The World Masters Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world. In terms of athlete numbers, it is bigger in scale than even the Olympics. The curtain has come down on World Masters Games 2017, with the International Masters Games Association declaring the Auckland Games “the best-ever.” Chief Executive Jennah Wootten was thrilled that all the hard work that went into planning and preparation over four years paid off in the delivery of an outstanding World Masters Games experience for the 28,000 participants involved. Ms Wootten said the delivery of 28 sports (including 45 disciplines) across 48 venues had been a mammoth logistical undertaking. “Consider that between the spectacular Opening Ceremony at Eden Park and tonight’s Closing Ceremony on Queens Wharf, the Games have included more than 2000 rounds of golf, over 120,000 arrows fired in the archery competition, almost 600 swimming races, more than 1150 tennis games and almost 240,000 points played on the Badminton courts – and that’s only five of our 28 sports.” An excited team of Clarence River Master Swimmers headed to Auckland, with high hopes and high anxiety to compete in the WMG. The pool swimming was held at the AUT Millennium and the ocean swim at Takapuna Beach, north of Auckland. Jane and Alan Lawrence, Bobbie Winger and stalwart Helmut Klein entered their individual races with enthusiasm. Apart from the adrenalin rush from the competition, and so often talked about camaraderie in building up to these Games, but seeing it in action is inspiring and humbling. WMG2017 is sport for all, regardless of race, religion, gender, status and age it’s the camaraderie amongst the swimmers, the big smiles, handshakes and hugs that keep them going back for more. Bobbie brings home a silver medal in the 5km open water (ocean) swim. A fantastic feat in very cold water. Being Canadian may have helped her cope with the cold conditions. Bobbie also achieved 4th in the 200m breaststroke, 8th in 400m freestyle, 9th in 800m freestyle, 10th in 200m backstroke and 15th in the 200m Individual Medley. Let me put this into perspective: Yamba’s Bobbie Winger is 2nd in the world in the Masters Games, 60-65 age group, in open water swimming! Helmut proudly brought home three medals, silver in the 100m breaststroke, bronze in 200m breaststroke, 3rd, bronze, in 2.5klm Ocean Swim 4th in 50m breast, 6th in 200m backstroke and 9th in 50m backstroke. Helmut is 2nd in the world in Masters in 75-79 age group in the100m breaststroke and two third placings in the 200m breaststroke and 2.5km open water swim. Alan Lawrence achieved 4th in the Open Water 1.5km, 6th in 100m breaststroke, 9th in 50m breast and 20th in 100m freestyle. Jane Lawrence competed in five events achieving 9th place in the 1.5klm Ocean Swim, 20th in 200m freestyle, 28th in 50m breaststroke, 29th in 100m freestyle, 37th in 50m backstroke. There was great excitement at the Yamba pool last evening when praising the amazing results achieved by our little troupe. Of course they had the best and encouraging support duo of Jan Klein and Bill Winger. Well done team Clarence River Masters.