Records tumble as swimmers head to Glasgow

Delting swimmers Tom Raikes and Felix Gifford rewrote the Shetland record books at the weekend at the Scottish short course national championships, breaking 16 records between them.

Tom swam well throughout the championship but left the best until the last day where he powered his way through the 50m butterfly to break the 17-and-over and open records in 27.46.

Tom then swam the 200m freestyle in the same heat as his younger team mate Felix. This made him pull out all the stops to again break the 17-and-over and open records in 2.00.77.

Felix started by breaking the 13-14 Shetland record in the 50m freestyle in a time of 26.27. He then swam a very relaxed well-paced 200m backstroke to take that record in 2.25.04.

In the afternoon Felix swam the 400m freestyle, again pacing it very well to break both the open and his age group records in 4.20.12.

In the 100m individual medley Felix watched the ever-improving Craig Nicolson from Lerwick break his 100m IM record. Felix then promptly took the record back again in 1.06.16 with a very confident swim.

On Saturday in Felix’s first event, the 200m IM, he showed his improved breaststroke to break yet another record in 2.20.79. He sheared off the tiniest amount to take the 50m backstroke record in 31.30. Felix then swam the 200m butterfly, again pacing the event very well to take another record in 2.19.87.

In the afternoon came Felix’s best swim in the 1500m freestyle. Not only did he take the age group and open record by over 21 seconds with 17.12.10 but on his way he also broke both 800m records.

The final day saw Felix swim the 200m freestyle against team mate Tom, finishing in 2.01.89, another record time. In Felix’s final event, the 400m IM, he again produced a well-controlled swim to claim his final record with 5.02.26.

Felix is now right on the qualifying time for the British nationals this year and just has to reproduce these times in a long course pool to be on his way to Sheffield in the summer.

Four Lerwick-based swimmers also took part in the championships – Amy Harper, Callum MacGregor and the aforementioned Craig Nicolson from Lerwick Amateur Swimming Club and Andrea Strachan from Shetland Amateur Competitive Swimming Club.

The first session on Friday saw Callum just on his entry time in the 50m freestyle. Just afterwards Andrea made the B final in the 100m backstrone.

In the 200m individual medley (IM) the girls achieved their entry times while in the 50m backstroke Amy produced a personal best time which placed her firmly in the A final. Andrea was a 10th of a second outside the finals and Craig improved his 50m breaststroke time.

The 100m freestyle took a dramatic turn when Amy and a girl from Stirling produced the exact same time (59.68 seconds) for 10th place in the A final. In the resulting swim-off Amy gained a slight lead and held on to win in an improved time of 58.93 and a place in the A final.

Session two in the afternoon saw Craig hold his entry time in the 400m freestyle, Callum improve by a second in the 100m IM and Craig make up an impressive six seconds on his entry in the same event.

In the evening finals for day one Andrea was ninth in the 100m backstroke. Amy produced another PB and held her sixth place in a fast 50m backstroke A final where the Scottish record was broken, and in the 100m freestyle she held her place.

Day two dawned with Callum exiting the competition with a twisted ankle and Amy, again with a PB, swam her way into the 50m freestyle final. Andrea was two-tenths of a second outside the finals time.

In the 200m backstroke Amy again had a PB but did not make the finals. Andrea made the final of the 50m backstroke and Amy was a finalist in the 400m free­style.

The finals on day two saw Amy improve her times in the 50m and 400m freesyle and Andrea did likewise in the 50m breast­stroke.

On the third and final day Amy made good times in the 400m IM, 50m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke, as did Andrea in the 50m butterfly and 200m backstroke and Craig in the 200m breaststroke. Amy was reserve for the 100m backstroke final and Andrea for the 200m breaststroke final.

In a competition which attracted entries from all over Scotland and England, making the finals was a good result. Amy had seven PBs, four finals and a reserve place, Andrea made two finals and a reserve place, Craig recorded two PBs and Callum one.

NorthLink reduced the travel costs for the swimmers and coach and the company was thanked for its sponsorship of swimming in the current season.

Meanwhile Nicole Petursdottir, 14, from Gulberwick, who com­petes for the mainland-based Garioch club, was pleased with her performances at the event.

She had a small improvement in the 50m breaststroke and in the 100m freestyle she improved her time by one second, closing in on that magic one minute.

In the 50m butterfly Nicole improved her time to just over 32 seconds, closing in on the Shetland age group record which is still held by Lisa Odie.

Her best performance of the weekend came in the 400m individual medley, with a five-second improvement.

Nicole said she would like to thank Olympic coach Patrick Miley, whose help with race plans and strategy and slight technique adjustments proved extremely valuable.


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