Two young swimmers from South Mainland Amateur Swimming Club recently attended the Edinburgh International Age Groups Championships, a three day competition held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
For 12-year-old Sarah Keay this was her first time of competing in a 50-metre pool, long course competition. Sarah’s teammate Donnie Price, also 12, was given his first opportunity to swim more than a one length long course race at the event.
With a view to progressing to competing in Scottish national events, the swimmers gained valuable experience in learning to adapt to the different pool length and coped well with the challenges of races without the additional push offs with more frequent turns in standard 25m pools.
Meeting up with top ranked swimmers from throughout Scotland, Sarah swam eight events and Donnie swam all nine events for 11/12 year boys. This included the demanding 200m butterfly, a race that only attracted up to 12 swimmers – a lot fewer than the 48 qualifiers for other events in their age group.
Since neither Donnie nor Sarah had previously competed in a 50 metre pool, all times were recorded as new long course personal bests. Their times, converted to short course, were all close to PBs or improvements.
On the first day of competition, Donnie found himself in the fastest heats for the 200m freestyle and the 100m breaststroke. He came 4th in the 200m freestyle with a PB and a new Shetland Age Group record and qualified in sixth place for the final of the 100m breaststroke.
Returning for the evening’s finals, he improved both his time and his place, and in a closely fought race finished in fourth position. On day two, the 200m butterfly was a low point for Donnie, but excellent swims in the heats of the 100m backstroke and the 100m freestyle resulted in two more evening finals. In the backstroke he maintained his position, finishing in sixth.
In the 100m freestyle, like the previous day, he swam his final faster than the heats and held on to his position of third place, his time of 1.04.46 his second Shetland Age Group record of the meet.
On the last day of competition, Donnie had a very good 200m breaststroke with a time when converted to short course that provided him with his third Shetland Age Group record.
In the 200m backstroke race he finished sixth, and with a new personal best in the 100m butterfly came 10th.
Sarah had a mixed three days. On the Friday, her 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke were just outside her entry times. However she bounced back on day two, when in her 100m backstroke improved greatly on her position from ranked 30th to finishing a creditable 17th overall. In her 100 freestyle, she was delighted to then swim a PB of 1.11.26.
On the third day, the 200 breaststroke gave Sarah her next chance show what she’s capable of, and once again swam a PB. Her final two races were both swum well, although just slightly down on times.
The South Mainland swimmers and coaches would like to thank Mainland’s and NorthLink for their ongoing sponsorship and support.