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An amazing nine North Ayrshire swimmers are celebrating selection for Scottish Swimming’s national talent programmes.

2020 is a record year for the club, despite being forced out of the water since March, with seven Gold and Youth squad swimmers getting picked for the District Regional Programme, as well as Fraser Kelly and Abby Kane retaining their places on the Youth Development Squad and Youth Squad respectively.

DRP is administered by West District on behalf of Scottish Swimming and is the first step on the long ladder of representative swimming. Our super six from last year has become a magnificent 7 with the addition of a new face.

DRP 2020 2

“Kate Stuart is the newbie who has had a fantastic 2019 - 2020 taking every opportunity she had to tick off those all-important qualifying times which was just as well given the shortened nature of the season,” says coach, Alan Dickson.

“Kate is one of the leading lights in gold squad and I am looking forward to her using this opportunity as a springboard.

Caelin Chan joins the boys moving up to youth squad as well returning to DRP for the second year running. “Caelin has a great attitude to training she seeks out advice and works hard to put it into practice she has the classics growth mindset - always open to learning new skills and adapting existing ones.”

Sophie Steele is returning to DRP for the third time. “Sophie is another swimmer who has made improvements this year. She absorbs everything I give her at training and has started to realise the importance of asking.”

DRP 2020 1

Another two who made the most of the foreshortened 2019/20 season were Fraser Cowie and Lewis Gibson.

“A solid block of training between Aug - Nov saw both of them working on some quite specific areas,” says Alan.

“They each went on to turn in some really solid swims and achieved a handful of times both have just moved up to youth squad so whilst they are return to DRP for the second time these two will have lots of new experiences this year.”

“Isla Waller is making her third appearance at DRP which speaks volumes for her attitude and application. Each year the qualifying times get harder but Isla steps up gets the work done and being selected this year is recognition of that effort.

Erin Moore is our seventh swimmer she splits her time between the Athlone club in Ireland and swims with us when she can get back for meets.

“Erin loves racing and is another who grabbed every opportunity to perform. Being based in Ireland she is the only one of the group who is actually swimming at the moment. She has really progressed in her time away from us. It’s great to see her returning to DRP.

“Without mentioning anyone in particular I know had the season ran to its conclusion there were other swimmers who would have made it to DRP this year, the progression is clear for all to see and that’s the key for us all until we get back to the pool.”

DRP this year looks like it will be very different with potentially all three days being delivered virtually in online sessions, although the District will try to deliver pool-based sessions if the Government regulations and availability of pools allows.

Despite the changes forced on us all by the pandemic it remains a great opportunity to learn and develop, supported by a range of talented coaches and some top swimmers.