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North Ayrshire Swimmers will be testing themselves against some of the best in the west of Scotland this weekend at the West District Short Course Junior Age Group Championships at Tollcross.

This competition is for swimmers who fall into the 11 to 13 years old age group, based on your ‘swimming age’ on the 31st of December, meaning the youngest could be still be 10 years old and the eldest on the cusp of turning 14.

Getting picked to swim in Glasgow is a big achievement in itself according to our Junior Coach, Alan Dickson: “It’s the first step up the ladder for many of the kids, it’s one of the things they aspire to when they first start to swim,” he comments.

“Getting a West District qualifying is one of the first landmarks, but even then it’s no guarantee of getting a swim because there’s a limit on how many can enter each event.”

14 of our swimmers have made it onto the start sheets with around 1 in 4 potential entries for the meet being scratched.

They’ll include some of the leading swimmers in the Gold squad and the younger members of the Competition group.

“It’s a great indicator for where we’re at as a club,” says Head Coach, Jess Wilkie.

“It’s good to have our swimmers from the junior and senior squads competing together and they can share some of their training techniques and skills they’ve been working on and see if they can execute it in the racing.”

So what will the coaches be looking for this weekend?

“We’re well into the short course season and it’s a chance for some fast racing,” muses Alan,

“Our focus is on the Christmas meets. I won’t be concentrating on the stopwatch (too much..) I’ll be looking for high skill level and I’ll be giving them all a race plan and things to think about and we’ll be seeing how that pans out.  At this time of year that’s often more important that the actual time they set.”

The weekend will be first opportunity for Jess to see the team in West District action since she came on board at the start of September.

“It’ll be nice to get to know some of the other coaches in the West District and share some ideas with other clubs,” she says.

“I’m looking forward to being poolside with Alan.  He’s a great coach and the feedback he gives kids is fantastic and detailed – he’s also a good laugh as well.”