MONTREAL – A very successful 2014 FINA World Masters Championships wraps up this weekend in Montreal.
The two-week competition features swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming. It has attracted more than 3,000 athletes from a record 97 countries including 6,000 in the swimming events. It is FINA’s largest event in terms of participation.
‘’You have to go back to the 1976 Olympics to match such a large number of participants at an event in Montreal,’’ said Pierre Lafontaine, the organizing committee’s co-president.
The other co-president Christian Blais loves the variety of participants.
‘’We have a water polo team with players 70-year-old and over, we have a 97-year-old swimmer from New Zealand and a 91-year-old from Australia.’’
Mae Waldie of the Pointe-Claire Club competes in the 75-79 age group and has won many medals at past FINA World Masters Championships. She is entered in six swimming events including the three-kilometre open water race.
‘’For me it is very important to be there,’’ said the grandmother of 13 and great grandmother of 24. ‘’I want to show that people my age don’t just sit in a rocking chair. They can be as competitive as younger people.’’
Todd Shivers, a 39-year-old from Barrie, Ont., who raced at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games trials in the 1990’s, made a decision to return to the sport with the specific goal to compete in Montreal at the Masters.
‘’What brought me back really was my kids,” he said. “They both swim with the Barrie Trojan Swim Club and I was talking about the worlds being in Montreal and my kids said, ‘Dad, you should do that.’’’
For more information on the 2014 FINA World Masters Championships visit: https://finamasters2014.org/home/
With files from the Journal de Montreal and Barrie Examiner