IT’S QUALITY not quantity that counts and in that particular department the Borders Development Swimming Squad has it in abundance.
In the recent East District Age Group Championships, the team bagged an incredible haul of 36 medals and finished with 10 more golds than last year despite being down in numbers. Borders performance manager Alex Jordan and his team now have their sights set firmly on national glory.
The next big step for the squad is the Scottish Age Group Championships at Sunderland Aquatics Centre from March 31 to April 4. Around 60 teams will compete for honours and last year the Borders squad took fifth place overall – a tough target to beat, according to Jordan, who told us: “We punch well above our weight in terms of competing against bigger district squads, but we have a relatively small group compared to most other areas. What we do have, though, is a lot of commitment from the swimmers who train hard and race extremely well.
“The quality is what gets us the points. Where we do struggle however is in numbers, we only have 13 members while some of the other teams have over 60, so realistically a top-10 finish at the Scottish would be a major achievement.”
The Swim Team Borders district campaign was rounded off in style with an eye-catching final charge at Bathgate that took their overall medal tally after three rounds to 17 gold, 12 silver and seven bronze medals, and propelled Kelso Amateur Swimming Club to third in the team event in a field of Scotland’s top 20 swimming clubs.
Kelso’s Kirsty Armstrong starred with an impressive performance that netted her three gold medals, along with a silver and a bronze. Unsurprisingly, Armstrong was named top 10-12-year-old female for the three-round series. Her efforts in smashing the East District Age Group record for the 200m individual medley by almost four seconds also earned her the award for best performance at the meet.
Kirsty, 11, joined the Kelso club when she was six and has been part of the Borders squad for the last year and a half.
She told TheSouthern: “Breaking the record and getting the top performance medal was just amazing. That was one of my goals and I was just so pleased that everything went right on the day.”
Ryan Brown, also Kelso ASC, followed suit with a dominant display in the 200m individual medley. He also won gold in the 100m butterfly and bronze in both the 100m backstroke and breaststroke events. And Morgan Anderson (Kelso ASC) won double gold with fine performances in the boys’ 100m freestyle and breaststroke, and finished fourth in the final of the 200m individual medley.
Lucy Hope (Kelso ASC) claimed the number one spot on the podium with a top performance in the 15 years’ 100m backstroke and took silver in the 100m freestyle.
Gala ASC swimmer, Amy Fraser, rounded off the team tally with bronze in the 16 years and over 100m freestyle. Teviotdale ASC’s Jessica Wilcox was unlucky to finish without a medal, with two near-flawless performances in the very close finals of the 100m backstroke (fourth) and 100m freestyle (fifth).
Swim Team Borders members Kristie Waugh, Kathryn Swinney, Lizzie Clelland and Matthew Berlansky all narrowly missed finals in great performances that brought them quality PBs, while Gregor Swinney, Robbie Czajka and Jenny Adams also did their clubs proud with fine performances and a clutch of significant best times.