Author Archives: clarebeck

IASC take bronze in the Clyde Coast mini league final

Inverclyde battled to a superb bronze medal in a fiercely contested mini league final, equalling their result from the previous year.

Victory in each of the three qualifying rounds earned Inverclyde the second qualifying spot, but the level of competition in the final was far, far tougher and nothing was guaranteed for any team.

The atmosphere at the pool was incredible before the racing even started. Mini league events are always noisy and exciting, but the final takes the excitement – and the tension – to a whole new level. Drums, bells, horns and cheers helped create a carnival atmosphere. There was no need to motivate the swimmers – the whole team was ready to give it everything.

The six medley relay events were up first, getting the competition off to an exciting start. Inverclyde had dominated in the relays in the qualifying rounds, but both Ren 96 and City of Glasgow had incredibly strong teams. A great start saw the 9-year old girls team take second place with the boys following up with a third place. The 10-year old boys team took another second place and the 11-year old boys team came third in their race. The 10 and 11-year old girls teams were both desperately unlucky to be beaten to fourth place by a fraction of a second in some incredibly close racing.

Even after six events, it was clear that Ren 96 and City of Glasgow were performing strongly and would be battling it out for the win. It was also starting to look like Inverclyde and North Ayrshire would be fighting for the bronze medal spot. A scores update after the first round of individual events put Inverclyde in third place with a slim lead over North Ayrshire. More than ever before, every point would count.  

Throughout the individual swims, Inverclyde managed to secure some impressive victories. 9-year old Scott Brodie started the winning streak with victory in the 25m butterfly, and later added a win in the 25m freestyle. In the 10-year old category, Archie McArthur also did the double, winning the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly. Luke Garrity took first and second in the 11-year old 100m breaststroke and freestyle, followed by victory for Abi McAnerney in the 9-year old girls backstroke. Ryan Cummings completed the wins by taking full points in the 10-year old 50m breaststroke.

Points continued to add up in the individual events and there were a number of good second and third place finishes. Finlay Morrice secured two second places in the 8-year old 25m freestyle and breaststroke, with Blake Herdman taking another second spot in the 25m butterfly in the same age group. 10-year old Mirren McConnell also made it a double with second place finishes in the 50m freestyle and butterfly. 9-year olds Sophie Campbell and Josh Docherty also took second in the 25m butterfly and backstroke. Third place finishes for the team came from Isabella McClafferty in the 9-year old 25m freestyle and Peter Maloney in the 11-year old 100m butterfly.

Other individual swimmers put in strong performances to boost the points total. Nina Spirit-Hawthorne, Ella Morrison, Taguen Maloney, Eilidh Melrose, Lois Herdman, Eve Morrison, Olivia McNally and Charlotte Jones all swam well for valuable additional points.

By the end of the individual swims, Inverclyde had extended their lead over North Ayrshire, but with eight more relay events remaining, it was all still to play for. Inverclyde kept the momentum going and were able to bring in some fresher swimmers for an extra burst of pace. With the rest of the team and the support crew screaming them on from poolside and roars of encouragement from the spectators, Logan O’Donoghue, Alice McClafferty, Skye McLellan, Cameron Beck and Lukas Kong took full advantage of their fresh legs and helped extend the lead and power the team home to a brilliant third place.

Taking it to the very last race of the day, Ren 96 won out over City of Glasgow by just 3 points. The final scores were: Ren 96 238 points; City of Glasgow 235 points; Inverclyde 187 points; North Ayrshire 165 points; Kintyre 97 points; Scotia 88 points.

Coach Kyara Finlay oversees the mini league team and was ecstatic with the result. Amidst the celebrations, Kyara had lots of people to thank:

“Thanks to our amazing group of kids we’ve had another great year at mini league. The dedication and determination that each and every swimmer has put in is outstanding, and it amazes the coaches more and more each year. I’m so proud of them all.

