Young Borderers prove quality beats quantity

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THE Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) came of age at the recent Scottish National Age Group Championships.

Alex Jordan’s outfit placed sixth on the Scottish team point score, winning two gold, two silver and four bronze medals, achieving 15 British qualifying times, effecting a whopping 50 top-10 finishes. They had every team member contesting at least one final.

Held at the Tollcross Park Leisure Centre in Glasgow the competition included 780 athletes from 71 teams. With 15 team members, BEST was only beaten by five of Scotland’s biggest and most well-established teams with membership numbers ranging from 90 to 300.

Kelso ASC’s Morgan Anderson took gold in the 13 years 200m breaststroke and finished fourth and eighth in the 1,500m freestyle and 400m individual medley respectively.

Lucy Hope, also from Kelso ASC, placed seventh or better in all eight of her individual events, winning silver in the 14 years 100m backstroke and bronze in both the 200m backstroke and 400m freestyle. Hope also contributed to the success of three medal-winning BEST relay teams at the competition.

She recorded five British youth qualifying times, qualified for Scottish Swimming’s Gold Squad and is now eligible for East of Scotland Institute of Sport support.

Kirsty Armstrong, 11, claimed her first national club medal, placing third in the 10 to 12 years 200m breaststroke. Armstrong also achieved three British youth qualifying times and broke two East District age group records.

The BEST 14 to 18-year-old girls claimed gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay, silver in the 4x100 medley relay and bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Amy Fraser, Lucy Hope, Kirsty Paterson, Jessica Wilcox and Rebekah Wilson formed various combinations to achieve podium success in each of the relays.

The 11 to 14 years BEST boys relay teams also placed in the top 10 in all three relay events thanks to the efforts of Morgan Anderson, Ryan Brown, Robbie Czajka, Charlie Lochhead and Alex Thompson.

The majority of Borders Elite Swim Team members train under Swim Team Borders performance coach Alex Jordan and volunteer assistant coaches Katrina Hope and Caroline Brown.

Jordan said: “The team performed extremely well under a lot of pressure at this meet. We have been working towards this competition for a long time and the team has never trained better. They recently set a goal for themselves to place in the top ten on the Scottish team point score, so to place sixth is extremely rewarding.

“They deserve their success and I’m very proud that our small team placed so well against such stiff opposition, a true example of quality over quantity.”