It was an impressive debut for North Ayrshire’s junior swimmers as they took on the Kingston Sprints meet.
The team of 35 swimmers came away with 28 medals and 82 new best times with a remarkable PB conversion rate of 64% at the short course pool in Larkhall.
“It’s quite an achievement considering the number of opportunities the kids have had to race over 50m since the start of the season,” says Junior Coach, Alan Dickson.
“Not only have we had our own club championships and the foundation and development meets, but many of them have also raced at the West District sprints and the SAST Graded meet.”
“It’s really difficult to keep achieving PBs and it’s not surprising that some of the elder swimmers who had been at West District weren’t able to raise their game. It does become harder to PB the longer you’re in the sport.”
14-year-old Philip Hinchliffe collected our biggest individual haul of medals, winning one of each colour and setting new PBs in all four of his 50m races. He improved by 2 seconds to win the backstroke and found nearly 3 seconds in the freestyle, where he was second, and the fly where he took bronze.
Philip was also involved at the end of the day when the organisers decided to use some free time in the schedule to stage a ‘scratch’ 100m race, meaning the swimmers didn’t line up in seeded heats according to their previous times.
He was drawn next to teammate Cameron McDonald and fought an epic battle over the four lengths. Philip claimed the bragging rights by just 6 hundredths of a second on a 1:13.5, with both setting new PBs.
Cameron, who’s also 14, claimed two silver medals for his fly and breaststroke as he recorded a clean sweep of best times.
Not to be outdone, younger sister Rachel went home with a silver medal for her 50 fly, and a 2.5 second PB, and was third in the freestyle.
Twins Emma and Dean Binnie collected a gold and silver medal, respectively, in the freestyle and fly.
Aaynaan Patankar was among our swimmers who were thrilled to win the first medals of their career. The 11-year-old began her collection in the best possible way with a gold in the backstroke.
Holly Hopkins won herself two silver medals in the backstroke and freestyle while Mairead Anderson peaked with a 2 second PB in the backstroke to take bronze medal. The 9-year-old improved in each of her four strokes.
Cameron Hamill won a gold in the freestyle and took silver for fly, while Kouper Sloss won silver in the freestyle and took bronze for breaststroke. 12-year-old Rebecca Shanks improved in all her races, with her biggest drop in the breaststroke where she found more than two seconds over the two lengths of the pool.
9-year-old Rose Smith pulled off a hat trick of PBs, with her biggest of more than 5.5 seconds winning her a bronze medal in fly. Lauren Peckover was nearly a second faster than before in her breaststroke race.
Boyd Naughton PB’d all his races and was rewarded with a bronze medal in the 12-year-old fly and was in the top ten across all strokes.
Brothers Kyle and Jamie Saunderson racked up 8 PBs between them. “Kyle probably edge the family battle with his gold in the backstroke and bronze in the 50m free,” says Alan. He was also around 8 seconds faster in his fly and breaststroke and Jamie took 7.5 seconds off his fly time and was unlucky not to make the podium with 4th spot in the backstroke.
Molly Tulloch was among the 13 swimmers who beat their previous time in each of their events and collectred a silver medals for backstroke and a bronze for freestyle. The 10-year-old took 5 seconds off her fly PB for 5th spot and just missed out on a medal for the breaststroke.
Lacey Rodgers was a bronze medal winner in the 10-year-old backstroke and PB’d her breaststroke. Erin Patten was on the third step for her backstroke with close on a 5 second improvement and Adam Saunderson got bronze in his fly, going on to set another three PBs with nearly 5 seconds off his freestyle.
Hannah Wilson found 6 seconds to take silver in the backstroke, and PB’d her free and breast.
“Hannah’s just moved up to Gold squad and I’ve been waiting for her to have a big few drops. She swam really well all weekend and it was great to see her racing hard,” comments Alan.
“I was also impressed with a group of our development swimmers – Eva Bray, Marshall Whitmore, Mirren Stewart, Sam Young – who all did themselves proud.”
Eva was one of the youngest on the team, at just 8 years old. Marshall was in the top 6 for his three races. 9-year-old Mirren won a silver medal with a PB in her backstroke and Samuel took 3 seconds off his fly time to finish in the top six and was fifth in backstroke.
Madison Gourlay found nearly 2 seconds in her fly and freestyle and Erin Finlayson was almost 4 seconds faster in her fly and got into the top six with a 2.6 second PB in backstroke.
Stewart Reid made the top six with his fly and found 3.3 seconds in his backstroke and registered a 1.8 second improvement in free.
Cerys MacKellar finished 5th in her breaststroke and was 2.6 seconds faster in freestyle. Zoe Matchett was around the top ten all day with new best times in fly, free and breaststroke.
Fraser Mathie PB’d in every stroke and was just off the podium in fly and finished in the top six in backstroke and freestyle. Younger sister Kirsty finished top ten for backstroke and PB’d fly and free.
The best of Pol O’Connor’s PBs was 5 seconds off his breaststroke and he made the top ten with his fly.
“It was a pretty frantic day,” says Alan, reflecting on his first experience of the Kingston Sprints. “Our swimmers weren’t getting any rest in between their races which changed the character making it more of a speed endurance event. Hopefully it will become a regular event on our calendar.”