INVERCLYDE Amateur Swimming Club were proudly represented by eight swimmers at the recent Scottish National Short Course Championships in Edinburgh.

Dubbed as the ‘premier short course meet in the UK’, it saw the youngsters rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in British swimming, with the likes of Duncan Scott, Ross Murdoch and Aimee Wilmott all taking part.

Competing throughout the three-day event was Lauren Macleay, Emily Lightfoot, Molly Cannon, Aimee Watson, Joe McCallion, Thomas Cannon, Kian McNelis and Matthew Garrity. Overall, it was a very successful meet, with every swimmer achieving at least one new personal best time. There were also three finals reached and a new West District age group record!

Head coach Shirley Reford explained said: “This is the biggest short course event in the country so it’s notoriously difficult to qualify for. Having eight swimmers competing was a great achievement, but we weren’t there just for the experience: we had serious ambitions of making finals, breaking records and setting new PBs.

“Short course competitions are swum over 25m lengths as opposed to the 50m long course events. This puts more emphasis on the technical aspects of swimming, such as dives and turns, and usually results in slightly faster times than the long course equivalents. Our preparation for the meet wasn’t ideal, as the broken pool floor at the Waterfront has really restricted our ability to practice these skills. This put additional pressure on the team, but they didn’t let it affect their performances.”

First up for the team was Molly Cannon, swimming in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events. A solid performance saw Molly improve on her seedings in all three events and improve her times in the 50m and 200m. She was particularly impressive in the 200m, taking over 3 seconds off her PB.

Lauren Macleay was competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 100m individual medley. Lauren swam well but was just off her best times in both of the 100m events. However, she made up for it by setting new PBs in the 50m and 200m backstroke, and improved on her seeding for the 200m by six places.

Aimee Watson was the club’s busiest and most successful swimmer of the weekend, competing in 10 events. As well as the three relay events, Aimee swam in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke; the 50m and 100m butterfly; the 50m freestyle and the 200m individual medley. Once again, Aimee showed her talent by making the A or B finals of all of her breaststroke events: she came 8th in the 50m and 10th in both the 100m and 200m with new PBs for each. She also made great improvements in her 100m butterfly time and improved on her seeding by a massive 16 places.

For the boys, Joe McCallion had a good result in the 100m backstroke, setting a new PB and improving on his seeding. Kian McNelis was competing in the 400m freestyle, matching his seeding, but just missing out on a new best time.

Thomas Cannon and Matthew Garrity both had a busy time competing in eight events each. Swimming in the 100m, 200m and 400m individual medley events, Thomas showed his consistency by setting three new PBs and improving on his seeding each time. He swam well in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, setting a new PB in the 100m, but finishing just outside his time in the 50m. There was no disappointment in the backstroke however, as he managed PBs in both the 50m and 100m.

Matthew also swam in all three individual medley events. He finished just outside his entry time for the 100m, but got impressive new PBs for the 200m and 400m events. He also achieved a new PB for the 400m freestyle. As a long course age group record holder, all eyes were on Matthew’s breaststroke performances. In the 100m he was just outside his entry time, but in the 200m, he managed an impressive new PB. However, his biggest result undoubtedly came in the 50m event. He swam a new PB and improved seven places on his seeding. His time of 30.86 seconds also beats the current 14-year olds short course West District record by 0.01seconds!

The girls’ relay team were in action in all three of the relay events. In Friday’s 4x50m medley relay they finished just outside their entry time, but moved up a place in the seedings. On Saturday, they competed in the 4x50m freestyle and were disappointed not to improve on their time. They made up for it in Sunday’s 4x100m freestyle event, however, by setting a massive new PB and moving up three places in the seedings.

The 4x100m freestyle was the only relay event for the boys and the were determined to match the girls’ achievement. They also set a fantastic new PB and moved up one place in the seedings.