National County Championships 2019

IASC stars Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity helped the Scotland West swimming team to an equal fourth place finish in the recent National County Team Championships.

The National County Team Championships is a UK wide event for regional swimming teams and the Scotland West team is made up of swimmers from clubs as far afield as Oban and Stranraer. This year’s event was held in Sheffield on October 6th with 39 counties and more than 1,000 swimmers taking part. It’s a highly competitive and fast paced event, with racing taking place across two pools simultaneously.

Scotland West finished as runners up in last year’s competition, but a large number of new swimmers in the team meant this year’s ranking was far lower. The team outperformed expectations racking up a record 22 top 10 finishes – including five victories – to claim equal fourth place.

For the Inverclyde pair, it proved a successful meet. Aimee was swimming the breaststroke leg of the girls 14-15 years 200m medley relay. Seeded fourth going in to the event, the team stepped it up a gear to power home to a big win in the final, taking victory over their nearest rivals by nearly 2 seconds.

Matthew was swimming the boys 14-15 100m breaststroke and the breaststroke leg of the boys 200m medley relay. In the individual event, Matthew swam a great race to finish sixth overall, matching his performance from last year and achieving a new PB. In the relay event the team put in a solid performance to take sixth place.

The club’s head coach Shirley Reford was once again asked to be part of the coaching team for the event and was delighted with the performance. She commented: “The team spirit was amazing and considering there were 14 rookies in the team the result far exceeded our pre-meet ranking and expectations. All the juniors swam brilliantly, helped by the team ethos and atmosphere which was electric throughout. Every single member of the team played a part and the younger members of the team soaked up the experience with the support and guidance of the rest of the others.”

If you are interested in your child joining the swimming club email membership@inverclydeasc.co.uk for more information or to book a place on the October assessment.

Bumper turn out at North Ayrshire meets

The racing season got underway again for IASC with a packed schedule over two days of action at North Ayrshire. The Development meet was for swimmers aged 11 upwards and the Foundation meet for swimmers aged 10 and under. Both meets were graded, meaning swimmers have to be slower than the entry time. If they beat the entry time they are awarded a ‘too fast’ medal, but the times are still accredited. For many swimmers it was a good opportunity to update times after the summer break.

At the Development meet, five swimmers from the club were awarded a ‘too fast’ medal. Both April Craynor and Peter Maloney were in excellent form, winning two ‘too fast’ medals each. April won hers for the 200m and 400m IM. She took a big chunk of time off her PB for the 200m event and set an impressive time in her debut at the 400m event. April then went on to win the gold in the 400m freestyle.

Peter matched April’s performance, taking home his ‘too fast’ medals for the 400m IM and the 200m freestyle, both with massive new PBs. He also took gold in the 400m freestyle with an impressive time in his debut race.

Wladek Zawadzki also had a great meet, winning a ‘too fast’ medal, one gold and four silvers and setting five new PBs. His ‘too fast’ came in the 200m breaststroke and his gold in the 200m freestyle, winning both with new fastest times. He set new PBs to win silver in the 100m backstroke and breaststroke and the 400m freestyle and finished off a busy day with silver in the 100m freestyle.

There were two other ‘too fast winners from the club: Ashleigh Blyth and Sofia McGeehan. Ashleigh won hers for a blistering new PB in the 400m IM in her only event of the day. Sofia took a ‘too fast’ for the 100m butterfly with a new PB and took bronze for the 200m freestyle with another new best time. A further bronze came in the 100m backstroke followed by a new PB and 4th in the 200m IM.

Other medallists on the day included Katherine Simpson and Keira McKee. Katherine took gold for the 200m backstroke and two bronze medals for the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle, all with new PBs. She also finished 5th in the 100m breaststroke. Keira took silver for the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke with new PBs and also got a silver for her first swim of the 100m breaststroke. She took bronze in the 200m IM and came 5th in the 100m freestyle, again setting new PBs.

There were also encouraging performances from Michal Zawadzki and Charlotte Jones, who improved their times and finished high in their fields. Michal set new PBs in the 100m backstroke and breaststroke where he finished 5th and 7th. Charlotte came 6th in her debut swim at the 100m breaststroke and set new PB’s in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke to finish inside the top 10.

