Swimmers on crest of a wave with flood of medals

Members of the Borders Elite Swimming Team who competed at the National Age Group Championships last week. Back row from left: Robbie Czajka, Gregor Swinney, Amy Fraser, Kathryn Swinney, Jessica Wilcox, Morgan Anderson. Front: Lizzie Clelland, Kirsty Armstrong, Kristie Waugh, Jenny Adams and Ryan Brown. Pictured separately Lucy Hope.
Members of the Borders Elite Swimming Team who competed at the National Age Group Championships last week. Back row from left: Robbie Czajka, Gregor Swinney, Amy Fraser, Kathryn Swinney, Jessica Wilcox, Morgan Anderson. Front: Lizzie Clelland, Kirsty Armstrong, Kristie Waugh, Jenny Adams and Ryan Brown. Pictured separately Lucy Hope.
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THERE’S just no stopping the Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST), writes Fiona Scott.

Alex Jordan’s squad have just returned from Sunderland having excelled at the 2012 Scottish National Age Group Championships which ran from March 31 to April 4.

Lucy Hope.

Lucy Hope.

The small team claimed an impressive medal haul of 11 gold, three silver and five bronze, delighting the Borders-based coach and everyone who helps with the training of the youngsters. Last year’s tally was two gold, two silver and four bronze,

“The team have worked extremely hard to get where they are and the results from Sunderland were outstanding considering that, compared to the rest of the clubs involved, we have such a small group,” Jordan told TheSouthern.

“We have even fewer members now than we did last year as a couple of our swimmers went of to university so it’s an even greater achievement. I’m absolutely thrilled with the result.”

Kelso ASC member, Kirsty Armstrong, won an incredible eight Scottish titles from 10 individual events. In her remaining two events she placed third and fifth (third Scot). Armstrong smashed three Scottish National 12 years records and seven East District Age Group Records on the way.

Armstrong’s Kelso teammate, Lucy Hope, bagged three gold and two silver medals. Her win in the 15 years 200m backstroke earned her the award for best performance by a girl aged 16 and under. Hope broke one senior, two junior (16 and under) and two age group East District records.

Ryan Brown won his first Scottish National Club medal at the competition, managing to claim a total of five in all (one silver and four bronze). The Kelso swimmer’s times ensured he qualifies for t Institute of Sport support next season.

Teviotdale ASC’s Jessica Wilcox reached the final in all five of her events finishing just outside the medals in the 16 years 200m backstroke, placing fourth.

Kelso ASC’s Morgan Anderson also finished fourth in one of the four national finals he contested.

The following swimmers contested national finals also: Teviotdale ASC’s Kristie Waugh (one final) and Scott Wilcox (two finals), and Gala ASC’s Amy Fraser (five finals).

Brown, Fraser and Wilcox are members of the Borders Athlete Support Programme (ASP) while Hope is supported by the Scottish Institute of Sport and the ASP.

Kathryn Swinney, Rob Czajka and Charlie Lochhead all recorded personal best times in individual events while Peebles ASC member Gregor Swinney, and Kelso ASC members Emma Paterson, Lizzie Clelland and Jenny Adams all contributed to the team with fine performances in the relays.

Rick Kenney, chairman of the Borders Swimming Management Group, said: “These results show the tremendous improvements which have been made by our Borders swimmers generally, and in the last year in particular.

“Borders performance coach, Alex Jordan, and the local coaches work hard to develop our swimmers’ standards and these excellent results are testimony to their dedication and long hours.

“I would also like to thank our kit sponsor, GMB Scotland – SGN E41 Branch for their generosity.”