By Alan Dickson
What a year 2020 has been!
I think it is fair to say the swimming landscape has change beyond all recognition.
Who would have thought as we entered what turned out to be a six month ‘lockout’ in March that some of the clubs around us would be hauled out of the water again in November?
It could be easy to forget that we DID get some racing done in the 2019/20 season with success in every level in the pool.
Our swimmers attended a range of competitions from National events such as Scottish Short course, Scottish Schools and Edinburgh International through to graded meets at our home pools such as the Renfrew Baths Meet.
We had three swimmers qualify for British trials. Abbey Kane, Fraser Kelly and Jen Murray all had qualifying times for this event which should have taken place in London in April but fell victim to lockdown – leaving all three bitterly disappointed.
The Scottish Schools in January saw us take 13 swimmers who came back with 15 top 10 finishes and 5 medals.
Special mention to Fraser Kelly was once again Scottish schools 100 Fly champion.
The focus then moved to qualifying for SNAGS and our swimmers rose to that challenge with a group from across the club from gold squad to national squad making the very tough qualifying standard.
A personal highlight came when two gold squad swimmers qualified for SNAGs, the first time anybody from that squad has reached the qualifying standard.
They were joined by a number of other swimmers from across our squads.
On the run up to SNAGs we held our own accredited time trial which was no mean feat and shows what we can do when we come together as a club.
That night at the Portal saw SNAGS and DRP qualifications secured as well as a slew of personal bests.
Not long after this our club - along with the rest of the country - went into lockdown.
This saw all competitive swimming cancelled and we all became aware of a whole new world of zoom meetings.
I must thank everyone who engaged with the club during this period and I hope the resources we shared were of some use.
I also have to thank Sheena for helping me put together the video home land programme we filmed and shared on our social media.
I have been pleased with our retention levels as a club. Whilst some swimmers have decided not to continue for the time being, I am satisfied we have retained the core of our group which means the standard of swimming in the club will continue to develop.
Another positive has been the continued demand for entry to the development squad which picked up as soon as were able to return to the water in September.
So, where are we?
Well we are participating in both West district and National Speed ladders and have plans for a club championship (of sorts) for this year.
In fact, we were the first club to get times on the WD ladder, with the District using us as a model of best practice and other clubs seeking our advice in holding time trials.
It’s fair to say the profile of the club has never been better and with the continued growth at development level our future in terms of swimming is bright.
We will continue to take any opportunity to give the swimmers competitive outlets although it will still be some time before we attend a meet that looks as we all remember.
To finish I must thank all the volunteer coaches without whom we could not operate as a club – so thank you!