At the Foundation meet, the club youngsters were determined to keep up the strong swimming. The 19-strong team was a mix of swimmers still relatively new to competition and more experienced swimmers hoping to update times. Between them, they achieved 23 medals and every swimmer set at least one new PB.

Most prolific swimmer of the day was Scott Brodie, winning three golds, two silvers and two fourth places. Gold came in the 50m backstroke and the 100m freestyle and butterfly and silvers were won in the 100m IM and the 400m freestyle. Scott also set new PBs to finish 4th in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Sophie Campbell set new times in her five events and took double gold for the 50m and 100m butterfly. She also won silver for the 200m IM and bronze for the 50m backstroke as well as finishing 4th in the 50m freestyle.

Eilidh Melrose made it seven medals from seven races. She won gold for the 100m IM with a new PB and took silver for the 50m backstroke and freestyle, setting another PB for the backstroke. Bronze medals came in the 50m and 100m breaststroke with more PBs and in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.

Abi McAnerney set new PBs in all her events and took silver in the 100m backstroke and 50m butterfly. She came 4th in the 50m backstroke and 9th in the 100m IM. Abi continued to swim well to set new best times in the 100m and 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke.

Finlay Morrice won silver in the 50m freestyle with a new best time and came 4th in the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke with another PB. He finished 5th in the 100m breaststroke and 6th in the 50m butterfly. He also set new PB’s in the 100m IM and 50m breaststroke.

Brodie McArthur won silver in the 50m butterfly, came 4th in the 50m backstroke, 5th in both the 100m IM and 50m freestyle and 7th with a new PB in the 50m breaststroke.

Josh Docherty made it 100% PBs as he took silver for the 100m backstroke, 4th in the 50m butterfly and 7th in the 100m IM and 100m breaststroke. He also produced good swims in the 50m breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke.

Ellis Quigley won bronze in the 50m breaststroke and was 5th in the 50m butterfly, setting new PBs in both races. She came 8th in her debut at the 100m freestyle and set more PBs in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and 100m IM.

Oliver Jones took bronze for the 100m backstroke in his event debut. He also finished 8th in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle. Oliver then went on to set new PBs in the 100m IM and the 50m breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke.

Outside of the medals, the younger and less experienced swimmers put in encouraging performances with many trying new events or improving their times. Mirrin Fay was 4th in the 100m backstroke and 6th in the 100m freestyle in her debut at the events She also took 6th in the 50m breaststroke and set a new PB to finish 7th in the 50m butterfly.

Freya McFarlane set a new PB to finish 4th in the 200m IM. Nina Spirit-Hawthorne was 5th in the 100m IM and 6th in the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly, with new times for each. She also set PBs in the 50m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle, where she finished in 9th and 11th place.

Nuala Munro and Katie Deegan both managed 5th, 7th and 8th finishes with new times. Nuala’s placings were for the 50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke and 100m IM and Katie’s were for the 100m freestyle, 100m IM and 50m breaststroke.

Rory Munro set new PBs to finish 6th in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke. He took 8th in the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly and set a new PB in the 100m breaststroke. Adam Quigley set new PBs for the 50m backstroke and freestyle, finishing 6th and 8th respectively.

Lucie Sweeney set new times for the 100m IM and 50m butterfly and backstroke, but just missed out in the 50m breaststroke. Jessica Gallagher set new PBs in each of her three races – the 50m butterfly and breaststroke and the 100m IM. Cameron Ridyard improved his times in the 50m breaststroke and backstroke and set a debut time for the 50m freestyle.

Well done to all the swimmers competing.

The racing season starts at the Stirling Open

It was back to business for IASC as a group of 19 swimmers made the long trip to Stirling for the Autumn Open meet. This was a level 2 competition, meaning the standard of racing and risk of disqualification was high. Overall, the team were pleased to be close to their best at the start of the new season, with half of the races producing PBs and 32 medals won.

A trio of 10-year olds led the medal haul as Archie McArthur, Mirren McConnell and Cameron Beck swam exceptionally well to dominate their age group and take home 18 medals between them.

