North Ayrshire Synchro made a big splash at the team’s first appearance at the Scottish National Championships claiming 2 titles.
Aitana Lopez took the 13–15-year-old prizes for figures and solo at the event held in Drumchapel where synchro swimmers from across Britain were competing.
She finished 7th in the overall classification and was presented the trophies for the highest placed Scottish competitor.
The 15-year-old from Barcelona has been training with North Ayrshire Synchro since August when she began a four-month study exchange at Largs Academy, staying with a local family.
“We’re all enormously proud to get to our first Scottish Nationals only three years after the club was formed,” says lead synchro coach Emma Miller.
“Aitana has previous experience of competitions at this level from her training in Spain so she knew what she was coming into.
“She was calm and relaxed, and her family came over from Spain to watch her, which was lovely, and the family she’s staying with in Largs came up to support her as well, so there was a great atmosphere when it came to her solo on Saturday evening.
“She went out there and put in an absolutely fabulous performance and enjoyed every minute of it and came away with the national title.”
Aitanta paid tribute to Emma, and our other synchro coaches Helen Ternent and Lynne Harper, as she gave us her reaction to her victories.
“The North Ayrshire club has taught me lots of things, apart from synchro. They taught me how to support each other and become like a family,” she says.
“I feel so proud about the girls that are growing in this team and so grateful to the coaches! I’m very happy for the medals but the thing that makes me most happy is that all the effort and hours have been rewarded.
“Synchro has given to me the hardest moments but also the happiest ones. Thank you very much to all the people that have been supporting me!”
Aitana was one of a team of five swimmers from North Ayrshire who made the grade to take part in the championships.
The other big success story of the weekend was 11-year-old Ailidh Brobyn who performed well enough on the first day of the competition to come back on Sunday for her solo.
“Ailidh was a grade 1 at the start of this year and has worked so hard to have achieved grade 3 and get to the championships,” says Emma.
“For Ailidh to grab one of the six qualifying places to swim her solo on the Sunday was a terrific achievement. She was smiling the whole time through the performance and you could tell she was loving every minute of it and a lot of the judges gave feedback that they noticed that.
“Erin Patten’s hard work has seen her reach grade 2 and we’re super proud of them and the efforts they’ve put in.
“They did very well in the figures with Erin in 50th and Ailidh in 22nd.
“They were both very composed and professional in the way they held themselves. They were very focused during all their figures and a credit to the club.
“Erin Furey and Danielle Ternent only achieved grade 3 in September which meant they were also eligible to compete in figures,” she continues.
“It’s a big achievement for Danielle. She’s been at grade 2 for a couple of years and she’s put a lot of work in. Erin is slightly younger but although she’s still only 12 years old it’s your age at the end of the year which counts and which means she had to compete with the harder figures.
“They both coped very well with being at a pool with 99 other competitors, and they weren’t next to their friends, so they weren’t in their comfort zone.
“They both swam to the best of their ability on the day, Erin placing in 90th and Danielle in 94th. A couple of figures didn’t go to plan but they put that behind them and got on with the rest of their routines.
“So now they’ve got scores on their record, just like PBs in swimming, and they will keep improving on those scores and moving up through the rankings.
“The weekend couldn’t have happened without the hard work that Helen and Lynne have put in through the year and at the weekend.
“Helen was there for the girls the whole time while Lynne and I were judging, and refereeing and she did a brilliant job keeping them calm and organised. It’s a fabulous team effort.”