Jo Corben claims two British and one European record as new Masters swimming club Trojan start competitive life with host of medals

South Down Trojan are looking forward to the Holy Grail of British Masters swimming after scooping a host of medals, records and personal bests in their first two competitive outings.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:06 am
Trojan medallists at Crawley (from left): Lucy Strowger, Steph Baron, Tony Corben (head coach), Sophie Hutin, Rachel Jepson

The squad was formed in July 2020 when the pandemic forced pool closures and loss of training time for existing clubs. Since then, Trojan has welcomed a wide array of new members, from highly-decorated masters swimmers to novices looking to increase their pool fitness.

On their competitive debut at Portsmouth’s Mountbatten Centre, Trojan finished second out of 11 clubs in the Hampshire Masters Championships.

Members claimed 34 wins, 25 second-placed finishes and eight third places as they ended with 198.5 points - 35 points behind pre-tournament favourites Basingstoke.

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Trojan swimmers at Crawley. Back (from left) Helen Andrews, Tony Corben, Claire Tagg, Rachel Jepson, Sopie Hutin. Front: Jo Corben, Steph Baron, Lucy Strowger

Trojan’s Jo Corben was awarded the ‘Top Female’ prize at the competition while her husband Tony, the Trojan head coach, was runner-up in the Male category.

Jo Corben, a founding Trojan member, is a multiple-world-record-holder, having been an international masters swimmer since 1998. She previously swam for Fareham Nomads.

The event was also the first in 30 years for Trojan’s returning swimmers Ashley Rodger and wife Krystie. Mike Spoor and Natalie Rodger were also returning from many years away from the sport, while Annie Trotman competed for the first time.

‘I am so proud of the team for diving straight in at the deep end and holding their own against established clubs right away,’ enthused Tony Corben.

Trojan swimmers outside the Mountbatten Centre. Back (from left): Helen Andrews, Annie Trotman, Tony Corben, Jo Corben, Claire Tagg, Caroline McCulloch. Front: Ashley Rodger, Natalie Rodger, Krystie Rodger, Steph Baron, Sophie Hutin, Mark Franklin

‘We have such a mix of experience levels at Trojan, with plenty of highly-regarded masters swimmers, but also numerous newcomers who are keen to give it a go. The main thing is everyone gets on, supports one another and has a great time with friends.

‘The medals are just a bonus.’

Jo Corben was in record-breaking form when Trojan competed in the South East Region Masters Short Course competition at the K2 Centre in Crawley.

The 50-year-old claimed a British and European record in the 50-54 years 200m backstroke - 2.26.03 - as well as a British record in the 50m backstroke (32.68).

Overall, Trojan won 13 golds, 10 silver and four bronze, with swimmers achieving seven lifetime bests and sx masters personal bests.

There were lifetime bests for Helen Andrews (55-59 years 400m freestyle), Sophie Hutin (18 -24 years 50m & 100m butterfly, 50 freestyle - breaking the 30-second barrier for the first time - and 100m Individual Medley) and Lucy Strowger (25-29 years 100m breaststroke and 100m Individual Medley).

Next up for Trojan swimmers are the Holy Grail of British Masters swimming, the National Short Course Championships in Ponds Forge, Sheffield, at the end of this month.