North Ayrshire’s youngest swimmers showed what exciting future there is for the club as they put on an impressive display to claim 70 medals at our Foundation and Development meets.
With more than 50 swimmers competing in 320 races over the two days they produced a remarkable podium strike rate of better than 1 in 5.
“The highlight for me was the numbers we had competing,” says Assistant Coach Alan Dickson. “In my eleven years with the club I’ve never seen so many kids taking part and the sheer number of swims was fantastic. “
Alan was also quick to praise the vital role of their families in staging our first meet of the season. “I’ve got to say thanks to everyone who helped out on poolside, getting everybody to the right place at the right time,” he says.
“The volunteers helping out with the meet management did a great job too. We haven’t staged a gala at the Portal for around a year and yet it went like clockwork.”
Beth Hill topped the list of podium visits at the Development meet on Saturday, winning 6 medals including a gold in the 200m free and silvers in the 100m fly and 100m backstroke and bronze medals in the 200m IM, 100m free and 100m breaststroke.
Eilidh Moore was one of three swimmers who beat the time threshold in their events and were awarded prestigious ‘Swam Too Fast’ medals. Eilidh set a 10 second PB in the 100m fly while Heather Stuart was too speedy in her 200m free and Jasmine Baird beat the clock in the 100m backstroke.
Eilidh also won a gold medal in the 400m IM which Alan picked as one of his highlights of the weekend.
“Eilidh and Isla Waller tackled the 400m IM which is a daunting event for any swimmer and they both went for it and posted very respectable times,” he enthused. “They’ll have learned a lot from it because it’s a very steep learning curve in that event. It’s difficult to know how to pace it but they both did their very best and I thought they did very well.
“Eilidh had a very mature 100 free at the end of the race to win the gold medal.”
Isla also took silver in the 400m free with a new PB.
Heather pulled off a hat-trick of gold medals in the 200m IM, 100m free and 100m breast while Jasmine collected a silver in the 200m IM and 400m free.
Alan was also impressed by Matthew Shanks who won a gold in the 200m backstroke and was close to collecting more medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle. “Matthew has come roaring back to training after the summer and he’s reaped the benefits with some cracking swims, PB’ing all his individual races. His 100m free was a really good swim and his stroke is looking great,” says the coach.
On the Sunday it was the turn of the 10 years-old and under swimmers to show what they could do at the Foundation Meet and the Chan sisters were in imperious form collecting 13 medals between them.
Elder sister Caelin collected ‘Swam Too Fast’ medals in the 50m fly and breaststroke as well as silvers in the 100m breast, 100m IM and 200m free for the 10 year-olds, and a bronze in the 200m IM.
Among the 8 year-olds Evie was fastest to the wall in the 50m fly and 50m breaststroke sprints and won silvers in the 100m IM, breaststroke and backstroke races and bronze in the 50m breast and 100m free.
Erin Moore posted one of the PB’s of the day going 21 seconds faster in her 400m free to take the gold. “It was just outside the qualifying time for the District Regional Programme so she’s in fine form right now and she’s looking forward to the rest of the season,” commented Alan.
She also won the 50 backstroke and the 100m breaststroke and was too fast in the 100m IM with a 9 second PB.
Alan was also impressed by the performance of Lewis Bray. “He’s only 8 and was competing for the first time and had a fantastic swim in the 50m breaststroke taking 3rd place and his time of 1’02 was a great effort. He also left me with egg on my face when he swam 14 seconds quicker than my predicted time for him in the 100m free to win gold. He’s is definitely one to watch and I’m sure we’ll be seeing his name coming up plenty in future,” says Alan.
Among the other notable medal winners on Sunday was Kate Stuart who went home with six including a ‘Swam Too Fast’ in the 200m free with an 11 second PB. She was the gold medal winner in the 100m free and took silver in the 100m fly and 200m (with a 13 second PB) and took bronzes in the 50m backstroke and the 400m free.
Sam Currie claimed a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke a full 30 seconds faster than Alan had predicted and also took a bronze in the 50m Fly.
Cameron Gibson was in the top six in all four of his races, deservedly getting a bronze medal in the 100m IM.
Emma and Dean Binnie won a medal each for fly – gold for Emma in the 100m and bronze for Dean in the 50m event. Emma also took a bronze in the 100m free.
Ella Bruce collected a bronze in the 50m free and Emily McGuire the same in the 50m fly, while Rachel McDonald won gold in the 100m backstroke and Sarah Short took gold medals in the 100m IM and 100m fly.
Returning to the action on Saturday, for the 11 and overs and Daniel Convery collected four medals, two of them gold for 200m races. He posted a 14 second PB in the freestyle and took off 22 seconds in the backstroke as well as a silver in the 100m fly and bronze for the 100m backstroke.
James Stuart went one better, going home wearing medals for winning the 200m breaststroke, with silvers in the 100m breast and 200m free with bronzes for the 200m back and 400m free.
Nathan Hughes was one of the eldest in the team taking a gold medal in the 400m free and a bronze in the 200 backstroke for 14 year-olds.
Alan also wanted to highlight the performances of Fraser Mathie in the 12 year old group.
“Fraser is one of our most improved swimmers over the last year,” he says. “He PB’d all his swims and won his first ribbon with a 6th place in the 200m IM.”
Rounding off the medal winners, Molly Sutherland took gold in the 200m free with close to an 8 second PB, and she PB’d again for bronze in the 200m backstroke. Ruby McGill won a bronze in the 100m fly while Cameron McDonald took a silver in the 200m breaststroke, and Scott Kean won a silver in the 200m back.
Among the notable PBs achieved over the weekend, Heidi Richmond took 17 seconds off her 200m free, while Anna Hay knocked 13 seconds off her 50m fly at the Foundation Meet and Zoe Matchett was 17 seconds faster than predicted in her 100m free.
There were medals in the relay races too with a bronze medal for the 11 and overs in the mixed 200m medley on Saturday and the 10 and unders in the 200m freestyle on Sunday.