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.