Official website of 16th FINA World Masters Championships 2015 in Kazan
 

Masters Championships connecting swimmers from all the world

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14.08.2015, 16:07 Sport
The 16th FINA World Masters Championships is gradually coming to its logical end, lots of athletes climbing up to the podium not once. A few more events are ahead, a few more medals are up for grabs.

It is misperception that a Masters tournament is held for elderly people. Not at all. There are a lot of young participants who might have had bad luck with their professional swimming career or who have started swimming rather later than earlier but who are eager to win medals and titles. For instance, Sergey Anshchukov, a swimmer from Krasnodar Krai, is taking part in the Masters tournament for the first time. It happened by accident, he was invited and he agreed.

Sergey Anshchukov, Krasnodar Krai, Kuban Masters Club, 26 years old:

“I competed in men’s 4х50m freestyle event finishing seventh and in 4х50m freestyle mixed event where two men and two women represent one team. The Championships has made a great impression on me because everything is perfectly organised, beauty and comfort everywhere, volunteers are responsive and friendly. I am 26 years old and it is my first Masters event. I was invited, being old enough for one of the age groups, and agreed, having some good results in swimming. This idea sounded quite interesting to me. I took some days off to be able to compete as a Master athlete. I am very glad to use this opportunity.”

However, Masters tournaments attract athletes who are distinguished and famous all over the world. These Championships seem to be a race they strive to take the lead in. It has become a lifestyle for many of them: every year they look forward to competitions and gear up to a special training regime way too long before the competitions as if they were professional swimmers. They see their participation in Masters tournaments not only as a way to earn medals, but to meet new people and make friends. However, some of them take part in competitions to add more medals for their collection.

Yaroslav Novitskiy, Moscow, All Stars Club, 70 years old:

“So far I have 2307 medals in my collection. I have claimed two medals today, but overall at these Championships I have already earned five medals and it is just the beginning as there are two more events for me to compete at. It is the best Championships I’ve ever participated in. I’ve been to eleven Championships and I want to thank the Organising Committee and all the staff for their time and effort. I should admit that competing in relay events is a tremendous responsibility. Racing as part of a team I was expected to live up to the billing and to clock the best time. Luckily, we made it and grabbed silver.”   

There is no fierce competition or battle at the Masters tournament, participation itself meaning a lot for oldtimers. Medals are likely to serve as a pleasant bonus. It is more important for many swimmers to soak up the atmosphere and sporting spirit and also prove the truth that you start to live your life to the fullest only when you retire.

Vladimir Lazarev, Tula, Arsenal Masters Swim Club, 68 years old:

“Swimming is my biggest fancy, for it boosts my health and longevity. My clubmates may be in their thirties or forties. I am 68 and I want to say that we are all a big family and we are all on the same wavelength. We all come here, communicate, enjoy our stay, because swimming is what drives us. I keep 74 medals in a drawer, one more is added to my collection today. I do not like putting them for show, I keep them at home, but after all it is a pleasure to have all these achievements under my belt. In 2010 I took part in the Masters tournament for the first time, having prepared for seven years. Then I began to take medals, one by one. Now I can’t stop it.”

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