“I’d like to say a huge thanks to our coaching team of Andrew Hemphill, Kelsey Finlay, Laura Mearns and Andrew Dyer. Thanks also to Claire McArthur and Clare Beck who have managed the team in every round. We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

“A special thanks to all of our volunteers who help in timekeeping, judging and all the many roles that are required for these events to run smoothly. Thanks also to our sponsors Beeks Financial Cloud for our amazing kit. We definitely had the best kit out of ALL the teams!

“Finally, I’d like to thank all of the mini league parents in the club for their dedication to the kids’ training and being so accommodating with having to travel to Drumchapel for pratice. We honestly could not have done any of this without you! Roll on mini league 2020!”

Roll on 2020 indeed!



IASC secure place in mini league final

Round three of mini league saw Inverclyde ASC make it three victories out of three and secure their place in the final on 8th June. There were strong individual swims across the afternoon, but this was a textbook team victory: hard fought and well won, with the best support crew in the business.

Inverclyde were the ‘home’ team, but had to host the event in Dunoon due to the broken floor at the Waterfront. Most of the team made the trip across the water several hours in advance to ensure competing teams had space on the ferries. Set up for the day was stressful and chaotic, but the large army of parent volunteers – along with the helpers from the visiting clubs of North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire – worked together with the staff team to get everyone in place on time.

Inverclyde were confident going into the competition, but victory was never guaranteed. Both North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire had strong teams, and the club knew it would come down to a battle for every point in the close races.

A good start in the medley relays saw Inverclyde take 25 points out of the first 30 available. The boys had a perfect start, and the girls 9-and-under team were very impressive in their win. A special mention must go to 8-year old Finlay Morrice, who swam up an age group in the 9-year old boys event in the final freestyle leg. Stroke for stroke down the final 25m, Finlay fought for every single millimetre against older competition to claim a stunning victory by the narrowest of margins. The gauntlet was thrown down and the team – and the supporting audience – responded with roars of encouragement.

In the individual events, the 10 and 11 year old boys were outstanding once again scoring maximum points. Luke Garrity and Peter Maloney won all four races for the 11-year olds, while Archie McArthur and Ryan Cummings took full marks for the 10-year olds. Teammates Lukas Kong (11) and Cameron Beck (10) took second place ahead of the competition in all of their reserve swims and aced the relays, proving once again how incredibly impressive and strong our boys are. It would be easy to take these boys for granted, but they fight for every point and are excellent role models for the team.

For the girls, however, things didn’t go according to plan. It seemed like fate was against us when one of our 11-year old girls took ill in the pool mid-race. Olivia McNally showed incredible team spirit to finish her 100m breaststroke race after losing her goggles and becoming sick during the race. Olivia had to withdraw immediately, but teammates Charlotte Jones and Amy Mearns and younger swimmer Lois Herdman valiantly stepped up to fill the gap. Olivia was devastated to withdraw, but will hopefully return fit and healthy for the final.

For the 10-year old girls, Mirren McConnell took home full points in the 50m freestyle and butterfly with Eve Morrison and Lois Herdman picking up valuable extra points for the team in the breaststroke and backstroke. Alice McClafferty, Skye McLellan and Niamh Ward also gave excellent performances in the relays and reserve swims.

In the 9-year old age group it was a real battle across boys and girls, with Inverclyde coming out on top. The boys – Scott Brodie and Josh Docherty – won 18 points out of 20, with Oliver Jones and Logan O’Donoghue putting in impressive performances for the club in the reserve lane. The 9-year old girls – Sophie Campbell, Eilidh Melrose and Isabella McClafferty – matched the boys score. Eilidh’s breaststroke race was another photo finish, where she fought with everything she had to claim the win. Abi McAnerney made a very impressive mini league debut and Beth Nichol and Ellie Atkinson also put in strong performances in the reserve lane to outswim the competition in many events.

Comprising of a mix of 7 and 8 year olds, the youngest age group showed exciting promise for the future. Finlay Morrice and Blake Herdman took 18 points out of 20 for the boys team, while Brodie McAthur, Charlie Lyne and Oliver Gibson also put in excellent performances throughout the afternoon. The girls team were also hampered with illness, with Taguen Maloney battling toothache all afternoon. They managed to keep their spirits up, with Taguen and team-mates Ella Morrison, Mirrin Fay, Nina Hawthorne-Smith and Olivia Lyne all performing well to make a valuable points contribution towards the team.

