BASA To Host Swim Challenge

October 6, 2011 by Bernews1 

At the BASA pool this Saturday [Oct.8], a grudge match between the old and new will take place in the water. In what was a stunning and unexpected challenge, three ‘elderly’ or Masters swim squads have challenged the best teenage swimmers on the island to a 4 x 50m freestyle, no holds barred, relay swim race.

l to r Nick Strong Jonathan Herring Ric Chapman Tab Froud Simon Horrell Annette Budge Christiane Wehmeyer Paul Viney

Some of the competing Masters swimmers pictured above: [l-to-r] Nick Strong, Jonathan Herring, Ric Chapman, Tab Froud, Simon Horrell, Annette Budge, Christiane Wehmeyer and Paul Viney.

And the plot and pot thickened during the week when Flanagans on Front Street weighed in with a monstrous $400 prize for the winning quartet.

This is the first pure sprint swim meet of the season, traditionally conducted by the Sharks Club, featuring hundreds of Bermuda’s younger swimmers in all events from freestyle, to breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and relay races. And for the first time will also accommodate the very strong Masters swimming fraternity in this relay race.

They themselves are preparing for the World Masters Games in Riccione, Italy mid next year, and have decided to flex their ageing muscles against the best of the teenagers this weekend. And if it goes well, ie; they are competitive and don’t embarrass themselves, it may start a new trend of ‘aged’ persons racing against the juniors.

“We will refer to this as an Exhibition Race for now, and I just do not know who will win as some of these Masters swimmers are still very quick. I see many of them training at lunch times every day and the fire still burns. It should be very entertaining and interesting to see how the teenagers handle this challenge,” said BASA Head Coach Ben Smith. “But we welcome the event as this can only be good for swimming in general and the Masters’ program, as they prepare for international competition next year.”

Three of the four recognised swim clubs on the island quickly responded when the old guard threw down the gauntlet, and Dolphins, Sharks and Harbour will all field teams.

“These are exciting times when swimming can draw a crowd and receivesome media,” said Masters President Nick Strong. “And this exhibition race between the Masters and the Teenagers, I think will give us a greater profile in the sport too,” he added. “And there is a real feeling among the Masters teams that they will not only be very competitive, but one of the three teams actually can win this thing. Especially now that Flanagans has offered a winning prize.”

Chris Garland, a former teenage swim star and now co-owner of Flanagans Bar and Grill, loves the idea of the challenge race and like all behind it, want to see more of these sorts of events. “We’ll be there on Saturday morning to watch the event and I think this is a real shot in the arm for all mature athletes of all sports. When we found out about it, we were very happy to be involved.” said Garland.

The Masters movement will field three mixed-gender teams against the cream of the swimming crop. A squad with a combined age of just over 200, another with a combined age of 160, while the other team’s combined age is 120. The teenagers from the local clubs will all add up to being around the 50 years mark each. It is, therefore, a classic confrontation between age and guile vs youth and brashness.

“I love it, declared Tim Petty the BASA President. “In an Olympic year swimming needs this type of thing, and BASA supports anything that brings the sport much needed publicity. The Celebrity Race between Roy Allan Burch and TV Host Ric Chapman earlier this year was a tremendous moment for Roy Allan and swimming, and I think this will be too. We, therefore, are very supportive of this race and the interest in it already is more than we anticipated. I cant wait to watch it.”

Following that race earlier this year for Roy Allan, 50-year-old Chapman was invited to join the Masters swimming family and he will be one of the elderly swimming elite competing in this Exhibition Challenge. He joins on his team with Masters President and champion ocean swimmer, Nick Strong, as well as current Bermuda Ironman champion Jonathan Herring and former junior swim star Annette Budge who was second last month in an important ocean race. Their team is the 160 age group side. “I think we will be dining finely courtesy of Flanagans,” grinned Chapman but the two other Masters teams include some impressive competitors too.

The over 200 squad for example will be Paul Viney, Simon Horrell, Christiane Wehmeyer and Tab Froud. Viney, Horrell and Wehmeyer competed brilliantly at world level in Sweden at the last World Masters and this squad is expected to be very fast.

The other Masters team boasts former champion British swimmer Steve Castree, as well as former junior sensation Abbey Medeiros and former junior national representative Kim Thomas as well as prominent triathlete Tony Hall. This is the 130 year old team and they collecvtively have the faster swimmers.

“It will be very competitive there is no doubt,” said Strong, “but it is setting the stage for when Roy Allan and Keira Aitken come back in December. At that point we want to conduct a few more of those novelty and celebrity races to help them raise money for the Olympics. This event this weekend will get our message out there that as a collective group of Olympic and swimming friendly old athletes, we will be helping them.”

Some of the island’s best up and coming swim sensations such as Emma Franklin, Somer and Sophie Froud, Susanna Armano, Olivia Moore, Megan and Gen Lau, Phillip Hagen, Mitchell Gariepy and Jesse Washington are expected to compete on the day.

The Challenge Race is expected to be under way by 8.30am on Saturday morning and a crowd of over a thousand is expected to cram into the BASA Pool to watch.


