KAREN Graham has been named as the Yorkshire Masters Swimmer of the Year.

The Ilkley and East Leeds swimmer was presented with the Leo Beatty Cup at the Yorkshire Masters Swimming Championships where she won six golds and a silver medal as well as winning the Pickering Trophy for the female Yorkshire swimmer of the competition.

The Beatty Cup is awarded to the Yorkshire Master Swimmer (age 24+) who competes in key events throughout the year along with breaking British, European and World Records.

Graham swims in the 50-54 year age group and was awarded 285 points for competing in 2016, these included points for breaking six British records in the 200, 400, and 800m freestyle events in both long and short course pools, and winning the 200m freestyle event at the European Masters in London.

Graham swam competitively as a teenager, competing for Team GB in 1983, but retired in 1987.

On moving to Ilkley and turning 45, Karen returned to the pool just to keep fit, but in 2011 she was tempted to compete at the Yorkshire Masters in Scarborough.

Graham said: "I remember driving to the competition feeling terrified and saying to myself 'what am I doing?', I competed in a couple of events and did ok, but the desire to do better was instant.

She added: "2016 was a good year, six individual British records, and four European records in team events with swimmers from East Leeds along with becoming European Champion for the 200m freestyle was brilliant.

"I swim with a fantastic team of swimmers at both Ilkley Masters (based at Ilkley Pool) coached by Chris Kitson and Christine Bradley – who swam the channel last year – and East Leeds (based at John Charles, Leeds) where we have the benefit of Alan Hutchinson who also coaches for City of Leeds.

"Swimmers age range from 24-80, but whatever our age we all love the water, swimming and competing in the pool, open water or as part of a triathlon."

This year has started well for Graham and already she has broken her own British records for 200m and 800m.

She is now looking forward to the British Long Course Masters in June and competing in the World Masters in Budapest in August with a team from East Leeds.