The score check before the final relays showed how tight the competition was, with only 22 points separating Inverclyde from North Ayrshire. With 40 points available, Inverclyde focused their efforts, and with a wall of sound in support were roared home to a win a vital 33 points. Every single swimmer gave it everything. Final score: Inverclyde 186, North Ayrshire 158, West Dunbartonshire 116.

Initially, team manager Clare Beck was just grateful the event was successful. She said: “We have a long-standing commitment to the mini league competition to host a match. Because of the ongoing issues with the broken pool floor we weren’t able to do that at the Waterfront. Thankfully the great team at Dunoon pool were happy to help us.

Hosting a competition in a pool you’re unfamiliar with is really difficult. We had to set everything up from scratch within 30 minutes: we didn’t even know where power sockets were! But the staff at pool were absolutely amazing. They helped us far more than they would have been expected to. They really made us feel at home and worked with us to overcome issues. Their customer service was truly exceptional and we are so thankful for their support.

The teams we were competing against were also amazing. The coaches and parent volunteers all pitched in to help with the set-up. It really was a group effort, and we’re really grateful to them as well for their patience and understanding. We know we’ve made the final, and we hope they have too. We also want to thank the Co-Op in Shore Street in Gourock who made a very generous donation of food and drink to us to give to the visiting swimmers: it was massively appreciated.”

Reflecting on the team’s performance, the coaches said: “We were really challenged in this round, and had to fight for points like never before, but it’s the best thing that could have happened. Seeing that will to win was inspiring. We’ve got a good track record in the final – we came third last year and second the year before – but that means nothing on the day. We will need to fight for every single point. Knowing that desire is there already creates a ripple effect in the team and spurs everyone on. The next couple of weeks will be spent working on the details that we can improve. Hopefully our team will be back to full strength and we can challenge for a medal in the final.” Don’t bet against us…

The future is bright at West District Future Stars

14 swimmers took to the water at the West District Future Stars competition in Tollcross and set out to prove that the future for the club is bright. 13 medals were won and 26 new PBs set over the two-day event.

Races are contested across three age groups: 11-14 year-olds, 15-16 year-olds and 17’s and over. For many swimmers at the younger end of the age groups, the event is a chance to gain race experience against high quality competition and hopefully set new PBs and improved seedings.

Indeed, the coaches were encouraged by the quality of the swimming on display from the team, which was reflected in the good number of PBs. But they stressed that it’s important to remember that not setting a new PB does not make it a bad result. There’s always something to learn and something to work on – PB or not, and there are always positives to take away too.

Sam Sharkey was in impressive form in the 17+ category, coming away with two golds and two silvers. He won gold for the 100m and 200m backstroke – setting a new PB in his 100m – and took silver for the 50m butterfly and freestyle with another new PB in the butterfly.

Molly Cannon was equally impressive in the 15-16 years category to win both of her events on the Sunday. She set a new PB to win the 400m IM in the morning and improved on her second place seeding in the 50m backstroke.

Fellow 15-year old Ashleigh Blyth also had a great competition, winning silver in the 50m backstroke and bronze in the 50m freestyle by setting new PBs and improving on her seedings in both events. Ashleigh also came 8th in the 200m backstroke, ahead of her 9th place seeding, and matched her 17th place seeding in the 100m freestyle.

One of the busiest swimmers of the weekend was Jay Keith, who was rewards with two medals and five new PBs for his seven events in the 11-14 category. Jay won silver in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m butterfly. Like Ashleigh, Jay set PBs and improved on his seedings in both events. Equally impressive were the PB’s he set in the 50m breaststroke and butterfly to finish 5th and 6th place respectively: a great improvement from his 13th and 10th place seedings. Jay also matched or improved on his seedings in the 50m backstroke, 200m butterfly and 400m freestyle, showing the diversity of his talent in both strokes and distances.

