Matthew is officially crowned best in the West

It’s official – IASC’s Matthew Garrity is the new West District long course (50m pool) record holder for the 100m and 200m breaststroke in the 13-year old boys age group.

Matthew was awarded his certificates following the West District’s AGM at the end of November, although he actually broke the records when he competed in the Scottish National Age Group championships (SNAGS) back in March.

Having been crowned the 12-year old West District record holder in the 200m breaststroke last year, the pressure was on to see if he could challenge for the 13-year olds record. Swimming in the prestigious SNAGS competition, Matthew won the 200m event to become Scottish champion and earned a brilliant silver medal in the 100m event. Both swims saw him smash his previous personal bests and claim the coveted new West District records.

Matthew said: “It was a nice surprise to be handed the certificates at the weekend. After getting the 200m record last year, I was really pleased to get them both this time around. My focus now is on the Scottish National short course championships in Edinburgh, where I’m hoping to PB in all my events and maybe challenge for the short course (25m pool) records.”

A look at the record holders for young age group swimmers makes for impressive reading – Scottish swimming superstar Duncan Scott still holds many of the West District’s fastest times. Being a freestyle, butterfly and medley swimmer, Duncan’s records aren’t going to be threatened by breaststroke specialist Matthew, but it’s powerful motivation and a great example of where talent and commitment can take you. The club’s Head Coach Shirley Reford said:

“Seeing his name in the record books alongside one of the greatest swimmers our country has ever produced really brings home just how special Matthew’s talent is. It motivates everyone in the club – other swimmers see his success and think ‘I want a piece of that’. Achievements that once seemed impossible for a small club like ours are now within reach and we have a superb coaching infrastructure in place to help our swimmers reach their goals. We are all incredibly proud of Matthew’s achievements.”

Juniors success at the West District Junior Age Group meet

It was the turn of the Inverclyde ASC junior swimmers to take to the pool at the weekend in the West District Junior Age Group meet. Like the recent Seniors event, the competition is held in Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow. The event is open to swimmers aged 11-13 who have achieved the tough qualifying times.

Motivated by the success of their senior clubmates, seven swimmers competed for IASC over the two days, and they did themselves and the club proud. Every swimmer achieved a new personal best time and made the finals in at least one of their events.

Coach Andrew Hemphill commented, “In a busy period of competitions, it’s really difficult to keep achieving personal bests in such a short space of time, but our swimmers managed this again at the West District event. It was also great to see so many swimmers challenging themselves by swimming in different events than they are used to – both different strokes and different distances – especially at such a high level of competition”.

There were three females in action for IASC, all of whom had a very successful meet. Lucy Campbell came 10th and 12th in the 800m freestyle and 200m breaststroke finals respectively, achieving great new personal bests in each event.

April Craynor came 8th in the 100m butterfly final and got new best times in the breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle 100m events. Betty Fischer-Keogh, the club’s youngest female swimmer competing, swam her fastest time to date to come 7th in the 100m freestyle and also placed 10th in the 100m breaststroke.

For the boys, Alistair Currie came 11th in the 200m freestyle final and Peter Maloney came 6th in the 200m backstroke with both boys achieving faster personal best times. Jay Keith, was equally impressive – coming 5th in the 200m butterfly and 8th in the 400m individual medley finals. He narrowly missed out on a finals place for the 100m backstroke, but still recorded huge personal bests in all three events.

The standout performance of the weekend undoubtedly came from 11-year old Luke Garrity. The Moorfoot Primary pupil swam in seven events over the weekend, making the finals and new best times in all but one event. Luke achieved a 10th place in the 200m backstroke, 5th place in the 200m individual medley and 4th place in the 400m freestyle. As a fitting reward for his long weekend of competition, Luke took home a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley and two silver medals for the 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Club coach Kyara Finlay was delighted with the team, commenting that “it was a fantastic weekend of swimming with brilliant results against some of the toughest competition in the district”.

The swimmers attention now switches to the annual IASC club championships at the Waterfront in mid-December, and Kyara had some extra words of advice: “Remember the importance of your fly kick off the wall – especially over longer distance events. It can provide that extra little boost to help increase your speed”. It sounds like the club championships are shaping up to be one of the club’s most exciting and competitive championships yet.

