Three of North Ayrshire’s teenage girls put in stunning performances to claim 15 medals between them at the West District Senior Age Group Championships.
Jennifer Murray was in the top three in every event she entered at Tollcross taking victories in the 400m IM and the 200m freestyle.
The 15-year-old also collected four silver medals in the 800m free and the 200m breaststroke, fly and IM, and took a bronze in the 100m breaststroke, and recording almost a 5 second PB in her fly.
It seemed as if Rachael Grant was also attached to the podium by elastic. She followed Jen home in the 400m IM on Saturday for a North Ayrshire 1 – 2, which was one of six medals she collected.
There was a win in the 100m fly and a silver in the 400m free and the 200m backstroke and third places in the 100m backstroke and the 200m IM.
It was Rachael’s breaststroke which most impressed coach Jacqui Tarran, who was in charge of the team in Glasgow.
“Rachael’s made huge improvements in her stroke,” says Jacqui. “She’s been putting in a lot of hard work and it paid off with her getting a place in the 100m final. You can see the benefits when she swims IM as well, of course.
“The team spirit was great all weekend with everyone shouting each other on and encouraging each other.
“For me the most exciting race was Eve Mair’s 100m freestyle. She dropped 3/4 second to get into final and then another 3/4 to get second place. It was a battle at end and she put her head down and fought to get that silver medal.”
Eve also took a bronze in the 14-year-olds 400m freestyle and took 1.5 seconds off her 200m time, finishing 4th.
It wasn’t until Sunday that the boys made their first trips to the podium, with Rory Dickson and Fraser Kelly picking up 2 medals each to bring the team total to 19.
“Rory’s 100m breaststroke was eventful!” recalls Jacqui. “Just as he was about to get on the blocks his trunks split!
“They delayed the heat so he could run back to the changing rooms and put on a spare pair. Despite that he didn’t lose focus and qualified for the final where he improved from his 5th seeding to claim the bronze.
“It’s a lot tougher for Rory this year because he’s now in the 16 and over category which this weekend included swimmers up to the age of 25 and he was the youngest finalist.
“He went straight from swimming his 200m backstroke heat into the 100m breaststroke final and so he had to be sensible and not waste his energy for the medal race.”
It was no surprise to see Fraser Kelly take the gold medal in the 15-year-olds 100m fly, but Jacqui says it was in one of his weaker strokes where he impressed the most.
“Not so long ago I don’t think Fraser would have imagined getting into a breast final never mind coming 4th with a 4 second PB,” she says. “He’s also put in a lot of hard work on his backstroke which paid off when he claimed a bronze in the 200m IM taking almost 3 seconds off his time in the heats.”
Abby Kane swam on the Sunday afternoon and sliced another 3 seconds off her own Scottish Paralympic 200m breaststroke record in S13 which she set just a few weeks ago at our Distance Meet at the Portal, this time taking it under 3 minutes with a new time of 2:57.49.
Leah Stark was in great form all weekend making 4 finals with some big PBs including nearly 4 seconds off her 200m IM to take 5th place and nearly 8 seconds off her 400m Free where she placed 6th.
Jacob Tarran set the PB of the meet for North Ayrshire taking a huge 15 seconds off his 400m free.
Andrew Sutherland recorded 6 top 10 finishes with a best place of 6th in the 15-year-olds 100m free and collecting new PBs in his 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m free.
Lucy Glencorse set a 4 second PB to qualify for the 200m IM final where she finished in 6th place while Evan Clark took 1.7 seconds off his 400m free finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th place.