Another busy swimmer was Kian McNelis who swam in six events in the 15-16 category. Kian also came away with a silver and a bronze medal and set another two PBs in the process: silver for the 50m freestyle and bronze for the 100m backstroke. Kian also secured top 10 finishes in the 100m butterfly, the 200m IM and the 800m freestyle. and an 11th place in the 50m butterfly. Once again, the coaches were delighted to see strong results across such a wide range of events.

The final medallist of the event was Adam Brooks, who scooped a bronze medal for the 400m freestyle with a new PB in the 15-16 category. He also came fourth in the 50m backstroke and set new PBs in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Cammy Kerr took sixth place in the 1500m freestyle with a new PB for the 15-16 category and finished 14th in the 800m freestyle. Oliver Patton set new PBs in the 100m and 200m backstroke, improving on his seedings in both events and was just outside his best time in the 400m freestyle. All three boys should be pleased with their performances and continued improvement.

In the 17 and over old category, Lauren Macleay wasn’t able to improve on her times but still managed to finish in a respectable fifth and seventh place in the 100m freestyle and 200m IM. Brother Darren was also just outside his fastest times, but still put in solid performances in the 50m breaststroke, backstroke and 100m butterfly.

Two females came away with 100% PBs from the competition: Abbie Logan and Anna McClafferty. 15-year old Abbie was at the younger end of her events and did well to finish 13th, ahead of her 19th place seeding in the 100m breaststroke and beat her 31st place seeding in the 100m freestyle to take 25th. 14-year old Anna finished 20th from a 33rd place seeding in the 50m freestyle and moved from a 56th place seeding to finish 39th inthe 100m backstroke. The faster times and improved rankings will motivate both girls for their remaining races before the summer break.

13 year old April Craynor also improved her times and outperformed her rankings in three of her four events. She set new PBs in the 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke, moving up on her seedings each time to finish 38th, 40th and 29th. April should be filled with confidence from her performance for the rest of the season.

At just 11 years old, Luke Garrity was the youngest swimmer to represent the club. Swimming against much older competition, Luke set a new PB to finish 43rd in the 100m backstroke ahead of his 54th place ranking. He was unlucky to finish just outside his best time in the 200m breaststroke, but still managed 24th fastest in the 11-14 years age group.

Well done to everyone for their effort over the competition.


Triumph over adversity at the North Ayrshire Junior Meet

It was a busy weekend for some of the youngsters as 13 swimmers represented the club at the North Ayrshire Junior Meet. It was an extremely challenging competition with unprecedented levels of disqualifications, but the talented group still achieved 30 medals – 12 golds, 9 silver and 9 bronze – and 26 new PBs from 49 swims.

It was another dominant display from Archie McArthur, winning seven golds across the weekend. His medals came in the 9-year old 50m butterfly, backstroke and freestyle, 100m IM, and the 200m backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke. The coaches were delighted with his performance, especially the new PBs he set in the 50m freestyle and the 200m backstroke.

Lewis Gray also came away from the competition with seven medals: four gold, two silver and one bronze in the 13-year old age group. He won gold for the 100m butterfly, freestyle and breaststroke and the 400m freestyle; silver in the 200m and 400m IM and bronze in the 200m freestyle. Lewis also swam four impressive new PB times.

Luke Garrity medalled and PBed in each of his four events in the 11-year old category. He won gold for the 200m breaststroke, silver for the 400m IM and bronze for the 200m backstroke and IM. April Craynor also set new PBs and won medals in her three events in the 13-year old age group. She won silver for the 100m backstroke and the 200m freestyle and bronze for the 100m breastroke.

There were more PBs and medals for Betty Fischer Keogh and Scott Brodie. Betty won silver in the 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle in the 11-year old age group and Scott won silver for the 50m freestyle and 200m backstroke in the 9-year old competition. Both set new PBs each time.

Cameron Beck set a PB to claim bronze in the 200IM and also finished 4th in the 50m backstroke and 200m freestyle in the 10-year old age group. Sister Holly also won a bronze in the 200m backstroke and set new PBs in the 200m and 400m freestyle.

