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The club came together at Saltcoats Town Hall on Saturday night to celebrate our swimmers achievements in 2019 and present our champions with their trophies.

30 awards were handed out to the swimmers who came out top over rounds of the club championships and prizes to winners chosen by the coaches for their performances during the last year.

In a change to the proceedings this year medals were presented to swimmers who joined the club during 2019.

Hannah Smart was the youngest of our individual champions, taking home the shield for 8-year-old girls.

“Hannah’s made steady progress over the last year in the Development squad,” says Junior Coach, Alan Dickson. “Everytime I see her training I notice the improvements she’s made in her technique across all four strokes. I know she’s keen to compete and that’s an attribute which has helped her win the 8-year-olds shield.”

The 9-year-old awards were won by Lewis Bray and Ruby McInnes.

“Lewis has got a really pleasant attitude and a fiercely competitive nature and he’s an absolute pleasure to coach,” said Alan in the video revealing the winner. “He provides us with feedback during the sessions and he’s always positive and takes on board what we’re trying to tell him”

“Ruby’s one our best attenders. She’s got a real attention to detail and she tries hard to better herself every time she comes to train.”

There was a double celebration for Emma Binnie who came out top in the competition for the best 10-year-old girl and was also chosen as the Synchro team’s land trainer of the year.

Says Alan: “It’s been a fantastic year for Emma in both her competitive swimming and synchro work. She’s a regular attender and such a consistent performer at training so it was no surprise to me that she’s taken this award.”

Synchro coach Helen Ternent added: “Emma’s our first swimmer to have been awarded two grades in the one session and has achieved phenomenal things. She’s always got a smile on her face and pushes herself on in the land training and it’s a joy to have her with us.”

Kouper Sloss lifted the boys trophy with Alan observing: “He’s only just moved into Gold squad and he puts his all into every session.”

Described by his coach as “fiercely competitive”, Lewis Gibson was called up to receive the 11-year-old boys shield. “This year he’s really stepped up and switched on to swimming and I can see how hard he’s been working on his technique which has paid off with swims at West Distrct and making finals.”

Award room

It was honours even in the Chan family with Caelin collecting the 11-year-old girls trophy and younger sister, Evie, receiving Alan’s nomination for the Junior Coach’s Award.

“It’s been a great year of swimming for Caelin, making finals at West District and qualifying for DRP,” he comments. “She deserves the award for her attention to detail and hard work in training.”

“Evie’s had a superb year and I’ve seen progress in every aspect of her swimming. There’s no secret to Evie’s success: it’s her fantastic listening skills coupled to an ability to put it into action. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more from her in 2020”

Alan’s pick for the boys award for 2019 was Fraser Mathie.

“He’s always trying his best in training and asking questions of me as a coach and listens hard. At every session I can see him trying to put what I tell him into practice.”

Isla Waller was the second double award winner of the night, and was surprised and delighted to receive both the 12 year-old-girls title and the choice of Head Coach, Jess Wilkie as swimmer of the year.

“Isla has improved so much in the last year. She’s worked very hard on her skills. She’s worked extremely hard at her performance in competitions, especially the mental side of the sport.

James Stuart received the 12-year-old boy shield. “It’s been great to work with James as he’s moved into the Youth squad,” says Jess. “He’s making improvements and it’s great to see him racing and working to put his training into practice.”

Adam Currie was presented with the 13-year-old boy trophy with Jess paying tribute to his dedication.

“Adam always challenges himself when he gets in the water and he loves racing.”

Rachel McGuire came out top among the 13-year-old girls and was chosen by land training coach, and Vice-President Sheena Currie, as her senior athlete of the year.

“I really enjoy working with Rachel,” says Jess. “She’s made some fantastic improvements and is continuing to work hard and try and find extra gains every time she gets in the water.”

Sheena added: “I’ve seen a huge improvement in Rachel’s attitude to land-based training and a recognition that it makes real benefits to your swimming.”

Matthew Shanks made two trips to the front of the room to receive the shields for 14-year-old boy and the Coach’s award from Jess.

“I’ve seen Matthew come on in leaps and bounds over the last few months. He works exceptionally hard in training and his improvement at competitions has been amazing and continues to apply himself every day.”

Beth Hill followed on from her age-group win last year to take home the 14-year-old prize with Jess telling the club: “Beth’s been working really hard in training and she’s got her goals for 2020.”

For 15 and 16-year-olds this year’s prizes went to Fraser Kelly, Leah Stark and Rachael Grant.

“Fraser always gets in the water and pushes himself as hard as he can and Leah’s been working really hard in training all through the last year,” says Jess.

Award surf2019 Jess made it one of her missions to get members of our Masters squad competing in the club championships again.

Carol Alderson was the first swimmer in many years to have a name engraved on the trophy after coming out top among the three who competed in the championships, with Kenny Hamill receiving the shield for the men.

“Carol comes to multiple sessions every week and it’s great to see her improving and starting to compete,” says a delighted Head Coach.

Jess picked the winners in the Development Squad giving the prizes to Adam Saunderson and Charlotte Adair.

“Adam’s worked extremely hard in the Development squad. Every session he pushes himself that little bit harder to be the best he can be. Charlotte always comes in and puts in her best effort in training and loves to learn how to race and do better at her skills.”

Philip Hinchliffe is a relatively new member at North Ayrshire but he’s made an immediate impression on land coach, Sheena, who named him as her Junior winner for 2019.

“Philip has proved to be very enthusiastic about land training sessions. He’s been listening well and is a beast at a tuck jump!”

Helen Ternent revealed Erin Patten as the Synchro squad’s swimmer of the year.

“She’s been a force of nature and is a joy to work with. She’s always got a smile on her face and is asking questions. She’s a real team player and supports everybody.”

Synchro’s Lynne Harper received the Volunteer Coach of the Year, a cup voted for by the members of the club and Media Officer Rob Waller and Synchro Coach, Helen Ternent, shared the award for Committee Member.