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It’s looking like the Renfrew Baths weekend will go down in the history books as the most successful yet for North Ayrshire Swimming.

RB Group towelOur team won more than 100 individual medals across the two days of competition at the Portal, turning more than 1 in 4 of our swims into a podium finish and registering more than 200 new PBs.

“It was a record meet in all sorts of ways,” says Junior Coach, Alan Dickson, “for the number of swimmers, the number of swims and probably the number of awards for the club in one weekend.

“We had 76 swimmers competing over the two days – compared to 59 last year – and that’s very promising.

“Altogether they took part in 388 individual events so it’s an enormous number of swims.”

“It was great to see 16 Development swimmers taking part, and they’re the future of the club, so a big well done to them.

“There was lots of learning, lots of personal bests and new targets set, and there were some great swims.

“For some it was their very first competition experience, and others had never done 100m events before.

“There was also lots of support and noise from all the families in the crowd.”

A third of the medal tally was won on the Saturday by the 10 and under swimmers racing in the Mini Meet, and a remarkable 72 were collected on Sunday by those aged 12 and over.

RB Ruby McInnes Emily McGuireRuby McInnes won an astonishing seven medals, including gold in the 50m freestyle and fly. She sliced a massive 25 seconds off her 100m fly to grab one of four bronze medals, the others coming in the 50m backstroke, breaststroke and 100 freestyle, before rounding off the day with silver in the 100m backstroke.

Another of our multi-medallists was 9-year-old Emily McGuire who made the podium with each of her five swims, and all of them were new PBs. Her new time of 1:39.17 in the 100m IM ruled her out of a medal and was one of the six ‘Swam Too Fast’ awards for our team. She took 14 seconds off her 100m backstroke to win gold after claiming silvers in the 100m freestyle and fly as well as a bronze in the breaststroke.

Cameron Gibson collected 5 medals winning the 50m fly and the 100m IM, where he set a 6 second PB. The 10-year-old’s breaststroke won him silver medals at both 50m and 100m and there was a bronze in the 50m free.

Twins, Dean and Emma Binnie, added to their medal collections with Dean setting a new best time in each of his 9 swims, earning a sliver for his 50m backstroke and bronze for 100m IM, and a 13 second improvement in his time.

RB Dean Binnie Emma BinnieEmma dominated the 10-year-old girl group, recording ‘Too Fast’ times for the 50m backstroke and 100m breaststroke and then taking gold medals for 50m breaststroke, 100m fly and 100m backstroke where she was over 8 seconds faster. There was also a 4 second PB in the 100m freestyle to go with her bronze medal.

“There were 16 swimmers who PB’d all their swims,” says Alan. “The ones who performed best are the ones who’ve been upping their game in training and that was the most common point I raised with swimmers during their debriefs.

“The ones who put the same effort into their training as they do their racing are the ones who’ve stepped up and done better than I expected.

“You’ve got to perform in training the way you want to perform in a competition and that’s what drives improvements.”

Brother and sister, Lewis and Eva Bray, had a stellar weekend in what’s likely to be their last time racing in North Ayrshire colours.

RB Kouper Lewis Cameron Dean 100m IM9-year-old Lewis was too fast in the 100m IM in a time of 1:36.1 and then won a pair of silver medals for 50m fly and 100m breaststroke before taking a bronze in the 50m breaststroke.

Eva, who’s 8, was a silver medallist in her 50m and 100m freestyle and set a 24 second PB in her 100m IM.

Kouper Sloss was celebrating a hat trick of gold medals for his 100m freestyle, fly and backstroke and was too fast in the 100m IM as he set six new PBs over the weekend.

Molly Tulloch was thrilled to win her first gold medal with a victory in the 100m IM which was nearly 3 seconds faster than her previous best. The 10-year-old also recorded a clean sweep of PBs and was in the top 5 every time she swam.

Rose Smith took 11 seconds off her 100m freestyle for a top ten finish and showed her all-round ability to claim a silver medal in the 100m IM among 9-year-olds.

Mirren Stewart registered a massive 19 second PB in her 100m freestyle and Hannah Smart was faster each time she raced, setting new PBs in her 50m backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Cerys MacKellar had one of the busiest programmes of the weekend but managed to achieve new PBs in all 9 of her events, with double-digit improvements in her 100m freestyle, IM, breaststroke and backstroke.

7-year-old Mila McGarvey made the top ten each time she swam and was delighted with her ribbons for fourth and fifth places in the 50m fly and freestyle. She also found a 12 second improvement in her breaststroke.

Evie Chan set a new PB in the 100m IM to dip into the ‘Too Fast’ standings and went home with a bronze medal for 100m fly with another 3 second PB. She was top six in all her swims.