More bronze medals came from Mirren McConnell, Logan O’Donoghue and Abigail McAnerney. Mirren set two new PBs to win bronze in the 50m backstroke and finish 6th in the 200m freestyle in the 10-year olds age group. In the 9-year old category, Logan came 3rd in the 200m freestyle and set a new PB to come 8th in the 50m backstroke. Fellow 9-year old Abigail also set a PB to win bronze in the 100m IM.

Yet more PBs came from Katherine Simpson and Ellis Quigley. Katherine set a superb new PB in the 100m freestyle to finish 7th in the 13-year olds category. She also achieved 4th in the 100m butterfly and 6th in the 200m backstroke. Ellis set excellent new PBs in the 50m freestyle and breaststroke, achieving 10th and 12th place in the 10-year old age group.

Coach Sarah Reford had these words of advice: “Disqualifications are part of swimming, and everyone suffers from time to time, but it was a hard lesson to learn for some of our younger, less experienced swimmers. That’s why we place so much importance on practising these technical aspects in training. Everyone who suffered a disqualification will learn from it and come back stronger next time.

“On a positive note, it was great to see swimmers tackle new events and distances: the 200m backstroke was our busiest event! Younger swimmers can be daunted by distance events, but they are a fantastic way to develop stamina and the earlier they start, the more used to pacing races they will become.”


Inverclyde record an impressive victory at mini league round 2

Round two of the Clyde Coast Mini League saw IASC make it two wins out of two with a stunning victory in Ayr.

Inverclyde were competing against Kilmarnock and South Ayrshire. Confidence was high after victory in the first round, but a late change of date meant many of the team were unavailable to compete. Roadworks on the A78 added further travel complications and in the end, the club was relieved to be able to field a full team.

On the day, the additional pressure brought out the best in the swimmers with the team scoring an incredible 212 points out of the 230 available. Once again, the boys were dominant across all age groups, but this time, the girls showed great improvement to boost the previous points total.

First up were the medley relays, with Inverclyde taking 28 out of the 30 points on offer through some impressive and dominant swimming. Many swimmers were swimming up an age category to complete the 4-person teams, and coped admirably with the responsibility.

In the individual events, the boys dropped just two points across the entire competition. Even the swimmers competing in the Inverclyde reserve lane were impressive. Although swimmers in the reserve lane cannot earn points, they get valuable racing experience and compete every bit as fiercely as their teammates.

In the 8 and under category, Blake Herdman, Brodie McArthur and Finlay Morrice each won their individual events: Blake in the 25m freestyle and butterfly; Brodie in the 25m backstroke and Finlay in the 25m breaststroke.

For the 9-year olds, Scott Brodie won the 25m butterfly and freestyle. Josh Docherty won the 25m backstroke and took second place in the breaststroke. In the 10-year old boys category it was another 100% win rate for the team. Archie McArthur won the 50m backstroke and butterfly and Ryan Cummings won the 50m freestyle and breaststroke.

In the 11-year old boys category, Peter Maloney and Luke Garrity improved on their points score in the first round to make it full marks in their four events. Peter won the 100m butterfly and backstroke events and Luke won the 100m freestyle and breaststroke.

The reserve swims across all the age groups were equally impressive. Oliver Gibson, Oliver Jones, Cameron Beck and Lukas Kong all did well, beating all other teams on several occasions to record multiple Inverclyde first and second place finishes.

In the girls team, there was lots of cause for optimism, with some strong swimming across the age groups. In the 8 and under category, the girls matched the boys by winning all the individual events. Nina Spirit Hawthorne won the 25m freestyle and breaststroke while Taguen Maloney won the 25m butterfly and backstroke.

The 9-year old girls bettered their male counterparts by recording 100% victories. Sophie Campbell won in the 25m butterfly and backstroke, Eilidh Melrose in the 25m breaststroke and Isabella McClafferty in the 25m freestyle.

The 10-year old girls also won all their races: Lois Herdman in the 50m backstroke, Mirren McConnell in the 50m freestyle and butterfly and Alice McClafferty in the 50m breaststroke. Competition was toughest for the 11-year old girls, but Olivia McNally and Charlotte Jones should be positive about the improved times they achieved against strong swimmers.

