Swimmers return with medals galore

Felix Gifford of Delting Dolphins won the overall 13/14 boys’ North District championship last weekend at Inverness.

On his way to the championship he won three golds, three silvers and one bronze medal. He also broke five Shetland age group records and two open records.

Felix started his campaign on Saturday with a silver in the 200m butterfly. He then swam a good heat in the 100m freestyle to qualify fastest in the final that evening. In the 200m individual medley (IM) he qualified in third place for the final. However, the decision was made to withdraw him so he could concentrate on the finals of the 100m butterfly and freestyle. He finished the session with silver in the 400m freestyle.

The afternoon session saw Felix swimming a great 100m butterfly to again reach the final with the fastest time. The 200m breaststroke was next in which he swam a good PB to come eighth.

The evening session saw the start of the finals. First for Felix was the 100m butterfly where he improved his entry and heat time to win gold. Next he took to the water for the 100m freestyle. He turned at the 50m in second place in a time of 27.14, but he clawed his way back in the second 50m to win gold in a new Shetland age group record time and British youth qualifying time of 54.99.

The following day Felix broke the Shetland age group record time in the 100m backstroke with 1.06.07 to reach the final. His next event, the 200m freestyle, saw him destroy the field to win the gold in a new Shetland age group and open record time of 2.00.13, only a nail’s length away from breaking the two-minute mark. His last event of the morning saw him break the age group and open records for the 800m freestyle 9.01.09 to win the silver medal.

The fifth session was probably Felix’s least favourite. In the 100m breaststroke he just touched out team-mate Jake Swanson for a place in the finals. In the 200m backstroke he again broke the Shetland record 2.24.27 to come fifth. He then swam the 400m IM where he won the bronze.

In the evening’s finals Felix swam well to come fifth in the 100m backstroke and eighth in the 100m breaststroke. At the end of the competition he was presented with the Jean Muir Memorial Trophy for being the best overall 13/14 boy competitor.

Tom Raikes, swimming in the very competitive 15-and-over age group, also had a good championship. In the 400m freestyle he took 13 seconds from his PB to break the 17-and-over Shetland record with 4.23.97. Sunday saw Tom swimming his best events, starting with the 100m butterfly where he did well to reach the final. His 100m freestyle also saw him qualify for the final.

In the final session Tom swam very well in the 100m butterfly, improving his heat time. In the 100m freestyle Tom attacked from the start, improving his heat time by over a second to win a well-deserved bronze.

Arwen Raikes followed her brother’s example, putting in some excellent performances in the 11/12 age group. In the 100m freestyle she took three seconds from her time with 1.07.66 to reach the final.

Arwen also swam well in the 200m freestyle, taking four seconds from her time to come seventh. In the final of the 100m freestyle she improved her time again to finish fourth in 1.07.10.

On Sunday Arwen swam well in the100m butterfly to qualify for the final in a PB of 1.20.28. After a long weekend she swam well to come seventh.

Jessika Swanson, swimming in the 13/14 age group, did well in the 200m butterfly to slice half a second from her time. She then powered her way through the 100m freestyle in a PB of 1.05.22. In the 100m butterfly she took one second from her time.

On Sunday Jessika swam well in the 200m freestyle to take four seconds from her time. Her final eventwas the 400m freestyle which saw her again take four seconds from her time, ensuring that she did a PB in all her events.

Jake Swanson was also swimming well. In the 200m IM he took three seconds from his time and he did likewise in the 100m butterfly, showing his great improvement in the stroke. In the 200m breaststroke he came eighth, taking six seconds from his time, while in the 200m freestyle he improved by four seconds.

In Jake’s best event, the 100m breaststroke, he was unlucky to be edged out of the final by Felix by only 0.04 of a second to be first reserve for the final, having improved his time by two seconds. Jake left his greatest improvement until last, taking an incredible 17 seconds off his 400m IM time and like his sister he improved all his times in this competition.

The final Delting swimmer was Zai Vessey who was competing in the backstroke events. In the 100m backstroke he improved his PB in a very good swim.

The four boys also competed in two relay events. They came sixth in both but it was an enjoyable experience to swim a relay at this level of competition.

Shetland Amateur Competitive Swimming Club also had a suc­cessful weekend at the Inverness event.

Representing the club were 16-year-old Andrea Strachan, 12- year-old Megan Petursdottir and 11-year-old Sarah Williamson, and between them they earned one silver medal and 15 personal bests.

The silver medal came in the very last event on Sunday evening for Andrea Strachan, competing in the over 15 event, one the most exciting races of the weekend. The heat in the morning saw Andrea and training partner Amy Harper qualifying for the final.

In the final Amy got off to the best start and led by almost half a body length at the first turn. She held the lead until the last 25 metres where three girls all turned together with nothing to separate them. With Eleanor Brooke from Stonehaven now in the mix the three girls made a mad dash for the finish.

Eleanor got the touch by one 100th of a second ahead of Andrea with Amy only a tenth of second behind that. All three girls finished in under one minute, new territory for Andrea.

Andrea also improved her times in the 200 IM, finishing in fourth place. In the 100m backstroke she qualified for the final with a two-second PB and improved her time again in the final to finish in fourth place with only half a second separating second to fourth. Andrea also finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke final.

Sarah Williamson, competing in the 11-12 age group, was in outstanding form. In the 200m breaststroke she got off to a great start. After the first 100 metres not only was she in second place, but she had improved her 50m and 100m PBs in the process. Unfortunately she was unable keep up the tremendous pace and she finished fifth overall.

In the 100m breaststroke Sarah was the only 11-year-old to qualify for the final. She had achieved a PB in the heats and in the final to finish fourth.

Megan Petursdottir, competing in the 11-12 age group, continued her good form from the Elgin meet two weeks ago. She reached the final of the 100m fly where she finished sixth with five-second PB. She also improved her time in the 200m IM, 200m and 100m backstroke, and 100m breaststroke.

The Lerwick Amateur Swimming Club competitors at the competition were Amy Harper, 16, Callum MacGregor, 16, Craig Nicolson, 14, and Megan Nicolson, 12.

On day one Amy came fourth in the 200m backstroke while Megan made the final of the 100m freestyle, improving two seconds on her entry time. Callum slightly improved on his entry time in the 100m breaststroke. Craig improved by one second in the 100m freestyle and five seconds in the 200 IM, making the final each time. He finished the morning four seconds better and in sixth place in the 400m freestyle.

In session two Megan took four seconds off her 200m freestyle time and equalled her 200m breaststroke time. Callum took two seconds off in the same event while Craig had a four second improvement in the butterfly and won silver in the 200m breaststroke, setting a new Shetland record.

The evening finals put Megan sixth in the 100m, Craig sixth in the 100m freestyle and improving his 200m IM time, and Amy won bronze in the 100m backstroke.

On day two Amy was a reserve for 100m butterfly, gained a new best time in the 400m IM and took the bronze in the 100m freestyle. Megan was fourth fastest for the 100m backstroke final, made up four seconds and was fifth in the 400m IM. Craig gained three seconds in the 100m backstroke and was fourth in the 200m freestyle.

In the afternoon session Megan qualified for the final of the 200m IM and Craig made the final of the 100m breaststroke, breaking the Shetland age group record in the process. Amy’s was the fastest qualifying time in the 100m freestyle.

The final session started with the 400m freestyle and Amy swam steadily to a bronze. Megan managed fifth in the 100m butterfly and Craig won the bronze. Amy held her time in the 100m freestyle to come third, winning her fourth medal of the championships.

A spokesman said the Lerwick club was grateful to NorthLink for help with the travel costs.


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