield on October 28.