Archie McArthur achieved five gold medals and three PBs on a day of high emotion. The day started well for Archie with a win and a PB in the 100m IM, but he was then disqualified from his next two races for technical infringements. Archie showed maturity and resilience beyond his years to keep his concentration and composure and came back fighting in the afternoon with wins and PBs for the 200m IM and 100m breaststroke. He then kept up the winning streak with victories in the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

Mirren McConnell won triple gold with three new PBs in the 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle. She was close to her best times in the 50m butterfly and the 100m IM, where she was rewarded with silver medals for her performance, and took bronze in her last event – the 50m freestyle.

Cameron Beck made it a magnificent seven, by medalling and setting PBs in all of his races. He took gold for the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle, and won silvers for the 100m and 200m IM, the 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly and the 100m freestyle.

Aaron Gray made it gold, silver and bronze with a couple of new PBs along the way. He took gold and a PB for the 200m IM, silver for the 100m IM and bronze for the 100m butterfly. He set a new PB in the 100m breaststroke and produced strong, fast swims in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.

Girls club captain Molly Cannon took a gold and a silver away from the meet for the 100m IM and 50m butterfly respectively. Molly was disappointed not to beat her best times, but her swimming was consistent and we’ve no doubt she’ll beat her already fast times throughout the season.

Blake Herdman was the youngest member of the team competing and showed how much he is improving by setting new PBs in all of his events. Blake took home a silver medal for the 50m backstroke and bronze medals for the 100m backstroke and breaststroke. He followed this up with new best times for the 100m IM and the 100m freestyle.

There were a further six bronze medallists on the day. Adam Brooks had a successful meet with five new PBs out of seven races and a bronze medal for the 100m IM. Further PBs came in the 50m & 100m butterfly and 50m & 100m freestyle, and he swam tantalisingly close to his best in the 50m & 100m backstroke. Ashleigh Blyth took 5 seconds off her PB to take bronze in the 200m IM and followed it up with another PB in the 50m backstroke and a fast swim in the 100m freestyle.

Boys club captain Kian McNelis claimed bronze for the 100m backstroke and swam very close to his best times in his other four events: the 50m freestyle, butterfly and backstroke and the 100m IM. Peter Maloney was awarded bronze for his 100m butterfly, and swam well in the 100m backstroke.

Luke Garrity had a packed schedule of nine races, winning bronze in the 200m IM and setting new PBs in the 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke. His kept up his concentration to produce great swims in many of his other events, particularly the 50m freestyle and backstroke.

Isabella McClafferty took bronze for the 100m butterfly and set a new PB in the 100m freestyle. She swam well in her remaining three races, getting close to her best each time.

Despite not medalling, other swimmers had a successful meet with many new fast times being set – a reward for their continued focus on training over the summer break. Darren Macleay made solid progress chipping away at his times with four new PBs out of five races. New times were set for the 50m freestyle, the 50m and 100m breaststroke and the 100m backstroke.

Both Holly Beck and Lucy Campbell made impressive starts to the competition, before illness began to affect performances. Both set new PBs in their first three events: the 200m IM, the 100m breaststroke and the 100m freestyle, but as the day wore on the girls were fighting hard to swim at their best. Both were rewarded with a final PB each in the afternoon session: Holly in the 100m backstroke and Lucy in the 50m breaststroke.

It was three PBs out of four for Mya McNelis, who swam well all day to improve her times in the 50m butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle, and just missed out on a new best in the 100m IM. Lukas Kong had to wait all morning to start his races, but swam close to his best in the 50m and 100m freestyle. He then went on to set new PBs in the 50m butterfly and backstroke.

Anna McClafferty swam in the 100m IM, the 50m freestyle and the 50m butterfly, setting a new PB in the freestyle and swimming close to her best times in her other races. Niamh Ward competed in the 100m IM and the 50m breaststroke, setting a new PB in the breast.

Coach Andrew Dyer was encouraged by the performance of the team: “After months without competition it can take a while for swimmers to get their racing sharpness back, and the judging meant even the slightest errors led to disqualification. The number of PBs was really encouraging and hopefully all swimmers can build on this momentum throughout the season.”

