North Ayrshire swimmers put down a marker for the future as they collected seven medals and achieved a PB in 9 out of 10 swims at the second round of the West District long course championship.
The biggest smile of the weekend belonged to Lewis Gibson who served notice of his intent taking the 12-year-old gold medal in the 200m freestyle on the Saturday morning at Tollcross with an 11 second PB.
He followed that up on Sunday with silver in the 200m backstroke
“It was a fantastic 10 second PB from a very controlled swim,” says head coach Jess Wilkie.
Lewis rounded off his collection with three bronze medals for the 200m breaststroke (with a 20 second improvement) 50m breaststroke and 200m IM.
“Lewis did very well,” says head coach, Jess Wilkie, who was delighted to see the team build on their performances as the weekend went on.
“On Sunday we managed a 95% PB rate which I think for a meet with so many swims and swimmers is absolutely outstanding!
“It was a great effort from the team. We also managed to hit 56% in top 10 placings, which is excellent for the club and hopefully something we can improve on.”
His joy was matched by Fraser Cowie who picked up a silver medal for his 50m fly and a consideration time for SNAGS.
“Fraser had an excellent swim in the fly, improving from heat to final and there’s definitely more to come from him,” says Jess.
He updated his long course record for the 200m breaststroke in style, stopping the clock 33 seconds earlier than the last time he swam it in 3:18.42.
Jen Murray took a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle in the 17+ age group and came within a whisker of the podium again in the 200m IM and 50m freestyle where she PB’d and finished in 4th place both times.
“When you take into account that swimmers that like Jen and Fraser Kelly were the among the youngest in that age group, and are racing swimmers in their 20s from likes of City of Glasgow and the University of Stirling, it’s a tough weekend for them.”
“Adam Currie really stepped up and improved massively from heat to final, securing himself some SNAGs qualifying times. His 50m free, where he took off more than 2 seconds over the two swims, was especially good.
“In fact, most of our 50m finalists also managed to improve, which is great because we’re always looking for the guys to go faster in their second chance swims.”
Adam PB’d every time he raced over the two days, taking almost 9 seconds off his 200m freestyle and a whisker under 5 seconds faster in the 200m backstroke.
“For some of these swimmers it was their first time racing long course,” continues Jess.
“Niamh Hamilton had her first attempt at the 800m free. It’s a tough race and it was great to see her and Isla Waller finishing in the top 10 for their age groups."
Isla took 15 seconds off her 800m time, getting it down to a 11:09.89 having already taken 5 seconds off her 200m freestyle on the first day of the meet.
“Caelin Chan was taking on a number of races for the first time, and made the final of the 50m fly, improving her PB by nearly 5 seconds, and Kate Stuart had a fantastic 200m backstroke, breaking the 3 minute barrier, although I’d like to see her being a little more aggressive at the start and more through the race.
“Nathan Hughes improved in the 50m fly and there’s definitely more time to take off there, but he managed to keep his feet together and work on skills that we’ve been focussing on in training.
“Scott Kean did really well in his 50m freestyle. He’s been working hard in training and we’re starting to see the benefits in his racing. He got himself down to a 30.4 which is a respectable time and I was really impressed there.”
Heather Stuart set 2 second PBs in her 50m events in backstroke, fly and freestyle, while Lily Murray set a 33.4 in the 50m fly and Sophie Steele PB’d her 50m backstroke.
Matthew Shanks was more than 5 seconds faster in his 50m backstroke than his last long course swim, and Andrew Sutherland took nearly a second and a half off his 50m free.
Rachel McGuire PB’d all her 50m events on the Sunday and Emma Binnie lodged her first long course times in the 50m breaststroke and fly, while Daniel Convery took over 6 seconds off his 50m backstroke.
Holly Hopkins raced the 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke on Saturday, setting new benchmarks following her move to North Ayrshire.
The jet setting Moore sisters were back for another weekend in Glasgow with Erin coming close to a medal in the 12-year-olds 50m fly with a 2 and a half second improvement getting her a 4th place, while her biggest PB came in the 200m IM where she took off nearly 14 seconds for a 5th place.
Elder sister Eilidh managed to sprint down the pool more than 8 seconds faster than the last time she took on a long course 50m breaststroke.
Team spirit was evident all weekend in the North Ayrshire camp.
“It was great to see the swimmers cheering each other on and I’d like to see them encouraging their team mates more often,” says Jess.
“Once again I’d like to encourage our swimmers to get to know their long course personal bests so they’re not comparing them to misleading short course times.
“We’re starting to put some good times on the board and that’s great to see.”