Sexton back in familiar waters

Katy Sexton rewrote the record books on her competitive return to the pool in Crawley
Katy Sexton rewrote the record books on her competitive return to the pool in Crawley
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Katy Sexton was back in familiar waters on her long-awaited competitive return to the pool.

A world and Commonwealth Games champion during a glittering career that also included an Olympic final, the Cosham ace was back in action following a break from the sport she so clearly loves.

The venue for her eagerly-anticipated comeback was the K2 in Crawley for the South East Regionals Masters Championships.

And not content with claiming double gold at the event and reclaiming her spot at the top of the podium, Sexton also set about breaking new ground.

Her victory in the 50m backstroke in a time of 29.84secs broke her own British and European records and provided Sexton with a timely reminder that she can still cut it in the pool.

But despite also going close to setting a new British record in her 50m freestyle win (27.23), the 30-year-old is undecided whether to make a full-time return to competitive action.

‘To break the British and European record I set last year was pretty cool,’ said Sexton, who hadn’t raced in six months.

‘I honestly didn’t think I’d break any records. I had my own personal targets in mind – but it was nice to do what I did.

‘I hadn’t been doing that much training since the summer and thought I needed to get back into it.

‘I haven’t actually retired full-time from the pool, I’m more in semi-retirement. So I thought I’d compete in the Masters, which is nice and relaxed, and without too much pressure.

‘To win two medals and pick up a new record on the day was good, but I can’t say either way what I will do now.

Sexton added: ‘I love being in the water. After the summer, I initially did nothing, but I was getting the cravings and knew I had to get back into it.

‘There’s obviously the nationals in the summer coming up, but I’ll take it as it comes.’

Despite her success in the pool and competing at major events all around the world, Sexton admitted the nerves were getting to her on her comeback appearance.

‘The Masters were nice and relaxed, with no stress or pressure, but I was almost like a complete novice,’ she said.

‘I always get nervous and not competing for six or seven months didn’t help.’

Away from competition, Sexton has been busy passing on her expertise in the sport through her swimming academy.

Based in Havant, it has more than 300 recruits, with the former Portsmouth Northsea member is hoping to unearth one or two stars of the future.

‘The Katy Sexton Swim Academy is doing fantastically well,’ she said.

‘I’m really enjoying it and I’m glad to be able to give something back to the local community.

‘As we live by the sea, it’s important that kids take advantage and learn how to swim.

‘We’ve a lot of talented swimmers and there could be one or two who could make it in the sport.’