Some of Shetland’s top swimmers took on Scotland’s best at the weekend in the National Age Group Championships, returning home with nine medals and four Scottish titles, with Sarah Williamson of the Shetland club winning two golds and Donnie Price (South Mainland) and Felix Gifford (Delting Dolphins) one apiece.
On day one Sarah Williamson swam brilliantly in the 10/12 years 100 metres breaststroke to reach the final as the fastest qualifier. Team mate Megan Petursdottir was next on the blocks in the 13 years age group and also reached the evening’s final. Andrea Strachan (Shetland) also was on fine form to reach the finals and on her way achieved a PB and a Shetland record.
In the gruelling 200m butterfly Felix Gifford easily won through to the final in a new Shetland record time. The older girls were up next in the 200m IM and both Andrea and Amy Harper produced PBs and Andrea claimed a Shetland record.
Donnie Price had a great swim in the 100m freestyle to reach the final in a new PB time. In the 15 years group both Felix and Craig Nicolson (Lerwick) reached the final, Craig in a new PB. Callum Macgregor (LK) also swam well to reach the very difficult 16/18 age group final.
The last event of the session saw Amy Harper reach the final of the 100m backstroke and Andrea swim a PB. The morning results saw all the Shetland swimmers reach at least one final – a great achievement.
The afternoon brought the distance events and Donnie took to the water in the 1500m freestyle. In his usual style he started off steadily and increased the pace as the race continued. He ploughed his way through the field, really showing his domination of this event. Timed to perfection, Donnie touched to take Shetland’s first gold of the championship.
Felix then took on the 1500m freestyle and managed a good fourth place in his age group.
In the evening finals Sarah Williamson was first up for Shetland and she took control right from the start. Sarah demonstrated great breaststroke to pull a good distance away from the opposition to win gold in a new Shetland age group record.
Megan Petursdottir swam in the next final and stayed with the rest to come a good 10th.
The experienced Andrea Strachan was Shetland’s third breast stroke finalist. Attacking the race from the start, she swam a new PB and record to come fourth.
In the 200m butterfly Felix broke the Shetland record to finish fourth, while in the 100m freestyle final Donnie swam another PB to come fifth in the 13 years age group.
The 15 years final saw two Shetland swimmers competing. Craig Nicolson swam to a creditable 10th place while Felix attacked from the start, setting a Shetland age group record to take the gold.
Callum Macgregor also attacked his final, pushing himself all the way again to a deserved bronze in a difficult age group. The last final was Amy’s backstroke where she swam well to come ninth.
Friday started with the girls’ 200m freestyle where Amy finished a creditable 13th and Andrea set a new PB.
Felix swam a good 200m backstroke to be the first reserve for the evening session in this event.
Sarah took to the water next in the 200m breaststroke and again dominated the event to be the fastest ranked swimmer in the final. Megan Petursdottir also reached the evening finals while Andrea completed the trio of girl breaststrokers to reach the finals.
In the boys’ 100m butterfly Donnie swam a new PB, Felix reached the final in a new Shetland record and Calum Macgregor was on his PB.
In the afternoon both Donnie and Felix competed in the 400m IM. Donnie was on his PB and Felix finished sixth.
Amy was the only Shetland girl to tackle the 800m freestyle and she picked off swimmer after to swimmer to touch in a new Shetland record and win the silver.
The evening finals proved very exciting, with Sarah leading the 200m breaststroke from the start. In the last 50m Sarah changed up a gear and proved she was far the best breaststroker in the age group in Scotland, picking up a second Scottish gold.
Megan Petursdottir came a creditable eighth while Andrea came 10th in her age group.
In the 100m butterfly Felix was neck and neck with the leaders and with a strong finish broke the Shetland record to win bronze, just 0.2 seconds away from his second championship gold.
Saturday’s heats saw Donnie reach second reserve spot for his 100m breaststroke, being on his PB.
The 15 years age group saw Craig, Jake Swanson (DD) and Felix all reach the final, Jake producing a PB. The boys then took to the water for the 200m IM and Donnie gained a PB.
Felix broke the Shetland record to reach the final while Craig was not far behind, also making this final.
The girls then swam the 100m freestyle and Sarah gained a PB. Arwen Raikes (DD), swimming for the first time in a national event, was also on her PB.
Amy and Andrea swam really well, both of them reaching the finals in the evening, while in the 100m backstroke Felix reached his third final of the day.
The afternoon saw Donnie pace his 400m freestyle to perfection in a new PB and a well-deserved silver medal, proving he is a force in to be reckoned with in the distance events in Scotland. Felix also swam well to come sixth.
In the evening three Shetland boys lined up in the 15 years 100m breaststroke final, a great achievement for the isles. Craig swam a very determined race to come sixth in a new age group record, Jake took seventh place and Felix came ninth.
Felix then went on to swim the 200m IM where he lowered the Shetland record again to come seventh with Craig finishing 10th.
The girls’ 100m freestyle saw Amy break the Shetland record to come fifth and Andrea was a good 10th in the same event. A very tired Felix swam his last final of the session, the 100m backstroke, and finished ninth.
The boys started day four on Sunday with the 200m freestyle which saw Donnie reach the final in his age group. Felix easily reached the final in his with Craig second reserve and Callum swimming a PB and a new Shetland age group record.
Donnie did well in the 200m breaststroke to take the second reserve position in a new PB and both Craig and Felix reached the final. In the afternoon session Amy finished eighth in a tough 400m IM but it was Donnie who stole the limelight again. With his brilliantly paced 800m freestyle he took the silver medal with some style in a new PB.
The last evening of finals saw just the boys competing. In the 200m freestyle Donnie did a PB to come fifth while Felix slightly got the pacing wrong but still managed sixth. In the last final, the 200m breaststroke, Craig powering off from the beginning to finish fifth while Felix came ninth.
A spokeswoman said: “The weekend’s events were a great achievement for Shetland swimming, and with so much talent the future can only look good for this sport.”