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Portal Timing Pads 1008 x 756The stopwatches will be out again this weekend as our Gold squad get their first chance since lockdown to race against the clock.

It follows the success of the club’s first attempt at a physically distanced time trial for Youth and National swimmers at Auchenharvie pool last month.

Although the times are unaccredited – they don’t count for entry to national events – they are being logged on a ‘speed ladder’ set up by the West District to allow clubs some form of virtual competition until a time when the sport is able to resume staging meets.

As soon as we were back in the water in September our Interim Head Coach, Alan Dickson, set a goal for North Ayrshire to be among the first clubs to organise a Covid-safe time trial with the result that our swimmers were among the first to get their names on the speed ladder standings, and the District has approached us to help show other clubs how to run these sessions.

You can find the times if you click HERE.

“Swimmers also love targets so it’s a great motivational tool,” says Alan.

Alan Feedback“We don’t want to be doing it more than every 6 – 8 weeks, which is the timescale we need for training to take effect.

“It’s also a handy way for coaches to arrange their season. I use a three peak system and without the usual structure of galas it’s difficult to write an annual plan.

“So I’d like to say thanks to West District and John Deans for setting up the speed ladder.”

The Harvies event was very different to what our swimmers were used to, and not just because it was eerily quiet with no spectators.

Only three of the six lanes were in use. The athletes have to wear face masks when they’re on deck and maintain their distance from each other, meaning they couldn’t gather at the end of the lane to cheer on their friends as they would like to.

“The swimmers were out of the water for six months and a lot of them remarked on how strange it felt to swimming at high intensity and trying to go fast again”, says Alan.

“There were a couple of swims that, under difference circumstances, would have been personal bests, and one or two which raised my eyebrows which is great.

“My plea to the swimmers this weekend is not to get hung up on the times and concentrate on how they’re swimming - have a plan and get into the water and execute it.”