The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Debut for San Giljan Aquatic Club at the 20th Open Dutch Masters Championships

Thursday, 2 May 2024, 10:23 Last update: about 3 months ago

San Giljan ASC’s Maltese Masters swimming team is to compete between May 2nd to May 5th at the 20th Open Dutch Masters Championship in Eindhoven.

A new record has been reached in Maltese swimming, having San Giljan ASC forming Malta’s first-ever Masters Swimming team. In the sport’s local history, this team will be the first to pioneer at the esteemed Open Dutch Masters Championships. The 20th edition of this competition will be held in Eindhoven between the 2nd and the 5th of May.


San Giljan ASC Master Swimming team comprises dedicated and professional individuals, all ready to represent Malta on the international stage. Under the leadership of head coach Emma Tanti and Andy Colbourn, the team has been training tirelessly since September, participating in regular ASA time trials to improve their performance. As coach Tanti argues, such effort is the result of months of dedication:

“After all this hard work, we are now eagerly anticipating achieving various personal bests from each swimmer. Eindhoven is a completely new experience, which will be a great experience for the athletes, as well as an encouragement for more Master swimmers to compete nationally in the events organised by the ASA.”

The team consists of six remarkably talented Maltese nationals, with ages ranging from 27 to 50 years old. Each member underwent a rigorous selection process to ensure they met the high standards set by the club. Leading the team are swimmers Mark Sponneck and Jonathan Gatt Colerio, who are entering multiple events. Sponneck will compete in the 1500m, 800m, 400m, 200m, 100m, and 50m Freestyle events, along with the 50m Breaststroke, 4x50m Medley Relay, and 4x50m Freestyle Relay. Gatt Colerio is set to challenge the 100m and 50m Freestyle, 50m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke, and 50m Butterfly, and will also participate in both relay events.

Michela Scicluna, competing in the 50m Free, 50m Breast, 50m Back, and both relay events; Petra Ellul-Mercer, challenging the 100m Free, 50m Free, 100m Breast, and both relays; Charmaine Cutajar, who will showcase her skills in the 100m Free, 50m Back, and 400m Free; and Denise Cortis, racing in the 100m and 400m Free and 100m Medley Relay.

Ellul-Mercer, the eldest swimmer, was asked about her motivation in competing in such a prominent competition: “For me, ageing gracefully is rubbish! Challenging yourself keeps your mind active and determined, plus your body gets stronger and fitter. I feel it also helps me with my work by keeping me focused on what matters in life – the value of our time and our mental well-being.” Ellul-Mercer started swimming last September.

With over 4,600 Master swimmers ranging from 25+ up to 85+, the Dutch Masters Eindhoven is one of the most sought-after Masters championships, attracting swimmers from all over the world.

Founded in 1949, San Giljan ASC is one of the leading Aquatic clubs in the country. The club encourages swimmers all over Malta to take their swimming to the next level; having the international exposure of the Masters swimming team as an inspiration to all.

Between the 2nd and 5th of May, one can watch the Maltese team in the Open Dutch Masters Championship live on

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