Katie Convery took 13 seconds off her medley record as she set six new best times, with more than seven seconds off her 100m free and taking on the breaststroke and backstroke for the first time.

8-year-old Eilidh Craig was establishing her benchmarks for 100m IM and 50m fly where she finished sixth and fifth respectively while Meika Dale was having a first go at the 50m free setting a time of 48.34. Madison Gourlay peaked with an 8th place in the 50m backstroke and a 4 second PB, and also improved her times in 100m free and 50m breaststroke.

Joshua Bruce set PBs in each of the three 50m events he was competing in while Kimberley Cameron and Rachel Cameron were setting their first times in all their races. 9-year-old Rachel made the top ten with 9th place in the 100m IM.

Charlotte Adair had her first go at five events, getting her best result in the 100m IM in a time of 2:18.39. Elder sister Hannah, 10, won a ribbon for 6th place in the 100m fly with a 25 second PB and was also top ten in the 100m IM.

8-year-old Soren Anderson made the top ten with her debuts in all the 50m events and Mairead Anderson took 10 seconds off her 100m IM to finish seventh and then went one better in the 50m free to take home a ribbon for sixth place.

Samuel Young had his best result of the day in his first go at the 100m breaststroke, taking 10th place, and chopped 13 seconds off his 100m IM, while Lucy Oxenham found an improvement of nearly 10 seconds in her medley.

10-year-old Adam Saunderson won a silver medal for his 50m fly with a 9 second PB and took a huge 33 second chunk off his record for 100m IM.

Kyle Saunderson found nearly 28 seconds in the four lengths of his 100m backstroke and more than 18 seconds of improvement in his 100m IM. His best result was 4th in the 50m free.

Lucy McLaughlin was 15 seconds faster than her previous fastest time in the 100m breaststroke and set 5 more PBs including 12 seconds off her 100m backstroke and 100m free. She was in the top ten for the 50m backstroke, 100m IM and 50m free.

RB Sophie SteeleWhen the team returned to the Portal on Sunday for the Junior Meet the swimmer with the biggest smile was Sophie Steele who pulled off a clean sweep of gold medals with six wins.

The 12-year-old set a new 4 second PB on her way to victory in the 200m IM as well as her triumphs in the 50 backstroke and fly and the 100m free, fly and backstroke.

Harry Hume was never beaten either. The 16-year-old sprinted his way to gold in the 50m backstroke, fly and free as well as the 100m freestyle and leading off a winning 200m medley relay team for his fifth medal.

Nathan Hughes went home with seven pieces of silverware, taking gold medals in the 50m and 100m breaststroke as well as the 100m fly. He was runner-up four times in the 200m IM, 100m freestyle, 100m fly and 50m free and also collected four new PBs.

Philip Hinchcliffe was very close to making it a clean sweep of golds, taking almost 25 seconds off his 200m IM and setting new PBs on his way to victory in 100m freestyle and backstroke. His silver medal came from the 100m breaststroke.

RB Harry NathanHolly Hopkins won three silver medals for her 50m freestyle, backstroke and 100m breaststroke, and was in bronze medal position in the 100m freestyle.

Kerr Hill was a contender for the biggest PB of the weekend with a giant 45 second improvement in his 200m IM for a sixth-place finish and was in the top ten for his 100m breaststroke and backstroke.

Ella Bruce made five trips to the podium, with her final race of the day netting her a silver in the 100m backstroke. The other four were bronze medals for 50m backstroke, 100m free, 200m IM and 50m free.

Niamh Hamilton won a hat trick of gold medals wining the 100m fly, 200m IM and 50m fly for 11-year-olds, all with new PBs. She had a full set of podium prizes a silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze at 50m.

Rachel McGuire finished in the top two in every race with four gold medals and her only silver medal finish coming in the 50m free. The 13-year-old won the 50m and 100m breaststroke as well as the 50m fly and took the first leg for the winning team in the 200m freestyle relay.

In the same age group Lily Murray collected three silver medals in the 100m fly, backstroke and 200m IM as well as bronze for the 100m freestyle, with a PB every time.

Jamie Saunderson won the 100m freestyle and took silver in the 200m IM with a 27 second PB as well as in the 100m breaststroke and 50m free. There was bronze for him in the 100m backstroke and an 18 second improvement on his way to 4th place in the 100m fly.

Matthew Shanks won one of each colour with gold in the 50m backstroke, silver in the 50m fly and bronze in the 100m free. His biggest PB also came with his 4th place in the 100m fly where he was over 7 and a half seconds faster.

Heather Stuart came close to winning gold in each of her four races, only being denied in the 50m backstroke. The 13-year-old came out top in 100m fly, 200m IM and 50m free.

Isla Waller went home with a medal from every swim, winning gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and taking silver in the 50m backstroke, 200m IM and 50m freestyle.

