Young Borderers do their level BEST

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THE Borders Elite Swimming Team (BEST) performance squad were on fire in the second round of the East District Age-group Championships held at Bathgate, lifting a total of 10 medals – five gold, four silver and a bronze.

The group also chalked up records and near-missed records, amassing a rate of almost 90 per cent in personal bests over the weekend.

Kelso ASC member Ryan Brown smashed the Scottish age group record in the 15 years 200m butterfly on the way to a near-perfect swim, which also clinched the gold medal.

Brown again won gold in the 200m backstroke, with an East District age-group record. The all-rounder also managed to claim bronze in the 200m freestyle and was placed fourth in the 200m breaststroke.

Kirsty Armstrong, 13, headed the field in the 200m butterfly, also in East District age group record time. With excellent execution, the British age group champion missed the Scottish age group record in this event by just 0.4 seconds.

The Kelso ASC member also claimed silver in her three remaining events – the 200m freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.

Armstrong’s Kelso ASC teammate, Lucy Hope, continued the record-breaking, gold medal-winning trend in the 16 years and over 200m backstroke. Hope finished first with East District age group, junior and senior records, missing the Scottish age group record by a mere three-tenths of a second.

The specialist backstroker impressed further with silver in the 200m freestyle, fourth in the 200m butterfly and a healthy six-second PB in the 200m breaststroke.

Morgan Anderson was the fourth Kelso ASC member to climb the top step of the podium.

Anderson secured gold in the 15 years 200m breaststroke and was also placed fifth in the 200m freestyle final.

Fifteen-year-old Gregor Swinney and Finlay Dewar, 13, both of Peebles ASC, and Matthew Berlansky, 15, (Gala ASC) competed in their first East District finals – the trio recording substantial PBs in most of their events.

Kathryn Swinney, 13, of Peebles ASC, and Kelso ASC’s Jenny Adams, also 13, chalked up seven PBs collectively, with both missing their first East District final by just one place.

Rob Czajka, 15, of Gala ASC, also contributed to the team’s healthy haul of personal best performances, as did Morvern Anderson, 12, and Amy Richardson, 11, both of Kelso ASC.

With one round of the competition to go, Kelso ASC sit third on the overall team point score.

The club earned the bronze-medal slot last year also, and has impressed by matching that result so far as this year’s new point-scoring system appears to disadvantage smaller outfits.

Despite Kelso’s comparatively small membership, they have done well to figure so strongly in Scotland’s most competitive district.

z TEVIOTDALE ASC held their club championships over two weeks at Teviotdale Leisure Centre, followed by a party and presentation night at Wilton Bowling club.

Swimmers ranging from seven to 17 participated – and personal bests just kept coming.

Awards went to: 8/u boys/girls – overall winner, Sean McMichan; runners-up, Kirsty Wood, Ryan McMichan and Sophie Angus; 10/u girls – 1, Kate Arnott; 2, Alex Turnbull; 3, Amy Johnston; boys 10/u – 1, Vilmantas Noreika; 2, Charlie Jack; 12/u girls’ cup – 1, Emma Suddon; 2, Lindsey Jack; 3, Amy McMichan; 11/under 200m freestyle mixed open and 11/under 200m i/m mixed open cups – Lindsey Jack; 13/o girls’ open, 200m freestyle, 200m i/m, 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle were all won by Jessica Wilcox; runners-up, Rachel Sharp, Kristie Waugh, Aylish and Ellie Paisley; 13/o boys and 800m freestyle – Donald Gray; 400m freestyle, Vilmantas Noreika; runners-up, Charlie Jack and Donald Gray.

This year, some of the younger swimmers took on the older ones in the 400m and 800m freestyle, a huge achievement for which they were acknowledged.

Runner-up certificates were awarded to Lindsay Jack, Mairead Cottrell, Emma Suddon, Alex Turnbull, Jenny Sharp, Amy McMichan and Sarah Johnston. Three special awards were given for commitment, good attitude to training and success at competition throughout the year – Amy Johnston, Vilmatas Noreika and Emma Suddon.

Donald Gray, at the British Disability Championships in Sheffield last weekend, landed two golds and two silvers.