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.