The reserve girls performed well throughout the afternoon, scoring many more second place finishes. Mirrin Fay, Ellie Atkinson, Beth Nichol, Skye McLellan and Amy Mearns were among those competing, with a number of new PBs being set.

By the end of the individual swims, the score check showed Inverclyde had a 50 point lead and could not be caught, but there was no chance of the young team taking it easy in the freestyle relays. Once again, they claimed victory in all but one of the races, with more impressive times being recorded.

Race of the day was undoubtedly the final boys squadron relay. Despite strong swims in the first few legs, South Ayrshire had a good lead over the Inverclyde team. Each swimmer worked tirelessly to close the gap and by the final 25m there was nothing between the teams. With the whole of the Inverclyde team screaming him home, Luke Garrity managed to inch ahead and claim victory by less than a second.

Mini league coach Andrew Hemphill reflected on the performance with these words: “In round one we saw some great individual performances, but in this round we really showed our strength as a team. Holidays meant that some of the team were unavailable so we had to make changes. Some of the swimmers were asked to compete outside their comfort zone, but they managed it with incredible maturity. Every swimmer focussed on the task in hand and swam incredibly well across all the events. Such a strong team performance reminds us that swimming is not always an individual sport, and such a great team spirit from swimmers, officials, supporters and parents will be a massive advantage as we head into our home round, and hopefully the final!”

The third round will be hosted by Inverclyde ASC in Dunoon (due to the broken floor at the Waterfront) on Sunday 19th May. All are hoping the winning streak continues and a place in the final is secured.

British Championships 2019 Preview

It’s almost time for the #BSC19 British Swimming Championships – the biggest national event in swimming – and three Inverclyde swimmers will be there competing alongside the likes of Adam Peaty.

The event – held in Glasgow’s Tollcross – runs from Tuesday 16th – Sunday 21st April. We are incredibly proud to have swimmers representing the club in this prestigious competition. Both Aimee Watson and Thomas Cannon will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and Matthew Garrity in the100m breaststroke.

Good luck to our talented trio – we will keep you updated on their progress, but here’s a rundown of their events.

Tuesday 16th April
Event 101: Aimee in the 50m breaststroke
Event 106: Thomas and Matthew in the 100m breaststroke

Wednesday 17th April
Event 201: Thomas in the 50m breaststroke
Event 206: Aimee in the 200m breaststroke

Friday 19th April
Event 404: Thomas in the 200m breaststroke

Sunday 21st April
Event 602: Aimee in the 200m breaststroke


Super SNAGS for IASC

15 swimmers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club recently competed in the Scottish National Age Group (SNAGS) championships – the biggest and most important competition in the junior swimming calendar.

Hopes were high for a successful meet, but few would have dared dream of the success that was to unfold across the five days of competition. Overall, the team finished 18th out of 102 teams – the first time in the club’s history that a top 20 placing has been achieved. There were six Scottish champions, 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 1 bronze, 12 additional finals qualifications and multiple PBs and improved national rankings.

One of the two busiest swimmers, Matthew Garrity swam in eight individual events in the 15 year old age group and had the competition of his life. Matthew won gold and was crowned Scottish champion in the 100m and 200m breaststroke with two new PB times. He won silver and was crowned Scottish champion (as the fastest Scot competing) in the 200m and 400m IM with another two great PBs. On top of this, he won silver in the 800m freestyle, and bronze in the 50m breaststroke (again with PBs) and came 4th in the 400m freestyle. Matthew qualified in 5th place for the 50m freestyle but withdrew to focus on his 100m breaststroke event the same evening.

Fellow 15 year old Aimee Watson was also competing every day in eight individual events and returned another superb set of results. Aimee won gold and was crowned Scottish champion in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and won silver in the 200m breaststroke and 200m IM. In addition to the medals, Aimee qualified for the final of the 50m butterfly, where she finished 7th and came 13th, 16th and 22nd in the 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle respectively.

