North Ayrshire’s fastest seniors have been honing their race skills ahead of the season-ending national summer meets at the Scottish Open.
Jen Murray, Rory Dickson, Fraser Kelly and Andrew Sutherland were in action over the four days in Aberdeen.
As the name suggests, the races are no aged-grouped and the swimmers were competing for places in the evening finals on time alone in a field including internationalists who were warming up for the World Championships in Gwangju.
“It was great to race some guys from Ireland and other parts of Scotland, because I think its important to get experience of competing against different people and throw in some different challenges,” reflects Head Coach, Jess Wilkie, who was mentoring them at the meet.
Jen Murray had a character-building first day, qualifying for the 400m IM B final in her heat but then getting DQ’d through really bad luck, chocking on a mouthful of water during the 2nd fly length and being penalised for a stroke infringement as she fought to stay in the race.
She came back in the best way the following day in the 800m freestyle, matching her best time from SNAGS with a 9.19.92 and beating her seeding to finish in 6th place, in performance described as “fabulous” by Jess.
Jen went one better on the Saturday, qualifying for the A final with her second fastest 400m freestyle and finishing the race at night in 4:32.64.
As the only member of the team competing on all four days, she swam a “storming” 200m fly B final to take 9 seconds off her PB, touching the wall in 2:28.32.
Rory also fell foul of the judges with a frustrating DQ in his 200m fly which would have been a new PB had it stood. There was consolation on the first night as he improved on his heat time in the 50m breaststroke to finish in the top 10
He also took over a second off his 100m backstroke and was just a few tenths off his best in the 50m fly.
Andrew Sutherland collected a 2.7 second PB in his 200m breaststroke on his first day in action with a 2:52.2.
He was also close to his recently set PB in the 100m backstroke and was praised by Jess for attacking hard in his final event, the 200m freestyle, charging the first half of the race and finishing on 2:07.51.
Fraser Kelly’s racing began on the Saturday, and he made the B Final of the 200m IM where he improved on his heat to finish in 19th place with a 2:18.21.
He was on great form for the finale on Sunday, setting a half-second PB in the 200m freestyle and qualifying for the B final of the 400m IM where he swam it 8 seconds faster than the heat to finish in 4:52.73.
Reflecting on the four days in Aberdeen Jess told us: “The team raced well, and we managed to highlight some areas we feel we need to refine in the build-up to the Scottish Summer Meet in Edinburgh and then the British in Glasgow.
“We’ve been doing some underwater filming so we can look at areas where we can make some small tweaks and finesse those race skills.”