TV Host Chapman vs Olympian Burch

By Jonathan Bell

Age prevailed this afternoon in the swimming face-off between television producer Ric Chapman and champion swimmer Roy Allen Burch.

The friendly competition for 100 metres freestyle ended in a technical win for Mr Chapman, who was granted one second’s head start for every year he has on the 26-year-old swimmer.

That meant the 51-year-old creator of the ‘Songopoly’ game show had built up a lead of one and a half laps, before Mr Burch could dive in.

Supporters cheered at the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association pool at Saltus, as the lead narrowed, but the younger athlete still came in at 52 seconds to Mr Chapman’s 65.

“I should have made it a 20 second lead instead of 25 seconds, but I didn’t want to end up embarrassing myself,” Mr Chapman said afterward.

BASA president Tim Petty took in donations from supporters just before the 2.30pm race.

“I’m here supporting Ric,” said Brendan Kemp, just after giving $100. “Whoever wins today, it’s going for a good cause.”

Mr Chapman’s triumph means that ‘Songopoly’ will also give $100 toward Mr Burch’s intensive training programme in North Carolina, and help in his bid to swim in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The swimmer is visiting Bermuda for a week to spread the word about fund-raising for the Olympics. Supporters will also be able to buy Roy Allen Burch T-shirts at this weekend’s National Championships.

“I’m getting ready to go for the qualifying swim next month in Shanghai,” Mr Burch said after the swim. “I don’t mind losing today. It all helps me to get there.”

Think you know your Beatles from your Stones, your Marley from your Tosh and your Gaga from your Spears?

If the answer is yes, then you could be a contestant on Bermuda’s upcoming music game show Songopoly, due to air on VSB and FreshTV in May.

Billed by its creator as a mix between Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? , it tests the musical knowledge of its contestants through a series of simple quick-fire questions.

Songopoly has been written and produced by Australian journalist Ric Chapman, who recently moved to the island with his family.

He will host the show with popular entertainer and businessman Bruce Barritt. Ed Fox (The Kennel Boys) is scheduled to make a musical performance in the show being aired from May 2 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

There are initially 24 episodes being screened over an eight-week period. It will air at 8pm on VSB channel 11 and at 7:30pm on FreshTV channel 3, on the same nights.


Songopoly is based on a board game of the same name Mr Chapman invented while not being permitted to work on the island.

“The questions are really easy, such as ‘Who was the lead singer of the Rolling Stones?’ or ‘In what country was Bob Marley born?’

“I would never ask something like ‘what day did Britney Spears shave her head and enter rehab?’.

“My co-host is Bruce Barritt, who everyone knows and loves. He is universally loved — even by his rivals in the import business.

“I asked him to work on the show as the off-screen voiceover guy — the voice of God.

“He will be asking a myriad of questions and he has carte blanche to jump in whenever he pleases.

“Ed Fox is an excellent singer and will perform part of a song which the contestants have to answer a question about during each episode.”

With a budget of $180,000, contestants can walk away with hundreds of dollars and even more in prizes from the show’s various sponsors.

Money from each show will also be donated either to the Bermuda Diabetes Association, The Blood Donor Clinic or Bermuda Coalition for the Protection of Children.

Each episode features three contestants, each with a buzzer and an electronic screen, who are given an initial sum of $20. They are asked a series of questions by Mr Chapman — if they get a question correct their sum increases by $20 and if they get it wrong they lose $20.

A number of the questions will also see contestants winning prizes given by various local organizations.

All genres

The show will cover the broad spectrum of music but will mainly focus on pop, followed by reggae, country and R&B.

The only stipulation for contestants is that they are over-18.

There are a number of variations in the format. For instance, at the start of the show, each contestant is asked to write down a number between one and a hundred and when Mr Barritt asks one of the questions, the contestant will either win or lose that amount depending on whether they answer correctly or incorrectly.

The overall winner is given the opportunity to “take the booty” or return to the show to defend their title and win more but risk the money they won previously.

Mr Chapman wants to avoid anyone being embarrassed on national television and has tried to tweak the game show format to avoid that.

He explained: “I want everyone on the show to win — even if they are not the overall winner.

“If you are coming a distant third there will be a little solo question, for example, with a $200 Lindo’s prize.

“Unlike other TV game shows where some contestants are filled with nationwide embarrassment and a pat on the back, everyone will walk away winning.”

Mr. Chapman, who formerly worked as a sports journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, said it had always been his dream to write and host his own game show in the US.

He sees Songopoly in Bermuda as a stepping stone to achieving that goal.

“Just imagine if NBC buys the rights to this show a la Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy or The Price is Right — Bermuda has got a show it can hang its hat on internationally and I have a chance to have my dream come true and be a TVā€ˆhost in the US.”

Songopoly Sample Questions

So you think you can play this game? Test yourself with this sample offering. If you get over 75% (15 correct) - you should fill in the contestant form because I would love to have you on the show. Click Here To Play!

Songopoly On-Demand TV

Click Here For Songopoly's YouTube Channel