Kate Stuart saved the best till last with a win in the 100m backstroke having already collected two silver medals for 50m backstroke and freestyle and bronzes for the 100m freestyle and 200m IM where she set a 5 and a half second PB.

Molly Sutherland set a 7 and a half second PB on her way to 4th place in the 200m IM and also just missed out on medals for the 100m fly and 100m breaststroke but, more importantly, she posted improvements in six of her swims.

11-year-old Marshall Whitmore set new best times in all five of his events with the biggest drop being more than 2 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, while Bailey Thomson found over three seconds in his 50m backstroke.

In the same age group Archie Cameron posted a 21 second improvement in his 1000m breaststroke and took over 11 off his 100m freestyle.

Ciara Convery was thrilled to win her first swimming medal for the third fastest time in the 50m breaststroke. She also recorded some huge drops with 37 seconds off her 200m IM, 22 seconds off her 100m fly and 11 seconds off both the 100m freestyle and backstroke.

Erin Finlayson made the top ten in the 100m backstroke, finishing in 7th place, and set three new PBs while Peirce Gilmour was nearly 10 seconds faster than the last time he raced 50m backstroke, finishing in 8th position.

Cameron Hamill dropped his biggest PB in his 100m backstroke where he claimed a 4th place ribbon and was also top 6 in the 50m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle.

RB Robbie Gray Stewart Reid Cameron McDonaldRobbie Gray won a silver medal for 100m backstroke, with a PB to boot, but his biggest drop was in the 100m fly where he found over 16 seconds.

Stewart Reid also claimed silver in his 50m fly and almost took a full minute off his 200m IM, getting his PB down to 3:09.08 for a 4th place finish and ending up in the same position in the results for the 100m backstroke where there was a 10 second PB.

Rhys Hanlonbole was a double bronze-medallist in the 50m backstroke and fly. The 14-year-old posted new PBs in all his four swims while Neve Hands hovered around the top ten all day, getting her best PB in the 50m backstroke with more than 2 and a half seconds off her previous best.

Cameron McDonald won two silvers in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and a bronze for his 100m backstroke, all with new PBs.

Scott Kean claimed an 11 second improvement in his 200m IM on his way to 4th place. There were two other PBs to come in 50m backstroke and breaststroke and he was never out of the top 8 all day. Zoe Matchett also set her biggest PB in the 200m IM, taking off 12 seconds on her way to 5th place and was one better in the 100m breaststroke after a swim that was 6 seconds faster than her best.

Fraser Mathie improved his position each time he swam, getting a best result of 4th in the 100m backstroke and taking 6 seconds off his 100m breaststroke. Younger sister Kirsty set 2 second PBs in her 100m freestyle and 50m fly.

11-year-old Cameron McDaid was swimming his four races for the first time with a best of 6th place in the 50m fly.

Rachel McDonald took 4th place in her 50m free with a new PB, but her biggest improvement was over 100m where she was close to 6 seconds faster. She also found nearly 3 seconds in her 100m breaststroke.

Pol O’Connor posted a 4 second drop in his 100m free on his way to 6th place and was also faster in the 50m backstroke and 50m free, which were all top 6 results. Aaynaan Patankar made the top ten with a 7th place at her first shot at the 200m IM in competition.

Carly Porteous set a string of strong PBs in her six races, taking almost half a minute off her 100m freestyle and around 25 seconds quicker in her 50m breaststroke, fly and 100m backstroke. Her smallest improvement was a mere 17 seconds in the 50m free.

Lacey Rodgers took 5 seconds off her 50m breaststroke for 8th place and claimed 6th spot in her fly. Rebecca Shanks found 8 seconds in her 100m breaststroke as she recorded 6 top 10 finishes. A 3 second PB in 50m backstroke which gave her a 4th place.

Adam Smart made the top 10 with his 50m free which was also a 3 second PB and Alistair Street also made 10th with his 50m breaststroke.

Alan has one final observation on the weekend, and it’s about what the swimmers were eating.

“It’s important to make sure you’re eating for competing,” he says. “I saw a number of swimmers eating chocolate bars and washing it down with sports drinks and these things really aren’t needed.

“They need to be hydrated, of course, but water is all you need. These sports drinks are far too concentrated and loaded with sugar which doesn’t help the swimmers.

“Two or three Jelly Babies a quarter of an hour before a swim is all you need to give you the burst of energy to get through a race.

“There were 16 swimmers who PB’d all their swims.   The ones who performed best are the ones who’ve been upping their game in training and that was the most common point I raised with swimmers during their debriefs.

“The ones who put the same effort into their training as they do their racing are the ones who’ve stepped up and done better than I expected.

“You’ve got to perform in training the way you want to perform in a competition and that’s what drives improvements.”