Swimmer of the month – May – August 2019

🏊‍♀️🏊‍♂️Swimmer of the month🏊‍♂️🏊‍♀️

Congratulations to all our swimmers of the month for the summer months:
May 2019 – Cammi Kerr
June 2019 – Olivia Lyne
July 2019 – Blake Herdman and Thomas Cannon
August 2019 – Lukas Kong

All five swimmers have been working extremely hard in training on their technique, speed and stamina and we can’t wait to see what improvements they are rewarded with when the racing season kicks off at the weekend.

Well done to our fabulous five and best of luck in the new season.🤞

#oneteamonedream

Talented trio prove they are amongst the best in Britain

Three swimmers from IASC took on the best of British age groups swimmers as they competed in the recent British Summer Championships at Tollcross in Glasgow. It was only the second time in the club’s history taking part in the highly prestigious event.

Under the guidance of Head Coach Shirley Reford the club made its British debut last year with Matthew Garrity and Aimee Watson competing in two events each. This year Aimee and Matthew were joined by Thomas Cannon, and competed in 11 events over six days.

While most youngsters have been enjoying their summer holidays and some downtime from competition, the talented trio have remained in hard training for the last month in order to be in the best shape possible. The early starts and long days presented additional challenges, and it was as much about mental preparation as physical preparation to remain focused and fresh.

The first day saw Matthew compete in the 100m breaststroke and Aimee go in the 50m breaststroke. Swimming in the heats in the morning, both qualified comfortably for their evening finals, with Aimee setting a new PB in her heat. In the finals, they both executed their races well. Matthew swam a new PB to finish 6th overall and Aimee claimed 5th place in her event.

On day two, all three swimmers were in action with Matthew and Thomas taking on the 50m breaststroke and Aimee competing in the 200m breaststroke. In Aimee’s race, she battled hard to finish 12th overall and be 2nd reserve for the evening final. Unfortunately, injury niggles in her knees flared up and she opted to withdraw and prioritise her recovery for her remaining races. Thomas swam a great race in his heat, finishing just outside his best time. It wasn’t quite enough to make the final, but it was a great debut for him at a British championship. It was an even more positive result for Matthew, who set a new PB in the heats to qualify for his second final in two days. In the evening, he went faster again, setting another PB and claiming 8th place overall.

Day three was a quieter day with just Matthew swimming in the 400m IM. Preparation for the race didn’t go as planned, and the brutal event took its toll with Matthew finishing adrift of his best time. It wasn’t the result he was hoping for, but it provided a valuable learning experience for the future.

On day four, Matthew was back in action with Thomas in the 200m breaststroke. Both swam well in their heats to earn reserve spots for the final: Matthew in 2nd reserve and Thomas in 1st reserve, just 0.09 seconds off 10th place. The club was hopeful that both would get to swim, but it wasn’t to be. This was Thomas’s last competitive swim for the club before he heads off to University next month. He was incredibly proud to be able to bow out at the highest level of competition. After the swim, mum Elaine joked “who would ever have thought the 10-year old who swam the wrong stroke in his first gala would make it all the way to the British championships?!”

On day five it was time for Aimee and Matthew to take on the 200m IM. Neither were able to get close to their best times and missed out on places in the finals. On the final day of competition Aimee was the sole representative swimming on the 100m breaststroke. She showed true grit and determination to come back from the disappointment of the 200m IM to qualify for the finals and finish 7th overall with another new PB.

Coach Shirley was with the swimmers for every session of the competition and was incredibly proud of how hard they worked and the performances they produced. She commented: “To go from making our debut last year with four swims, to having 11 this year – and several PBs – shows that everything is moving in the right direction for the club. It’s a real team effort to get swimmers to this level and the whole club celebrates their successes. But the swimmers themselves are the real heroes: they give it everything and I’m absolutely delighted at what they’ve achieved. To have three swimmers competing and making finals at the British championships is something we could only have dreamed of a few years ago.”

All four are now taking a well-earned rest with their families and recharging before the new season begins.