Thomas Cannon showed his versatility by qualifying for seven individual events where he either matched or improved his ranking and set five new PBs. Swimming in the 17-18 year old age group, Thomas also made the finals of five events. His best results came in the breaststroke, where he finished 5th in the 200m, 6th in the 50m and 7th in the 100m events. He also achieved a 7th place finish in the 400m IM. In the 100m backstroke, Thomas qualified for the final in 10th place, but withdrew to focus in his 200m breaststroke the same night. An 11th place in the 50m backstroke and 13th in the 200m IM completed a very successful meet for Thomas.

Sister Molly was also busy, swimming in three individual events: the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke. It was another great result for the Cannon family, with Molly making all three finals in the 15 year old age group category. She swam new best times to finish 8th in both the 50m and 100m events, way ahead of her 16th and 21st place seedings. In the 200m event, Molly swam to a 6th place finish, just outside her PB but ahead of her 9th place seeding.

Jay Keith was competing in four events in the 14 year old age group and came away with a great set of new PBs and improved national rankings. He narrowly missed out on a spot in the finals for the 100m breaststroke when he finished 11th. A 14th place in the 200m butterfly, 17th in the 100m butterfly and 22nd in the 50m butterfly showed just how much he has improved in this stroke.

Aaron Gray was swimming in two individual events for the first time: the 16 year old 100m and 200m butterfly. Aaron came to the event after a great run of results, and his confidence showed. In the 200m event he finished as first reserve and was unlucky not to make the final. The 100m event came later, where he swam a superb new PB to finish 13th. Kian McNelis qualified individually for the 200m and 400m freestyle in the 16 year old category and put in strong performances in both events to secure top 20 finishes.

Oliver Patton and Lewis Gray were also competing in their first individual SNAGS events, both in the 13 year old age group. Oliver swam in the 100m and 200m backstroke and Lewis in the 50m breaststroke. Both boys put in a solid performance and gained invaluable experience for future national events.

In the relay events, the 14-16 boys team took on three relay events, setting new PB’s and finishing ahead of their seeding each time. The team of Matthew, Aaron, Kian, Adam Brooks and Cammi Kerr came 8th in the 4x100m medley and 12th in both the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle.

The 14-16 girls team also performed well to score two out of three PBs and exceed their seedings. Ashleigh Blyth and Anna McClafferty made up the team with Aimee and Molly, exceeding expectations against much older and more experienced competition.

The 11-13 year old boys were determined to do their bit for the club, and swam new PBs to finish 11th in the 4x100m medley relay and 16th in the 4x100m freestyle event. Well done to Oliver, Lewis, Luke Garrity and Alistair Currie.

The club also had a mixed team competing in the 14-16 age group, which managed to grab a superb 6th place finish in the 4x100m medley with a new PB. Well done to Molly, Matthew, Aaron and Aimee and all the relay teams for some great teamwork.

Head coach Shirley Reford has just about settled down after all the celebrations and had this to say: “The preparation in the lead up to SNAGS was intense and the workload required from the swimmers was very tough. The performances overall were outstanding in both team and individual events. Finishing 18th out of 102 clubs was a magnificent achievement, considering we are a relatively small club. I’m extremely proud of how we performed at the top level.”

Indeed, Shirley’s words echo the feeling throughout the club. Everyone is immensely proud of the medals and the finals, but the PBs and improvement in seedings across a wide range of strokes and distances is causing just as much pride. They show what an exciting time it is for the club and how much the whole team is developing and improving. Team spirit is at an all-time high and the swimmers due to take part in upcoming competitions are desperate to play their part in keeping that going. I wouldn’t bet against them.

SNAGS Day 5 Round Up

One minute it feels like a marathon – the next minute you’re almost at the end. Sport is funny like that. Just as well we won a few more medals today to keep the momentum up. Here’s what happened on the final day of #SNAGS2019.

The final morning at #SNAGS2019 was one of our busiest. First up were Matthew Garrity and Thomas Cannon in the 200m IM. Matthew qualified comfortably for the final in 2nd place, just outside his PB. Thomas went next with a great swim to finish 13th ahead of his 15th place seeding. Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough to secure a place in the finals.

