A SMALL team of just eight swimmers from the region have competed against Scotland’s best and returned triumphant.
The Borders Elite Swimming Team (BEST) Performance Squad was in action at the Scottish Short Course (25m) Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool and brought home four gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
Members of the performance team also smashed three Scottish Age Group Records and nine East District Age Group, Junior and Senior Records.
Having recently broken through for his first Scottish Age Group Record, Kelso ASC’s Ryan Brown got busy again rewriting the record books. The 14-year-old won gold in Scottish record time in the 15&U 400m individual medley. He won gold again as Scottish Junior Champion (16&U) in the open 400m individual medley lowering the Scottish mark he had set earlier in the 15&U event. The in-form youngster went on to set another national record in his pet event, the 200m butterfly, before slashing a massive 20 seconds off a 22-year-old East District Age Group record on his way to winning silver in the 15&U 1500m freestyle (quickest 14 year old). To round off a terrific day the youngster finished off with another East District record in the 200m backstroke, missing the national mark by a fraction of a second.
Brown’s Kelso teammate, Lucy Hope, 15, won bronze in the open 50m freestyle, almost breaking the 26-second barrier for the first time. The performance also earned her the gold medal as Scottish Junior Champion, along with East District Age Group and Junior Records (in heat and final). Hope also smashed the East District Age Group, Junior and Senior Records on her way to a fourth-place finish in the open 50m backstroke. She narrowly missed the podium on two more occasions, placing fourth in both the open 100m and 200m backstroke events.
Thirteen-year-old Kirsty Armstrong was the third member of Kelso ASC to climb the podium. She took gold in her pet event, the 14&U 400m individual medley, and claimed bronze in the 14&U 100m individual medley. Armstrong was the quickest 13-year-old in both of these events, and most of the 11 swims she contested over the weekend.
Achieving a considerable number of PB’s between them were team members: Matthew Berlansky, 15, Gala ASC; Kathryn Swinney, 13, and Gregor Swinney, 15, both of Peebles ASC; and Lizzie Clelland, 13, and Morgan Anderson, 15, both of Kelso ASC
The Borders female relay team performed well, with Kathryn Swinney, Lizzie Clelland, Kirsty Armstrong and Lucy Hope placing as follows: 4th junior team, Open 4x50m medley relay; 5th junior team, Open 4x50m freestyle relay; and 5th junior team, Open 4x100m freestyle relay.
Borders Performance Coach, Alex Jordan, told TheSouthern: “I’m very pleased with how the team fared at this competition.
“While everybody put in fine performances, I felt Ryan Brown was outstanding for the team. It was very satisfying as coach to have Ryan and Kirsty dominate their respective age group 400m individual medley, a feat which hopefully demonstrates the quality of our programme as well as both swimmers’ all-round class.
“Lucy’s performances were exceptional considering her preparation is only in the formative stages for a peak performance not planned until March 2013.”