“BRILLIANT” and “awesome” are not the words you would expect to hear from the coach of a team recording its first non-medal winning performance in recent memory.
But that’s how Borders performance swimming coach Alex Jordan described his team’s feat at the British Gas Scottish National Short Course Championships.
Jordan explained: “I have been working with these swimmers for the past two-and-a-half years and in that time I cannot remember the team coming away without a medal from a single competition up to and including Scottish national open level.
“However, I couldn’t be more pleased with their performances at this meet.
“In terms of swimming to their potential, addressing weaknesses, positive racing and preparing for future success, the team did a really amazing job.”
The Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) – which includes ordinary club members as well as members of the region’s performance squad, Swim Team Borders – was in action for three long days of competition at Glasgow’s Tollcross Park Leisure Centre.
The team showed its depth with strong performances in the female relay events. A young BEST relay team placed a brilliant fifth in the open 4x100m freestyle and ninth in the open 4x50m freestyle. The BEST 16-and-under 4x50m medley relay team was also the 12th-placed open entry and second-placed junior team. Representing the Borders in the relay teams were Kristie Waugh and Jessica Wilcox (both Teviotdale ASC), Lucy Hope and Chloe Mitchell (both Kelso ASC), Rebekah Wilson (Duns ASC) and Amy Fraser (Gala ASC).
Perhaps the standout individual performer for the team was Lucy Hope, who competed in 13 individual and three relay events and recorded 10 personal best times.
At just 13, Amy – also a member of Swim Team Borders – contested two A finals for the first time at Scottish open level. She placed seventh and was the quickest 13-and-under competitor in both the open 50m backstroke (new East District age group record) and open 100m backstroke. She also contested a number of B finals and was the first placed 13-and-under competitor in a further five events.
Sixteen-year-old Amy Fraser finished 10th in the open 200m butterfly A final, and fourth in both the open 400m individual medley B final (personal best time) and open 400m freestyle B final.
Rebekah Wilson, 17, of Duns ASC, enjoyed a successful meet, achieving three PBs and making four B finals. She was fourth in the open 50m breaststroke B final, seventh in both the open 100m and 200m breaststroke B finals, and 10th in the open 50m butterfly B final.
Jessica Wilcox, 15, contested open B finals in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle (quickest 16-and-under competitor), 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke, and recorded significant PBs in three of these events.
Jessica’s 17-year-old brother, Scott, also of Teviotdale ASC, placed fourth in the open 50m breaststroke B final with a solid PB. He also contested the open 100m and 200m breaststroke B finals, ending seventh and fourth respectively with two very impressive performances.
Rounding off a successful meet for the team with many PBs and very competitive individual swims were Euan Johnston (Duns ASC), Kristie and Katie Waugh (Teviotdale ASC), Morgan Anderson, Ryan Brown, Chloe Mitchell and Alex Thompson (all Kelso ASC).
Coach Jordan acknowledged the much-appreciated and significant contribution BEST receives through the help of volunteer club coaches Katrina Hope and Caroline Brown, both of whom regularly support the team at competitions and training.
Both are members of the Kelso ASC coaching team and receive ongoing mentoring and support through the initiatives of the Borders Performance Development Programme.