FINA World Masters Championships

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The 15th edition of the FINA World Masters Championships will take place in Montreal (CAN) from July 27 - August 10, 2014.

The FINA World Masters Championships is the Federation’s biggest competition in terms of participation, for the reason that it welcomes, every two years, swimmers, divers and water polo players aged 25 to more than a 100 years old from all corners of the world.

The vibrant Masters movement actively promotes fitness, friendship, understanding and competition through its five disciplines (swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming).

FINA officially created the Masters movement about 30 years ago, the first edition being held in 1986 in Tokyo (JPN).

Starting in 2015, the FINA World Masters Championships will be held in conjunction with the FINA World Championships, taking place in Kazan (RUS).

Portrait of a Master: Derek Parr (GBR)


Derek Parr (GBR)

Derek Parr is a happy man, who has been able to live his passion for swimming throughout both his sporting and working life, as a Masters swimmer and sports journalist. But the road was long until reaching “excellence”: Derek had to wait until 2009, the year of his 65th birthday, to reach the peak of his career and break his first Masters World record in the 200m butterfly event.

Derek Parr discovered swimming at age seven, but at the time, he would rather play football or cricket at school. When swimming Coach Chris Jay introduced him to dolphin butterfly a few years later, however, Derek was hooked and swimming became his number one sport. In the 1960s, he swam at county and university level.

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Portrait of a Master: Rolf Luedecke (GER)


Rolf Luedecke (GER)

As a player since 1962 and a referee since 1977, Mr. Luedecke is passionate and well-rounded water polo enthusiast. Throughout his life he played water polo at what he calls a “medium level”. Early on he participated in the German Youth Championships before playing Division 1 (Bundesliga) and then Masters competitions on a friendly level.

In 1999, his club team “Poseidon Hamburg” was looking for a new challenge besides their Hamburg-based activities and decided to participate for the first time in the German Masters Championships. “We were successful and finished as German Champions in the age group 50+. Nearly all players on the team had played together for over 30 years. Thereon we played the German Championships every year”.

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Portrait of a Master: Linda Buchanan (USA)


Linda Buchanan (USA)

Ms. Buchanan is a former world champion triathlete who has been playing Masters Water Polo for about 10 years now. She started for a simple reason: namely, several women she swam with formed a local women’s Masters Team. “The way they talked about it”, she says, “made it sound fun. So, I tried one practice and was hooked.”

She continues to play, however, because of the challenges water polo provides, as well as the dynamics of teamwork, which she didn’t experience as much as an individual athlete. “I play for fun, fitness, competition and friendship”, she concedes, but “learning something new is motivating and competing in polo keeps me swimming and exercising more than I might have otherwise.”

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Portrait of a Master: Catherine L. Chua-Matsuguma (PHI)


Catherine L. Chua-Matsuguma (PHI)

An elite, Chinese-trained diver in her youth, Catherine L. Chua-Matsuguma (PHI) guided herself back to the boards after starting a family and is now Honorary Member on the Philippine Diving Committee.

An aquatics athlete since infancy, Chua-Matsuguma (based in Oita, JPN) started Masters Diving around the year 2000, five years after she had retired from competition and moved to Japan where she married a military officer and started a family. When she retired from training however, she still maintained an active lifestyle by swimming at least twice a week.

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Portrait of a Master: Dorothy Williams (GBR)


Dorothy Williams (GBR)

During Dorothy Williams’ 20+ years as a Masters swimmer, she has competed in Rome, Florence, Riccione, Vichy, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal, Denmark, Geneva, and of course, in Guernsey (GBR) with the Guernsey Masters Club. She formed a team (consisting of Dorothy Weston, Edith Hewitt, Valerie Hardman and herself) in 1992 that broke world records in medley and freestyle.

Individually, she says, “after competing at many pools in England, Scotland and Wales, I probably hold about 700 medals, including lots of gold. My highest achievements were at Guernsey in 2008 while competing in the 85-89 age group; breaking the world record in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, plus four British records including the 50m freestyle and breaststroke.”

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Portrait of a Master: John H. Harrison (GBR)


John H. Harrison (GBR)

John H. Harrison – a Veteran of the British Royal Navy who served from 1938 to 1945 - joined Masters at age 79 because he had an enthusiasm for swimming and keeping fit. Before that, he was a swimming and life saving instructor/examiner and a sports sub aqua diver until the age of 70. “Unfortunately,” he recalls, “at the age of 70 whilst diving off Portland Bill in Dorset, five divers were reported missing on the TV news. I was one of the five. My wife who saw the article said, ‘That’s enough,’ so I continued with the other water sports.”

Thereafter he saw an advertisement in the paper asking for Royal Navy swimmers. So, at age 79 he joined Godalming Swimming Club and the Royal Navy Swim Team. “My first swim for the Royal Navy was at Sheffield where on times I was beaten by an 83 year old,” Harrison says. “Give up? Too old? No. The result is I have improved over the years.”

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Portrait of a Master: Nigel Kemp (CAN)


Nigel Kemp (CAN)

Information for this article was supplied courtesy of Diana Smith (

Nigel Kemp, President of Masters Swimming Canada (MSC), is also a Master course conductor in Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program and a contributing author to Swim Canada and FINA technical manuals. He is a multiple award-winning coach, as well as a ten-time Canadian Masters champion who competes regularly. Kemp has been in swimming for a total of 55 years. Presently, he both coaches and swims for the Halifax Trojan Masters swim club in the province of Nova Scotia, where he adheres to the “Active for Life” philosophy for the promotion of health and well-being.

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Portrait of a Master: Mohamed Diop (SEN)


Mohamed Diop (SEN)

Mohamed Diop is not only a Masters enthusiast with an impressive amateur career behind him, but also a genuine swimming leader who diligently promotes the sport in Senegal. “I stopped my [amateur] swimming career in 1999 at 35 years of age at the time of the African Games in Johannesburg (RSA),” he recalls. “From that moment, I decided to continue swimming as a Master for two reasons. The first is because I adore the sport, and the second is because I have a tendency to gain weight if I do not regularly engage in sport.”

In reality, Diop’s affiliation with swimming extends much further. Currently he is not only President of the Fédération Sénégalaise de Natation et de Sauvetage, but also a Bureau Member of the Confederation Africaine de Natation Amateur. Also, his positive experiences with swimming have made him particularly interested in engaging young people to get involved.

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Portrait of a Master: Beth Eldridge (USA)


Beth Eldridge (USA)

National Masters swimming champion Beth Eldridge (USA) has a moving story to tell about how love and devotion to a sport can literally save your life. She recovered from extreme treatments for successive brain tumours without ceasing to practice, compete and coach swimming; a lifestyle choice she believes allowed her to overcome her illness.

Getting hooked on Masters

In 1992, immediately after Eldridge (USA) completed her college swimming career, she started coaching age-group kids in South Dakota. But it wasn’t long before she missed competing herself and started swimming in the open lanes at the age group meets. Eventually, when she heard about Masters swimming she started a team in Idaho in 1997. Two years later she competed at the national championships (50m) in Minneapolis in 1999 while completing a Graduate degree in Exercise Science.

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