Herts and Essex High School PE teacher Lizzie Bellinger and fellow Bishop's Stortford Swimming Club members Sally Winter and Alyson Fordham in FINA World Masters top 10 rankings
Two Bishop's Stortford Swimming Club members are celebrating being ranked No 1 for multiple events in the latest FINA World Masters rankings.
Lizzie Bellinger, who is a PE teacher at Herts and Essex High School, and club president Sally Winter fought off competitors from around the globe to hit the top of the charts.
Bellinger achieved six top-10 entries in the 40-44 age group – four long course and two short course – including first in the world in both the long-course 50m and 100m butterfly as well as second in the long-course 200m individual medley and short-course 100m butterfly.
Winter came first in both the short- and long-course 200m freestyle and second in the long-course 100m freestyle in the 60-64 age category.
There was more good news for Stortford as Alyson Fordham, who joined the club only last year, achieved four long-course entries in the 60-64 section, including third in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events.
Results from 2019 and 2020 also put Winter and Fordham in the FINA World All Time (1986-2020) lists for their age groups, with Winter recording the fifth fastest short-course and eighth fastest long-course 200m freestyle times. Fordham achieved the sixth fastest 100m and seventh fastest 200m freestyle times for short course.
All three were due to compete at the LEN European Masters Championships last year and it is still uncertain whether the rearranged 2021 competition will take place. Focus after that will turn to the FINA World Masters Championships set to take place in 2022 in Japan.
"It was good news after such a disappointing year," said Winter. "I had trained hard in order to break records in my new age category and was hoping to medal at the European championships in Budapest.
"I only managed to compete in one long-course and one short-course meet before we got locked down. Sadly it looks like the Europeans may be postponed until 2022 in Rome.
"Under Government regulations, masters swimmers will not be allowed back into club training until May 17 so we will have been out of the water for five months. It's going to be a challenging road back to fitness!"
Bellinger added: "I'm really pleased with the world ranking considering we only had three months of racing and I was injured during January. How fantastic that as a club we have three women all in the top 10 in the world!
"I can't wait to get back in the pool when lockdown is over and am very excited about the new pool being built at Grange Paddocks. Bring on 2021."