Just under 2000 competitors took part in the XIII EUR Masters Championships in the Crimean resort of Yalta in the Ukraine, held from Sep 3rd to Sep 10th 2011.
Three swimmers from Gloucester Masters took part, claiming 5 medals between them.
Jayne Ball won the 200m freestyle in the 55-59 age group, claimed silver in the 800m & 400m freestyle and in the 3km open water swim. Tony Cherrington took the bronze medal in the 200m freestyle in the 65-69 age group. All three swimmers took 4th place in their respective 100m freestyle events.
The swimming took place in the grounds of the Yalta hotel, which was built in the ‘Russian era’ as the locals like to put it, as a holiday resort for the wealthy. It covers a huge area and has virtually everything one needs including restaurants, shops, hair salons, snooker & billards room with several full sized tables, a huge dance floor, which was used as the accreditation centre, massage parlors as well as outdoor facilites including the 50m 8 lane pool, tennis courts, an open air ‘festival zone’ where there was a different flavoured disco every evening (but sufficiently far away not to disturb anyone in the hotel). And to top it all there is the lift that takes one from the hotel down to the beach, a vertical distance of 40m. Then you walk through a tunnel to the beach.
The water temperature in the Black Sea was 23C, the salinity half that of normal seas, with no tides or currents. Here there are more restaurants, sports areas, massage parlours along the beach front. The beach itself is stony and covered almost completely in sun beds.
Yalta was the playground for the Tsars and they built many palaces
one of which we visited, which was the one where Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin signed away parts of Europe after the war.