In February 2005, 20-year-old Peebles swimmer Lauren Greenshields made the headlines in The Southern after being crowned Scottish 200m breaststroke champion.
Ten years on, following a stint in New Zealand, the once-reluctant water baby, now Lauren Jocelyn, is back in the Borders to share some of her vast experience with the region’s latest batch of up-and-coming aquatic stars.
And following the recent East District Age Group Championships, held in three stages at Glenrothes and Edinburgh, her teachings certainly appear to be producing results.
A sports coaching and development graduate from Telford College, Lauren has taken up the post of interim Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) coach, vacated by Aussie Alex Jordan late last year, and plans to apply for the permanent position when it is advertised by Borders Sport and Leisure.
Having worked alongside Alex latterly, Lauren is very familiar with his coaching ethos, and while she is carrying on with his highly successful plan of action, she is also bringing her own personality into the role.
“I had previously helped Alex out when the swimming academy first started up and when I came back from New Zealand he asked if I would come along and help,” she explained.
“I have been teaching swimming at Peebles for Borders Sport and Leisure and then I was asked to step in as interim coach with BEST and I was more than happy to do so. It has been just amazing to be back on the swimming circuit in Scotland.”
At the recent championsips, Lauren’s new protégés achieved 24 medals and reached a massive total of 76 finals over the three one-day championship rounds. Special mention should go to Kelso swimmers Erica Coupek and Lizi Clelland. As well as coming out second-top girl in the 12-and-under category, Erica also won the Andrew Taylor Trophy, awarded annually to the boy and the girl in the youngest age group who has achieved the highest FINA points for an individual swim in the East District Age Group. Having amassed a haul of seven medals over the three stages, Lizi emerged third top girl in the 15-year-old age group.
“I am so proud of what this group of youngsters have achieved over the last few months,” added Lauren.
“It was great to learn how to tackle this amazing programme from Alex, and now it’s just a case of keeping it moving on. I feel really privileged to be given this opportunity.”
“The kids have been fantastic and have taken the change well. Alex did such a good job and it would be ridiculous for someone to step in and undo all that, so I have kept up his work while implementing some new ideas of my own.
“I’m a bit more laid back than Alex, but the kids are still willing to work just as hard.”
Lauren began her own swimming career at Peebles Swimming Club but, unlike most successful sports people, did not immediately take to her future .
“I used to hate swimming when I was younger,” she admitted.
“My mum had to cancel lessons and everything because I just screamed the place down.”
Fortunately for Borders swimming, Lauren returned to the pool with friends at the age of 10 and took to it like a duck to water. With no programme in her own area, the youngster progressed to City of Edinburgh where she represented Scotland and Great Britain at both junior and senior level. After moving to New Zealand with rugby-playing boyfriend, Kiwi Tig Jocelyn, also a regular on our sports pages while playing for Peebles Rugby 1st XV, she joined Dunedin Masters Swimming Club, with whom she racked up more success by breaking three national masters records: 200m individual medley, 50m and 200m breaststroke in the women’s aged 25 to 29 grade. She was also in two record-breaking Otago relay teams.
In 2012 Lauren married export broker Jocelyn and the couple now have a 21-month-old son, Archie. The trio moved back to Peebles in September 2013.