Our younger swimmers finished their season on a high with some very impressive performances at the Ren 96 Development Meet and Bellshill Summer Splash.
It’s a testament to how much improvement they’ve made over the year that every swimmer who completed at Linwood over the two days – and there were nearly 30 of them – achieved at least one new personal best.
“These meets have been the focus for most of these swimmers,” explains Junior Coach, Alan Dickson, “and it’s important to give the season some structure.”
“They’ve got a couple of weeks off coming up where they can focus solely on their skills and when they return from the summer break on the 22nd July, we’ll be concentrating again on improving the technical aspect of their strokes for the new season.”
The Saturday was for 8, 9 and 10-year-old swimmers – known as the Lynda Lessing Development Meet – and the Sunday was for 11 to 14-year-olds.
“It was great to see some of the Development swimmers getting stuck in, like Stephen Blane, Archie Cameron, Katie Convery, Kyle Saunderson, Sam Young,” says Alan.
“Sam and Kyle both had a clean sweep of PBs and that was a great effort for them. Madison Gourlay and Lewis Bray also achieved the same feat, with Lewis claiming a bronze medal for his 50m fly.
“He’s been in great form in the Mini League and he took that into the meet, and I’m hoping he’ll be able to build on a really good season next year.”
Ruby McInnes took home three medals, a silver in the 25m free and bronze medals for the 25m fly and 50m free, while Kouper Sloss collected a pair of bronzes for his 50m and 100m free.
Among those going home with new PBs were: Dean Binnie, Ciara Convery, Cameron Gibson, Cameron Hamill, Anna and Daisy Hay, Kirsty Mathie, Lucy McLaughlin, Lacey Rodgers, Rose Smith and Molly Tulloch.
Boyd Naughton claimed our only gold medal of the weekend on the Sunday, winning the 50m fly.
Niamh Boyd grabbed a bronze medal for her 100m backstroke and also managed a clean sweep of PBs, as did Jaina Philby and Erin Finlayson.
Jamie Saunderson took silver for his 50m fly and a bronze for 50m backstroke, with Pol Padraig O’Connor finishing second in the 50m fly and Lauren Peckover taking home silver for her 50m back. Erin McGrath and Rebecca Shanks also picked up PBs.
Out of the water, Alan believes one the most important ‘take away’ from the meet for the swimmers, and their parents, will be how to cope with long, hot days inside a venue.
“It got really warm in the afternoons at the On-X centre, and that was reflected in the number of PBs dropping off after lunch,” he says.
“It’s a reminder to the swimmers of how they’ve got to manage themselves through the whole day and make sure they’re eating the right things at lunchtime, getting away from poolside when they have a chance, and most importantly that they’re properly hydrated all through the day.
The Gold and Youth squads were in action the following weekend at Bellshill, where twelve swimmers collected more than thirty medals.
More importantly, of the 136 swims, 86 of them resulted in the swimmer bettering their entry time.
“It’s been a long hard season for a lot of these swimmers, and they’ve shown improvement throughout, and it’s really tough for them to step up again and meet our expectations,” reflects Alan.
“You could go so far as to say it’s unfair to expect them to PB after what has been such a successful season when they’ve worked so hard to secure their gains.
“Add to that some of them took on a really tough programme of events with up to 10 events over the weekend, and that’s their credit that they’ve had the courage to take that on.
“It’s really important to put a lid on things at the end of the season and these meets provide structure and signal to the coaches and the swimmers that it’s time for a bit of rest and reflection and see how far you’ve come over the year.
“I’ve got to make special mention of Caelin Chan who achieved all four DRP times she needed, and she should be really proud of her performance over the weekend. She had some fantastic performances and her swim of the weekend was her second-place finish in the 400m free where she took 10 seconds off to achieve the qualifying time.”
The 11-year old also won a gold medal for her 100m breaststroke, silver for her 50m breaststroke and bronze for her 200m backstroke and was in the top 5 in all her six events.
Her younger sister, Evie, also managed a clean sweep of four PBs, taking nearly 6 seconds off her 100m breast and three and a half seconds off her 400m free.
Other swimmers improving in every race were Adam Currie, who won a silver medal in the 200m backstroke and bronze in the 200m IM, Molly Sutherland, Matthew Shanks and Daniel Convery.
Molly took 7 seconds off her 100m fly and 5 and a half off her 200m freestyle. Matthew achieved a 4th place by taking 7 seconds off his 200m backstroke and over 1 and a half seconds in the 100m free. 12-year-old Daniel was more than 3 seconds faster in his 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
Jude Friels, a bronze medallist in the 200m breaststroke, also impressed Alan over the weekend.
“Jude achieved a DRP time in his 100m free (7 seconds faster) and that’s something to be proud of because he’s come a long way this year. It shows that he’s capable of it and it’s something to work towards for next year.
His elder brother, Gavin, PB’d in three events with his best result with 5th place in the 100m breaststroke.
Lewis Gibson went home with the greatest number of medals around his neck, with wins in the 100m and 200m backstroke. He won silver medals in the 200m IM and the 50m backstroke and was third in the 100m breaststroke.
The Moore sisters also had a golden weekend in their last meet competing together before the emigrate to Ireland (although we hope to be seeing them in North Ayrshire caps when they return to compete in Scotland.)
Eilidh began her weekend with a win in the 400m freestyle and took bronze in the 200m free as well as PB’ing in the 200m backstroke, breaststroke, IM and the 50m free. Erin was a top four finisher in all six of her events, winning the 50m fly and 100m free, with a silver for 50m free and a bronze for 200m breaststroke.
North Ayrshire’s 12 and 13 -year-old girls dominated the under 13 100m fly with a 1-2-3-4 finish for Heather Stuart, Lily Murray, Isla Waller and Sophie Steele.
Heather also took gold in the 400m IM with a 5 second PB and silver in the 50m free. Lily won the 200m fly and finished third in the 400m IM, while Isla was delighted to go under 3 minutes in the 200m fly with a new PB.
Sophie notched up three other PBs in her 100m breast, 100m free and 50m free.
Fraser Cowie won medals with both his swims, taking silver in the 50m fly, with a PB, and bronze in the 200m IM.
Emma Binnie achieved a best 5th place in the 100m fly, which was one of three PBs, the others coming in the 100m breast and 100m free., while Ella Bruce took three seconds off her 100m breaststroke.
Robbie Gray was five seconds faster in his 200m backstroke and Niamh Hamilton collected five PBs, with her best being 7 seconds off her 200m breastroke, and she took between two and three and a half seconds off in the other four events.
Nathan Hughes had a great weekend of breaststroking, collected a silver medal for his 100m, and bronzes for 50m and 200m. He also took 18 seconds off his 400m freestyle, finishing in 10th place.
Kate Stuart was a bronze medallist for her 100m backstroke, with a 4 second PB, and also improved in her 200m IM and 50m breaststroke.
Charlize Wears had a very good weekend, going home with five PBs, in her 50m fly, breast and freestyle and in the 100m fly and breaststroke.
Ruby McInnes took two and a half seconds off her 50m fly and backstroke and Harry Hume narrowly missed out on a podium with 4th place in the 50m backstroke, with a PB, and 5th in the freestyle.
“The heat in the stands was very oppressive,” says Alan. “I’ve got to say a big thank you to Billy Binnie and Jo Sutherland for all they did over the weekend, organising the swimmers and getting the warm up going on Saturday while I was taking training at Harvies.
“Kenny Hamill and Rheanna Sloss were an invaluable assistance at Ren96, as well, so it’s been a real team effort and we couldn’t do it without them.”