Next we were back to our breaststroke ladies, Aimee Watson and Molly Cannon in the 100m event. Both swam well, with Aimee securing the fastest qualification for the evening final. Molly swam a PB and finished in 11th place as first reserve for the final. Yet again, it was a wait to see if she would get to swim it, and she got her chance! More on that later…

Brother Thomas was up next in the 50m backstroke heats. Just like Molly, Thomas swam a PB to finish as 1st reserve, but unfortunately he didn’t get to swim again. Despite this disappointment, Thomas has had an excellent competition and should be very proud of what’s he’s achieved.

Next, Aimee was back in the pool again for the 50m butterfly, doing well to qualify for the final in 7th place. Matthew was back in the action as well, swimming the 800m freestyle. The tough distance event can really take it out of swimmers, but as 2nd seed, Matthew was in with a good chance of a medal. It was a tough race, but Matthew swam extremely well to set a new PB and claim his silver medal. 4 medals won by Matthew, and still the evening finals to come!

Last race of the morning was the 14-16 girls 4 x 200m freestyle relay. The team of Molly, Anna McClafferty, Ashleigh Blyth and Aimee swam a brilliant PB to move up to 29th place from their 34th place seeding. Well done girls.

It was another quiet afternoon, with just the 11-13 boys relay team competing in the 4 x 100m medley relay. Oliver Patton, Luke Garrity, Lewis Gray and Alistair Currie had a fabulous swim, setting a new PB and finishing 11th ahead of their 13th place seeding. Well done boys.

The first final of the night was Matthew in the 200m IM. It was a repeat of the 400m event, with Matthew going up against Pietro Ubertalli. Having competed so well in the 800m freestyle earlier, there were a few nerves around whether Matthew would have enough energy left to be competitive in the race. It started out as expected, with Matthew holding 3rd place on the butterfly leg, but losing ground on the backstroke. He had quite a gap to bridge for the breaststroke, but he did it in style, not only moving up to 2nd place, but challenging for 1st. It was neck and neck down the final 50m, and in the end Matthew was beaten by just 0.03 seconds. He is still crowned Scottish champion as the fastest finishing Scot, and you will not see a more exciting finish to a 200m IM swim this year. Amazing stuff.

It was the girls on the 100m breaststroke next, with Molly getting her place in the final as hoped. In a way, the pressure was off Molly, and she could just enjoy the race. No such luck for Aimee however. As fastest qualifier, she was the one to beat. A close start to the race saw Aimee just edge ahead slightly. She built a small lead down the first 50m, and executed a good turn to remain in the lead. But the pressure was relentless and with every stroke the winning margin narrowed. Our girl was not to be beaten though, and kept everyone else at bay to claim her second Scottish champion title of the competition. Amazing Aimee!

In the same race, Molly was able to swim it her way in the outside lane, and powered home to another PB and an 8th place finish: not a bad effort from 1st reserve! Like brother Thomas, Molly has been outstanding in this competition and should be full of confidence for the rest of the season.

The last final of #SNAGS2019 was upon us, and it was only fitting that with Matthew starting the night, Aimee was the one to end it. She swam in the 50m butterfly final and finished just outside her best time in 7th place.

And like that, we are done. Every race has been swum and we are all completely drained. We’ve had disappointment and elation alike, but overall, #SNAGS2019 has exceeded every expectation. We’re going to rest and reflect on what we’ve achieved and come back with some words of wisdom in the next couple of days.

If you’ve read this far and you’ve enjoyed being part of the journey, please let your friends know about us. We’re looking to grow the club with new members, and you never know who the next Matthew and Aimee might be. It might just be your child…

But tonight is for those very special people who have given us some amazing memories over the last five days. Our SNAGS class of 2019: Matthew, Aimee, Thomas, Molly, Aaron, Jay, Kian, Oliver, Lewis, Ashleigh, Anna, Adam, Luke, Alistair and Cammi. Our amazing coaches: Shirley, Kyara, Andrew and Sarah. Our amazing mums and dads and grandparents and brothers and sisters. And the amazing extended family that is our club. Until next year!