Back to basics for more Back Home Boxes

Away from the pool, IASC swimmers have been busy once more with collecting for Back Home Boxes – the highly successful scheme run by Compassionate Inverclyde.

The idea behind the boxes is simple – to provide everyday essentials to people who are discharged from hospital and live alone. The boxes enable patients to settle in at home without the pressure of having to get to the shops in the first couple of days.

Compassionate Inverclyde was selected as the club’s charity of the year, and to date, over 80 crates worth of donations have been supplied by the club. In between training sessions the swimmers helped to package up the latest 20 crates of donations, which was handed over to the charity in early November.

Compassionate Inverclyde commented, “We are very grateful for the continued support of Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club members, coaches and families. They have donated items to us three times in the last few months, a vast amount that has kept our Back Home Boxes going for weeks. It is also a lovely touch to include the cards with your logo for inclusion in the boxes as well. We hope your celebrations are going well on your big anniversary year. Best wishes and since re thanks from everyone here at Compassionate Inverclyde.”

IASC would like to say a massive congratulations to Compassionate Inverclyde who were recently voted the CVS Voluntary Organisation of the Year, in recognition of the pioneering work they do in the Inverclyde community. We are proud to support you!

Seniors success at the West District Senior Age Group meet

Inverclyde ASC swimmers were in action recently at the West District Senior Age Group meet, and once again it was a successful weekend. Held in Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, this is a competition for 14 year olds and upwards, who must achieve qualification times to be able to enter. Nine swimmers represented the club over the 2-day event, clocking up an impressive nine medals.

There were two golds each for Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Matthew added another two silver medals to his collection, coming second in the 200m and the 400m freestyle. Aimee won silver in the 100m butterfly, and club captain Thomas Cannon picked up a silver in the 400m individual medley. Kian McNelis also won a bronze medal in the gruelling 1500m freestyle.

Molly Cannon, Cammi Kerr, Ben Skinner, Lyall Black and Adam Brooks all gave excellent performances, with everyone beating their previous best times in at least one event.

Club coaches Shirley Reford and Andrew Dyer were delighted with the performance of the team, and were particularly pleased to see medals and personal bests being achieved across different strokes. Andrew said,

“The West District senior age group meet is an important milestone in the season and an excellent opportunity for our swimmers to compete at a high level in one of Scotland’s best pools. The weekend saw some fantastic times achieved by each swimmer and the benefits of the recent training camp at Club La Santa in Lanzarote were clearly evident. Out of the pool, the support and encouragement shown for each other was also great to see.”

The success of the senior swimmers has proved to be great motivation for their junior counterparts. The Junior Age Group meet – for 11-13 year olds – is coming up on the 17th-18th November and they are more determined than ever to continue the winning streak. The challenge is on!


Swimmer of the month – October 2018

Congratulations to our swimmer of the month for October – Cammi Kerr.

Cammi was selected by the coaches because of the increased focus he has shown in his training recently. Since the Lanzarote training camp, the coaches have noticed a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to training, which has resulted in breakthrough performances.

Well done Cammi, it sounds like exciting times ahead for you. Keep up the good work!


The nifty fifties

Our first trip to the Aberdeen Nifty Fifties didn’t disappoint with many new PB’s and impressive swimming all round.

In the morning session we had Matthew Garrity in the finals for the 50m fly and skins, and Lauren Macleay in the 50m free. Our 14 years and under boys team of Darren Macleay, Matthew Garrity, Jay Keith and Ben Skinner also made the final of the medley relay and bagged an impressive second place.

The afternoon session brought further success, with final places for Lauren Macleay in the 50m back, Ben Skinner in the 50m breast, Matthew Garrity in the 50m free and Ashleigh Blyth with first reserve place for the 50m fly. Matthew also made the final for the 50m breast, winning the race outright. To finish the day off, our boys team were back in action again – this time in the freestyle relay – and they matched their earlier performance with a brilliant second place.