#oneteamonedream

IASC success at the Scottish Summer Meet

While most of were enjoying or preparing for our summer holidays, six dedicated swimmers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club made the trip to Edinburgh to compete at the Scottish Summer Meet at the Royal Commonwealth Pool. The national event saw over 600 swimmers in action over four days of long competition. Their sacrifices certainly proved to be worth it: from 23 swims, the club achieved 17 finals places, 1 bronze, 4 silver and 2 gold medals and many new PB times.

The club got off to a great start, with Thomas Cannon and Matthew Garrity in action on the Thursday night in the 400m IM and the 800m freestyle respectively. Both boys swam to superb silver medals in these tough events, with Thomas also getting a new PB.

On the Friday the heats were in the morning and afternoon sessions with the finals in the evening. Matthew qualified for the finals in all three of his events – the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and the 400m freestyle. Matthew opted to withdraw from the 400m event to ensure he was fresh for the sprint distances. Aimee Watson also qualified for the 100m freestyle final.

Aaron Gray swam a great 100m butterfly, just missing out on a lane in the finals by finishing 9th. Next to swim for the club was Molly Cannon in the 100m breaststroke. Despite a good technical performance, Molly was unlucky to finish in 12th place and missed out on a swim in the evening final. Jay Keith was the lone representative for the club in the afternoon session. Swimming in his first summer meet, Jay gained valuable experience and performed well in the 100m butterfly and 50m breaststroke.

In the evening finals, Aimee went first in the 100m freestyle, finishing in 7th place just outside her fastest time. Matthew followed with a 4th place finish in the 50m freestyle final and 5th in the 100m butterfly, setting great new PBs in both races.

Saturday was another busy day for the club. The morning session saw Aimee, Thomas and Molly make the finals of all their events. In the afternoon, Jay swam another great race in the 100m breaststroke to finish in 10th place and just outside his best time.

The first finalist of the evening was Aimee in the 50m freestyle, finishing in 8th place with a new PB. She returned to action in the 100m butterfly, where she was seeded 6th for the final. Aimee put in an outstanding fighting performance to take the gold medal and set a great new PB.

Thomas was in action in three finals over the course of the evening. His first race was the 100m breaststroke, where he fought hard to take another silver medal. After a short rest, he was back for the 200m IM final. Seeded 6th in the event, Thomas managed to match his fastest time to take the bronze medal. He was then back in the pool almost immediately to contest the 50m backstroke final. Once again he managed to match his best time and finished in 6th place. Sister Molly was also in action in the 50m breaststroke final, improving on her morning time and finishing 7th overall.

The final day of competition on Sunday saw yet more finalists with Matthew the first swimmer in action in the evening. Competing in the 50m butterfly, Matthew finished in 5th place with a new PB. He was then back in action in the 200m freestyle. Having picked up a shoulder niggle in the butterfly, Matthew battled through the pain to secure a great silver medal, even swimming very close to his fastest time. Aimee was also competing in the 50m butterfly final and cruised to her second gold medal of the meet with a new PB time. Thomas then swam in the 100m backstroke, finishing in a solid 7th place. The last finalist of the meet was Molly in the 200m breaststroke. Molly had also contested the 100m backstroke in the morning, but missed out on a final place. In the breaststroke final however, Molly put in a disciplined performance to finish in 7th place.

Overall, it was an excellent set of results for the club. Coach Shirley Reford commented: “For some of the swimmers (Molly, Aaron and Jay), it was their last competition before the summer break and I’m impressed with their commitment as well as their performances. They’ve stayed focused in training and seized the opportunity to improved their racing skills and gain valuable experience of competing at a national level.

“With three of the swimmers in action preparing for the British Summer Championships later in July, it was an excellent set of results. Aimee, Matthew and Thomas are in the middle of hard training and preparation for the event, so winning seven medals here was a huge bonus and confidence boost for them. Their times were very encouraging, with a good number of PBs providing cause for optimism at the British Championships. We can’t wait to get there and compete against the best in Britain.”

The British Summer Championships take place from 23-28 July and will be live streamed via youtube. Follow Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for further details.

#oneteamonedream

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!

#blackisourcolour

#oneteamonedream

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…