HomeSportsMalta’s Masters of the Waves Shine at Dutch Championships - SportsDesk

Malta’s Masters of the Waves Shine at Dutch Championships – SportsDesk

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San Giljan Aquatics Club made history this month as the first Maltese team to dive into the prestigious Open Dutch Masters Championships in Eindhoven.

The Masters team, a pioneering squad, proudly waved the Maltese flag while smashing 13 national records and capturing numerous personal bests between May 2-5.

Coaches Emma Tanti and Andy Colbourn expressed exhilaration and satisfaction with the team’s performance.

When asked about the experience, Tanti stated, “This competition was beyond expectations. Seeing our athletes excel regardless of age, reaffirms that age is just a number, and staying active is key to vitality.”

She further emphasised her plans to recruit and encourage individuals over 60, boosting their involvement in swimming and fostering a community of active seniors.

Colbourn noted the stark difference in attitude between younger swimmers and Masters athletes.

“Masters swimmers bring a unique passion to the pool,” he said.

“They’re here because they genuinely love the sport and thrive on the camaraderie and challenge, not because they have to be.”

Leading the charge, Mark Sponneck clinched nine national records and two bronze medals in different stroke events. When asked about encouraging others to join Masters Swimming, he highlighted the supportive team environment.

“Forget the nerves. It’s about the joy of participating and aiming for personal bests. The sense of team spirit and mutual support are what makes this experience truly rewarding,” Sponneck said.

Jonathan Gatt Colerio, who excelled with personal bests, mirrored this sentiment.

“The Open Dutch Masters wasn’t just a competition, it was a dream come true,” he explained.

“Competing internationally as part of such a spirited team has been unforgettable.”

Michela Scicluna, facing her first competition, wasn’t daunted by the array of skilled competitors.

“Rather than feeling intimidated, I saw it as a chance to learn and improve. It was incredibly motivating,” she said, emphasising the positive impact of such high-level competition.

Denise Cortis, a seasoned triathlon competitor, described her first Masters swimming event as an enlightening contrast to triathlons.

“Swimming demands a rapid engagement of skills, unlike the prolonged strategic thinking in triathlons. The focus on speed and technique was a game-changer for me,” Cortis said.

Petra Ellul-Mercer, the eldest at 50, broke national records in her age group across all her events. Her next goal? The 2025 Europeans.

“Seeing women in their 60s to 90s outpace many younger athletes was incredibly inspiring. If they can do it, so can I,” Ellul-Mercer said.

From smashing records to breaking personal barriers, the San Giljan Masters are not just participants but trailblazers in the world of swimming. Each stroke they took in Eindhoven wasn’t just for medals, but for proving that age is merely a mindset. As they continue to prepare for future championships, their eyes are set on bigger waves and even greater achievements. Their message is clear: in the waters of competition, passion knows no age.

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