This was our club’s first overnight trip for a competition and we couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of young adults, or better ambassadors for our club. Well done to all our swimmers today: Lauren Macleay, Anna McClafferty, Ashleigh Blyth, Cammi Kerr, Darren Macleay, Lewis Gray, Aaron Gray, Jay Keith, Kian McNelis, Ben Skinner and Matthew Garrity. And a big thank you to Head Coach Shirley Reford and our parent helpers who made attending the event possible.


IASC duo help Scotland West to best ever result at National County Championships

IASC swimmers Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity were part of the Scotland West swimming team which came second in the recent National County Team Championships just behind Yorkshire – the best ever result by a Scottish team.

The National County Team Championships is a UK wide event for regional swimming teams. This year’s event was held in Sheffield on October 7th with 36 counties and more than 900 swimmers taking part. The Scotland West team, which is made up of swimmers from clubs as far afield as Oban and Stranraer, were predicted to finish in 11th place with 332 points. But our coaches and swimmers had other ideas, racking up 431 points and 16 top 10 finishes to secure that second place.

Hopes were high for a good performance from Aimee and Matthew in the 100m breaststroke, but few were expecting the massive personal bests they achieved. At just 14 years old, both are at the younger end of the 14/15 age group that they are eligible to swim in. Just being selected over older swimmers was a great achievement, and a testament to how talented they are. Aimee finished 4th in her event in a time of 1.11.86 – a massive 4.21 seconds off her previous best. Matthew swam in a time of 1.06.69 to finish 6th with an equally impressive 2.84 seconds off his PB. Aimee also swam the 50m breaststroke for the 14/15 girls medley, securing another 4th place.

Our Head Coach Shirley Redford was part of the coaching team for the competition. She said, “The atmosphere poolside was electric and I felt privileged to be part of the Scotland West team. The team ethos and spirit were superb throughout the whole competition. I was especially proud to see our two IASC swimmers showcasing their talent alongside the best young swimmers in Great Britain. They both rose to the occasion and produced amazing performances and great personal bests.”

Their selection for the Scotland West team came off the back of months of successes from the pair. Both became Scottish National Age Group champions in March. Aimee won gold in the 50m breaststroke and Matthew in the 200m breaststroke. Both then went on to win silver in their 100m breaststroke events. And just a few months later, both competed in the British championships. Aimee came 5th in her age group for the 50m breaststroke and Matthew came 6th in the 100m breaststroke.

So just what is it about Aimee and Matthew that makes them such an exciting prospect for Scottish swimming? Shirley puts their success down to a mix of natural talent and a lot of hard work and dedication. She said, “Swimmers at the top level of our club train 7 days a week, often twice a day, balancing swimming with gym work. We try to make the training as varied as possible to keep the swimmers motivated and challenge their fitness. But to be a top swimmer, there’s just no getting away from those early morning training sessions. Several mornings a week, our swimmers are training hard while most people are still fast asleep! Talent will only get you so far – it’s the commitment to training that really turns potential into success.”

Since returning from Sheffield, there hasn’t been much time for Shirley and the dynamic duo to celebrate their success. All three are preparing to fly out to Lanzarote for the club’s annual training camp at the fabulous La Santa resort. I’m sure they all feel like they’ve earned a holiday, but if Shirley has her way, rest is the last thing they’ll be getting!

50/50 fundraising draw

***💷💷AND THE WINNER IS…💷💷***

Congratulations to the lucky winner of our 50/50 draw… Mrs Helen McEwan.

Helen’s was the lucky number scratched off in the live reveal on Sunday morning via our club’s Facebook group. Her grandchildren Kian and Mya both swim in the club, and she bought two numbers as she loved the idea of having a chance to win big while supporting the club at the same time.

Helen was over the moon to find out she had won. It was a bit of much needed good luck as she recently fractured her hip and had to cancel her holiday to Turkey. She plans to spend some of it on her grandchildren and will treat herself to a new outfit for some up-coming nights out.

It was our first time trying the 50/50 draw as a fundraiser, and what a huge success it was! All 100 numbers were sold within 24 hours, thanks to the enthusiasm of our fundraising team and the generosity of all our family and friends. Helen is £250 richer and the club has vital money to put towards training and development. I think we might need to do it again!

Thank you to everyone who took part and supported the club. Enjoy spending your money Helen – you’re a deserving winner!