Jess Thorpe was the star of the show when a team of nine swimmers from Leyland Barracudas competed in the 37th International Masters Swimming event hosted by Flensberger SchwimmKlub in northern Germany.
This is the first time that an English club has competed in the event so the Barracudas were flying the flag for the UK and for South Ribble, as Flensburg is one of the borough’s twin towns.
The team were competing with swimmers from clubs from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany and faced some tough competition.
Six members of the team set personal best times – Thorpe, Chris Horne, Chris Hamer, Elaine Fitchie and Emily Simkinson.
Thorpe stole the show with outstanding performances to finish first in her age band for all four of her individual events, taking three overall FINA event bronze medals .
She also set a new event record for her age band in the 50m backstroke – a time which she actually bettered when she led off the 4x50m mixed individual medley relay team.
Overall, the team came home with 14 age band winners, four second-placed swimmers and three third-placed swimmers.
Carole Jepson took an overall FINA event bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke and got the 4x50m ladies’ breaststroke relay team (Thorpe, Sinkinson, Fitchie and Jepson) off to a great start resulting in an overall FINA bronze for the team as well.
Barracudas also had their own close up battle in the 4x50m mixed individual medley relay where they had two teams competing.
With very little between them on paper it was a close battle with the team of (Matt Houghton, Jepson, Fitchie and Matt Burrows) finishing in second place in their age band but losing their own inter-team battle by coming in just behind their younger age band squad (Thorpe, Chris Hamer, Ashley Leech and Sinkinson).
Fitchie said: “The team were treated exceptionally well by their German hosts throughout the weekend and made to feel extremely welcome.
“The Flensburg club had also contacted the local Marine base to make sure they had a full-size Union Jack flag to hang on the poolside.”
The Barracudas are now keen to host members of the Flensburg club at an event in Leyland sometime in the near future.