Since early May Dunoon swimmers have been travelling the country competing in various meets at different levels.
The first weekend in May saw 4 younger swimmers at the Haddington Total Swimmers Meet held at the Prestonpans Pool. Kayleigh Hartley-Watson and Rachel Turnbull produced fabulous best times in all of their races, while Neil Lamont just missed out on breaking the 30 seconds barrier in the 50 metres freestyle. Young Luke McIntyre gained 6th placing in both 50 metres butterfly and 50 metres freestyle. Luke and Rachel also showed off their dancing talents (Gangnam Style!) in the poolside mass participation during the wait for the warm up.
On the following weekend Jamie Dominick, Elaine Sherwood and Ryan Blincow all achieved National Championships qualifying times at the West District Open and Celtic Tri-nations meet held at East Kilbride. They were joined by Eilidh McColm who was making a first step back into competition in the 100 metres butterfly.
After 2 free weekends, twelve swimmers competed in the inaugural Rutherglen Rascals Meet held at the Sir Matt Busby Centre in Bellshill. With coach Craig Anderson in charge, there was plenty of football and fun to fill in the gaps between races and the swimmers performed really well. Kyle Martin, Joshua Colquhoun, Mollaidh Martin, Finlay Martin, Ross Colquhoun, Reece McIntyre, Orla Colquhoun and Rowan Mobeck all swam to personal best times. Meanwhile Rhys Meyer-McDonagh had a great 200 metres butterfly swim to win silver, Nicky Ritchie had a huge personal best improvement in the 200 metres breaststroke to gain the bronze medal, Rachel Turnbull turned on the speed in 50 metres backstroke and butterfly to win bronze medals, and Luke Mcintyre, once again in multiple swims, won 1 silver and 3 bronze in the 50 metres backstroke, 200 metres backstroke, 50 metres butterfly and 50 metres freestyle respectively.
Finally, the Scottish National Open Championships were held at the newly refurbished Tollcross Pool in Glasgow this past weekend. The pool is the venue for the Commonwealth Games events next year and the change is startling. With extra seating banked up above the new 6 lane 50 metre swim-down and warm up pool the atmosphere is quite exciting already – and it is easy to imagine how electric it will be when it is filled for the Games and how much that will help our home swimmers.
Hannah Miley was winning everything she entered – as usual – but some good younger swimmers are coming through to challenge the established ones too.
Dunoon’s 3 representatives, buoyed up by the atmosphere and fully focussed on their races, produced best times in every race.
Ryan Blincow, swimming in what he says is to be his last ever swimming event, took out his heat of the 50 metres breaststroke and beat all the younger and probably fitter swimmers in a time of 33.82 seconds – 2 seconds faster than his qualifying time from the previous month.
Elaine Sherwood, now aged 23, showed that she can still improve, with a time of 37.74 in her 50 metres breaststroke, also finishing in the front, and 32.10 in the 50 metres butterfly – just losing out on first place in her heat.
Jamie Dominick had 3 events. Starting off well in the 50 metres butterfly he smashed his time to come home in 28.34 seconds. The following day he stepped up the distance to 200 metres (butterfly again) and from the outside lane he improved his time to 2 minutes 28 .55 seconds, pulling himself up to 3rd placing overall out of the afternoon heats. His final event was the glamorous splash and dash – 50 metres freestyle – where only a second separated over 40 swimmers in the entry times. With his start a bit slower than the others in his heat, Jamie still managed to bring his time down to 26.46 seconds – a great long course best, and again pulling his ranking up hugely.
These results have come at the end of a lot of work in the pool. The swimmers are back in hard training this week having been tapered for their competitions. Over the school holidays they will continue training 3 two hour sessions every week with the exception of the last 2 weeks in July when they will have a well earned break.
Immediately after the summer they will be thrown into team competitions with the Kilmarnock Centenary Gala on 18 August, West Distract Sprints on Cowal Games Weekend, and in September, the youngsters have a team gala in the Borders.