Six swimmers qualified for participation in the West District Long Course Open Group 4 Championships held at Tollcross Pool, Glasgow on the weekend of 5/6 June.
With a new format being tried out, the swimmers had a frantic time, swimming many heats and finals in quick succession. While this was a good competitive training opportunity it was not helpful in producing personal best times. However it did show the fitness levels of the competitors!
Eilidh McColm continued her good progress back to form with solid swims in 800 freestyle and 100 fly, while Hannah Marshall did produce improved times in 50metres breaststroke and fly – the latter after sharing a warm up lane with Commonwealth Games gold medallist hero Robbie Renwick.
Kyle Blincow came back to competition with a PB in 200 metres breaststroke and his brother Ryan powered into the final of the 100 metres breaststroke in a good long course time of 1 minute 17.61.
14 year olds Jamie Dominick and Graeme Brown had many events with Graeme hopping in and out the water every 15 minutes it seemed. Graeme achieved finals places in 200 fly and 200 breaststroke.
Elaine Sherwood made it through to the “Skins” finals of the 50 metres freestyle. In this event the 10 fastest out of the 80 swimmers in the heats go into a knockout competition with the 2 slowest in each round of 50 metres dashes being eliminated until only 2 are left for a head to head final round. Elaine made it through to the final 8 but a miscalculation of the starter’s timing cost her on the start and she went out in Round 2. However to have achieved sub-30 seconds on multiple swims shows her fitness is improving.
It was another test of toughness and strength for Eilidh, Jamie and Graeme on the following Saturday when they competed at the Lanarkshire Long Course meet for 12-15 year old swimmers – a meet being held to prepare the facility for the International Children’s Games being hosted in Lanarkshire in August. The refurbished Dollan Aqua Centre in East Kilbride was the venue – once again long course. The format was heats in the morning and finals in the afternoon.
Eilidh, swimming with 15 year olds, acquitted herself well in the heats with 3 good swims. Jamie and Graeme both qualified for 3 finals in the afternoon. These were held in rapid succession. Jamie’s 200 freestyle finals time of 2minutes 12 seconds was a great long course improvement for him, and his 100 fly (Bronze medal placing) and 50 freestyle finals showed the exhaustion from that first final but still were good technical swims. Meanwhile again Graeme had his 3 finals in such close proximity that he did not even have time to collect his silver medal from the 100 fly (a great gutsy time of 1 minute 5 against opposition from Leeds) before he was into his next final and then 5 minutes later into his next!
Work continues towards the Nationals at Tollcross at the end of this month where the top swimmers from the UK will be vying for times to take them forward to British and international championships.
It was a great relief to the swimmers to join the rest of the team on Sunday 12 June and travel through to Kilmarnock for the annual match against the host team and Kingston. Each swimmer was limited to 2 individual swims plus relays and the atmosphere was full of excitement as the Dunoon swimmers started off with a win from 8 year old Alan Stewart swimming in his first gala, and followed this with many wins and medals right through to the last race. As usual the dream relay team (Luke McIntye, Nicky Ritchie and Rhys and Evan Meyer McDonagh) finished with a great win, and although the strength and depth of he Kilmarnock team allowed them to win at the end of the day on points, they were run closer this year than ever before. There were some excellent swims from the Dunoon team, and the quality of the swims was rewarded by the male and female swimmer of the meet awards going to two Dunoon Swimmers – Jamie Dominick and Elaine Sherwood.
The remaining team members, who returned laden down with medals, were Isla McKinnon, Erin Malloch, Rachel Turnbull, Eilidh McColm, Katy Marshall, Kaitlyn Smith, Caitlin Kennedy, Jessica Smith, Hannah Marshall, Jacqueline McColm, Reece McIntyre, Andrew Tong, Nathan Robinson, Neil Lamont, Callum McKinnon, Ryan Blincow, Kyle Blincow, Graeme Brown and Sean Robinson.