Medals, records and personal bests for East Lothian swimmers!
Thirteen swimmers from East Lothian travelled to Glasgow last week for the Scottish National Open Championships, held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre. It is an incredible achievement to even qualify for this event, as the standard is so high. A number of teams from all over the Britain chose to compete, with some well-known faces making an appearance!
Stephen Clegg (20) excelled in his events, breaking 2 Scottish records in the S13 category on the way. His first came in the 100m Free in a time of 57.93 which gave him a 6th place finish. His second record was in the 50m Free, where Stephen took Gold in a time of 26.20. Clegg also competed in the 100m backstroke, swimming a personal best in the heat, then again in the final taking his time to 1.05.14 and finishing in 4th place.
Christian Buchanan (S14 category) swam exceptionally well over the course of the meet. He had a number of personal bests in his events, making the final for each one. This was a new experience for the 14 year old, but handled the pressure well to finish 7th in the 200m IM, 6th in the 100m Breast, 7th in the 50m Free and 6th in the 200m Free.
Fraser Samuel (17) was outstanding over the 4 day meet, swimming personal best times in 8 out of his 10 events. Fraser displayed true determination in each of his events, especially the 800m Free where Fraser competed in the final, finishing in 7th place and breaking the 9 minute mark for the first time.
Charlie Smith (17) was another swimmer that had a great weekend. Racing in all three backstroke events and the 400m IM, he swam personal best times in all 4 of his events. The 400m IM was the biggest improvement, dropping an incredible 16 seconds from his previous best.
The girls also had a successful meet. Fiona Dickson (17) swam best times in the majority of her 7 events having made some dramatic improvements over the last few months. All her hard work is paying off, with a number of personal bests at each meet she attends.
Abbi Brindley (15) had a 100% record in her races, with 2 personal best times from 2 events. The biggest improvement came in the 400m Free where she dropped under the 5 minute mark for the first time, finishing in 4.55.13.
Sarah Anderson (14) excelled in her events. Competing in a range of events of differing distances and strokes, she produced personal best swims in the majority. Her biggest personal best came in the 200m Back, taking 6 seconds off her previous best.
Christen Russell (13) was the youngest member of the team, qualifying in the three breaststroke events which was a huge achievement at this level of competition. Christen competed brilliantly through the meet, swimming at her best and gaining valuable experience along the way.
Finlay Hart (14) swam in the 3 Fly events and the 400m IM, swimming a personal best in the 200m Fly and taking almost 3 seconds off his time.
Ann Balfour (14), Catrina McManus (14), Andrew McKnight (15) and Ruth Thomson (14) completed the East Lothian Team and all swam to their best in each of their events, taking experience and knowledge from the event.
Once the meet had finished and the results were analysed, the true extent of the swimmers success was realised. A total of 20 East Lothian records were smashed over the course of the meet, some which had stood for 16 years.
Record breakers were –
Catrina McManus – 200m Back
Ruth Thomson – 100m Breast and 200m Breast
Fiona Dickson – 50m Free, 100m Free, 200m Free, 400m Free, 50m Back, 50m Fly, and 100m Fly
Finlay Hart – 50m Fly, 100m Fly, 200m Fly and 400m IM
Fraser Samuel – 800m Free, 200m IM and 400m IM
Charlie Smith – 50m Back, 100m Back and 200m Back
Some of these records were previously held by coaches Bruce Halloran and Will Suayngam, wiping some of their times from the record books!!
Head Coach Bruce Halloran commented -
“ I am extremely happy with the progress that has been made by the team over the course of the season. The Scottish Nationals is a major Open meet and for ELST to have so many swimmers all at the younger end of the spectrum taking part was fantastic. The number of personal best times and team records is a testament to the work the athletes have put in over the course of the season….Well Done Guys!!!
A special mention must also go to former Tranent and East Lothian swimmer Mark Tully. Tully more recently a member of Edinburgh University Swim Team, resides in East Lothian and has been a role model to some of the children in this area.
Mark won two titles over the course of the meet, the first coming in the 50m Breast. His time was the fastest he had swum since the Commonwealth Games and his effort was recognised, as he received Best Performance of the meet based on FINA points. His second title came in the 100m Breast, usually an event that is slightly too long for Mark! He pushed himself to the limit, beating Olympian Michael Jamieson into second place.
This was a special finish for Mark, as he hangs up his goggles for the foreseeable future to focus on other things. However he hasn’t ruled out a return for the Gold Coast in 2018, whatever he decides we wish him all the best.