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The PB count was into three figures as North Ayrshire’s younger swimmers put in some storming performances at the South Ayrshire Graded Meet.

SAST WristbandsFor some it was a second successive day in the heat of the Citadel having competed as part of the Winter League, making their results all the more impressive.

The team collected 12 of the coveted ‘Swam Too Fast’ wristbands and another 14 medals, but those weren’t the numbers which most impressed Junior Coach, Alan Dickson.

“We had 33 kids entered this year but back in 2015 it was only 7!” he comments.

“That alone shows a club that’s really on the up and everyone involved can take a lot of pride in that and have confidence in the future.

Of the 115 individual swims, 100 of them were improvements over their entry times, and that doesn’t include the races where swimmers were going in off an estimated time because they hadn’t swum the event before.

14 of our swimmers completed a clean sweep by improving every time they swam.

“Eva Bray was having her first away meet and her performance was fantastic,” say Alan.

The 8-year-old took more than 10 seconds off her 50m fly, finishing in 1:11.44, and was also top ten in the 50m free.

“She beat every one of her entry times and put the pressure on her brother Lewis and he responded with a clean sweep.”

Lewis collected two of the ‘too fast’ rubber bands, for his 50m fly and free, and won a silver medal for the breaststroke and bronze in the backstroke.

There’s wasn’t the only sibling rivalry during the day.

SAST Kate“James and Kate Stuart have both been working hard in training over the past couple of months and beat nearly all their entry times.”

Kate was too fast in her 100m free, breast and IM, and then took nearly 9 seconds off her fly. Elder bother James (12) took six seconds off his 100m breaststroke and was top ten in the backstroke and free.

“Ruby McInnes was the fastest in her age group for every event she entered,” notes Alan. “She was chased all the way by her friend Emily McGuire.

Ruby’s reward was two wristbands for her 50m free and fly and gold medals for the backstroke and breaststroke. Emily, who’s also 8 years old, was also too fast in the free and took a silver medal in the fly and bronze in the backstroke.

Niamh Hamilton almost ran out of room on her arm with three too fast results, including a massive 15 seconds off the 100m IM to finish on 1:26.45. She also bust the time in the breaststroke and free as well as picking up a gold in the backstroke with her fourth PB of the day.

Holly Hopkins was a double medal winner with a silver in her 100m free and bronze for IM. “Holly continues to make good progress having just made the move up to seniors and there’s so much more to come from her,” says Alan.

Sam Currie was too fast in his 50m free and just missed out on winning medals with 4th place finishes in his breaststroke and fly, and Niamh Boyd won a bronze in her 100m free with a 6 second PB and was top ten with 8 seconds off her IM.

SAST MedalsScott Kean collected a silver medal for his 100m free with a PB to bring him down to 1:11.57 and Lucy McLaughlin picked up bronze for her 50m free with one of two improvements.

Rose Smith won a silver medal with a near 2 second PB in her 50m free.

9-year-old Mairead Anderson was faster in all four of her races, going top six in the 50m free and fly and Madison Gourlay recorded the biggest PB of the day among our swimmers taking nearly 43 seconds off her 100m IM to record a 1:57.34, and 22 seconds off her 100m breaststroke.

Rhys Hanlonbole was one of the eldest on the team, at 13-years-old, and made it onto the podium in the 100m backstroke with a 11 second PB and improved in his IM and fly for top six placings.

Pol O’Connor made double digit improvements in his backstroke and IM as he recorded a hat trick of PBs, and Jamie Saunderson was nearly 15 seconds faster in his 100m IM and another two PBs in the free and backstroke got him into the top ten in 7th and 9th place respectively.

Rebecca Shanks was 9 seconds quicker in her 100m free and took 5 seconds off the breaststroke and backstroke.

Molly Tulloch hovered around the top ten all day and sliced 12 seconds off her 100m breaststroke and 11 from her freestyle, along with two more 5 second improvements in IM and backstroke.

12-year-old Stewart Reid recorded a 13 second PB in his IM stopping the clock on 1:32.85 and found 6 seconds in his 100m free to finish in the top ten.

Archie Cameron recorded 3 second improvement in his 100m IM and took a whisker off his freestyle while Daniel Convery posted a faster time in his backstroke.

Cameron Hamill found over 11 seconds in his 100m fly and 9 seconds in the breaststroke in a five-race programme while Kirsty Mathie was nearly 18 second quicker than she’d been before in the 100m breaststroke and took nearly 9 off her freestyle. Elder brother Fraser was five seconds faster in his free and took a second off his breaststroke.

Samuel Young collected three new PBs with a 3 second improvement in his 50m free good enough for 5th place on a 45.18. He was top ten in all four swims with a 4 second improvement in his breaststroke for 7th spot.

Lauren Peckover posted two big improvements of 16 and 18 seconds in her 100m IM and fly and achieved healthy improvements in her breaststroke and backstroke as well.

Lacey Rodgers found almost half a minute of time in her 100m breaststroke and fly races and was seven seconds quicker in her backstroke as well.

Alistair Street took 16 seconds off his 100m IM and registered a slight improvement in his breaststroke.

It was clear that PBs were harder to come by as the day wore on, and Alan says it was the conditions rather than the racing which was taking its toll on our team.

“The few swimmers who didn’t beat their times were racing in the afternoon and with it being so warm at the Citadel it underlines the importance of looking after your body,” he emphasises.

“One or two swimmers didn’t get outside at the lunch break and that’s really important. It’s chance to cool down and rehydrate.

“You don’t need anything fancy in your bottle; plain water is all you need.”

“I have to say a big thank you to Clare Stuart, Dan Bray and Kenny Hamill for helping me out on poolside. It was Dan’s first time and he’s a definite candidate for a team manager’s course in the future!”