SEVEN members of the Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) head down to Sheffield over the next two weeks to compete against the country’s top young swimmers at the British Age Group and Youth Championships.
The competition rounds off a very successful season for the group. All but one of the team members take part in early-morning training sessions with the Borders performance squad under coach Alex Jordan.
Kelso ASC’s 11-year-old swimmer Kirsty Armstrong has shown her incredible versatility in qualifying for an impressive nine individual events, including the 200m and 400m individual medleys.
Armstrong, who attends this competition for the first time, is well ranked and in top form, having recently broken the 11-year Scottish national short course record in the 200m breaststroke. She has broken 11 east district age group records so far this season, and picked up gold and bronze medals at the Scottish Schools Championships and Scottish Age Group Championships respectively.
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Hope, also from Kelso ASC, will contest a healthy range of individual events in Sheffield and is particularly highly ranked in the backstroke events. Hope will also form part of three BEST relay teams at the meet. She, too, has enjoyed record-breaking success this season with a Scottish national age group record and five east district records so far. Hope has qualified for Scottish Swimming’s gold squad next season and, as a result, probable support from the Scottish Institute of Sport will follow.
Amy Fraser, a 16-year-old from Gala ASC, has qualified for four individual events in this her fifth campaign at British national level. Fraser will also form part of all three BEST relay teams. She also recently completed an open water training and racing tour of France and Britain with the GB team and should perform well in Sheffield, thanks to a heavy training and racing workload on the tour.
Ryan Brown, Kelso ASC, will compete in the 13-years 200m butterfly at the championships.
Brown has recorded a personal best every time he’s hit the water for this event this season and he hopes to continue in this fashion at the final and biggest event. He has also qualified for Scottish Swimming’s silver squad, having achieved 16 qualifying times, but only requiring four.
Teviotdale ASC member, 17-year-old Scott Wilcox, will travel to Sheffield for the second time to compete at British national level.
Wilcox, who has qualified for the 100m and 200m breaststroke, will go into the meet in the best form of his career, having trained in consummate fashion this season.
Wilcox’s sister, 15-year-old Jessica, also of Teviotdale ASC, will take part in all three relay teams to contest the 4x100 freestyle, 4x100 medley and 4x200 freestyle relays, having narrowly missed qualifying times for the individual events. While her teammates will be taking it easy post competition, Wilcox will be working hard to prepare for the UK School Games team. She was selected for the Scottish team for outstanding performances earlier in the season.
It’s exciting times for Eyemouth ASC’s 18-year-old Rebekah Wilson, who will compete at British level for the first time. She will compete in the three relays, while also contesting the girls’ 17 and over 200m breaststroke.
All bar one of these swimmers are members of the SBC-funded Athlete Support Programme (ASP) with the remaining candidate, Kirsty Armstrong, already in line for ASP support next year when she turns 13.