Swimmers among the medals at Commonwealth Pool

Six Shetland swimmers were at the Scottish Gas National Open Swim­ming Championships last week at the newly refurbished Royal Com­monwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

The isles competitors were An­drea Strachan, 20, Amy Harper, 20, Callum MacGregor, 19, Felix Gif­ford, 18, Donnie Price, 16, and Meg­an Petursdottir, 15.

Several Shetland open and age group records were broken and a huge number of personal best times were achieved.

There was success on day one with Shetland’s first medal of the week in the women’s 4x200m free­style relay, in which Harper was part of the Edinburgh University team that took the gold and broke the Scottish club record.

Harper, taking part in her last competition as an Edinburgh Uni­ver­sity swimmer, finished fifth in the final of the 200m freestyle, won by Olympian Hannah Miley.

MacGregor, now training with City of Glasgow, produced a PB in the 50m butterfly and a season’s best in the 100m freestyle.

In the 50m backstroke Peturs­dottir’s fine performance resulted in a best time for long course.

Price, swimming for South Main­land ASC, began with a long course PB in the 200m breaststroke. Then, establishing the fastest long course time for a Shetland swimmer in the 1,500m freestyle, his eight-second PB time of 16.53.83 resulted in overall ninth place. He then went on to produce another PB in the 100m freestyle.

On day two there were more PBs and medal successes for Shetland, this time from Strachan in the 100m breaststroke. Also swimming for the Edinburgh University team, she qualified sec­ond fastest for the final with a personal best time, then in the final proceeded to record her second PB of the day to take the bronze in a time of 1.10.95. The top two were also Edinburgh University swim­mers Corrie Scott and Kathryn Johnstone.

McGregor did a long-course PB in the 200m butterfly and, swimming in City of Glasgow’s B team, was in good form to produce a personal best split time of 1.58.54 in his leg of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

Both Harper and Strachan made the final of the 50m freestyle in personal best times. Harper just missed out on the bronze medal and Strachan touched in fifth.

Making it to reserve for the 400m freestyle B final was Price after producing a PB in the heats.

Petursottir produced another great swim in the 50m freestyle, improving the PB she recently recorded at the junior inter-county.

On day three, due to other swimmers having withdrawn from the 800m freestyle, Price had been seeded in the fastest heat meaning an evening finals swim. First of all he put in a great swim in the 200m IM for a further PB and had two other races just outside entry times.

The evening session was witnessed by MSP Tavish Scott and his son Cameron who got to see almost all of Shetland’s swimmers at their absolute best.

The first success was once again from Strachan in the 50m breaststroke. She had qualified fastest for the final but didn’t manage to hold on to her place on this occasion and took the bronze, just out touched by the same team-mates who were medallists in the 100m.

Next to hit the water were Price and Gifford in the 800m freestyle and in lanes next to one another they had an incredible race. Gifford led in the early stages but Price pulled back by the middle of the race.

Gifford increased his pace in the last 150m, leaving Price a body length behind at the last turn, but a ferocious final 50m shortened the gap which resulted in Gifford finishing just 0.34 seconds ahead, giving them seventh and eighth places.

This was followed by further excitement when Strachan and Harper were part of the Edinburgh University team which broke the Scottish club record for the 4x100m freestyle relay, and were then presented their gold medals by Mr Scott.

MacGregor took the first leg for Glasgow’s B team in the men’s 4x100m freestyle, relay touching in a PB of 54.01 following on from earlier achievements of the day where he had produced a season’s best time in the 50m freestyle.

Petursdottir, whose backstroke has been very strong of late, took a sizeable chunk off her best time in the afternoon’s 100m backstroke heats.

Day four, the last day of the championships, saw even more fine swimming. One of the best performances was Petursdottir in the 50m butterfly where with a 31.30 she broke Lisa Odie’s long-standing Shetland age group record for 15-16 year olds.

Harper qualified for the final of the 100m freestyle in which she produced an excellent PB of 57.85 to touch in sixth place, only 1.1 seconds behind the gold medallist.

In the 100m butterfly MacGregor continued his run of season’s best performances and made it to reserve for the finals. Although he didn’t get a finals swim he bettered his time later during the 4x100m medley relay while swimming the fly leg for Glasgow’s B team.

Price produced another PB in the 200m freestyle with a 2.00.59. His time was fast enough to qualify for the B final and prior to that he achieved a PB in the 100m butterfly.

The last medals came in the women’s 4x100m medley relay. The Edinburgh University A team, where Harper swam the anchor leg (front crawl), won the gold, while the B team, where Andrea swam the breaststroke, secured silver.

The nationals were Harper’s last meet for the university team, which was awarded the Top Club Trophy. Head coach Chris Jones paid tribute to her contribution which was met with applause and cheers from the team.

The swimmers said they would like to thank all the volunteers and officials at the meet for so generously giving their time and making the event such a massive success. They also wish to thank Mr Scott and his son Cameron for lending their support to Saturday’s finals.


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