Eight Bo’ness ASC swimmers were among the thirty-three athletes representing FIRST at the Scottish National Age Group Championships (SNAGs) at Glasgow’s Tollcross International Swimming Centre, held over 5 days from Wed 30th March through to Sunday 3rd April.
The FIRST team comprises of swimmers from Bo’ness, Falkirk Otters and Grangemouth ASC’s. The eight swimmers from Bo’ness really rose to the occasion and put in some terrific performances. By the end of the meet the FIRST team achieved 5th in the overall team standings, thanks in no small part to the contribution made by Bo’ness swimmers.
Kirstyn Calder had a very successful 3rd SNAGs appearance with Team FIRST, which saw Kirstyn dominating the Freestyle events in the Girls 14yrs age category. Not only did she set new PB times across a range of different Freestyle distances, she won Bronze at 1500m in a time of 18:32.40, and Gold for her 800m Freestyle finishing in 9:35.76, 13.66 secs quicker than her entry time. Kirstyn was also awarded the Scottish National Age Group Champion for Girls 14yrs 800m Freestyle. A terrific achievement for Kirstyn and the club.
Keir Edgar (Boys 15yrs) put in highly successful performances over all five days. Keir consistently qualified for final places in just about every heat he swam in, setting new PB’s which he then went on to improve upon in final swims. On the first day Keir qualified for a place in the final of the 50m Fly, winning Bronze with a time of 27.63 and setting a new PB. He followed that up by qualifying for a place in the 100m Backstroke final, winning Gold with a time of 1:02.03, setting a new PB & was awarded the Scottish National Age Group Champion for Boys 15yrs 100m Backstroke. The second day saw a continuation of Keir’s quality form, qualifying for a final place in the 200m Backstroke after setting a heat time of 2:20.30. He went on to win Gold in the final, finishing in 2:14.69 which was a huge improvement on his heat time and secured him another Scottish National Age Group Championship award this time for Boys 15ys 200m Backstroke. On the third day the 100m Breaststroke saw Keir setting a new PB with a time of 1:14.98 in the heats, going on to improve on this further in the final, finishing in seventh place in 1:13.57 in what was a very competitive field. In the 50m Freestyle, he again qualified for a place in the final, went on to win Bronze and improved on his heat time finishing in 25.95. A familiar pattern of setting good qualifying times in the heats and winning medals in the finals was well established by the fourth day, which saw Keir breaking the 30 sec barrier in the 50m Backstroke heats with a time of 29.60, securing him a place in the final, where he went on to finish second touching the wall in 29.21. This earned him a Silver medal just missing out on the chance to complete a treble of gold medals in the backstroke.
Keir also swam in both relay events available. In the 4x100m Freestyle relay, he participated alongside F.I.R.S.T teammates Ryan Retson, Scott Lilburn and Liam Harkin to finish fifth, reducing the entry time to finish in 3:48.33. The same team participate in the 4x200m Freestyle relay, putting in great individual performances to finish in a time of 8:23.31, finishing fourth overall.
Bo’ness swimmer Jemma Brown also represented Team FIRST and swam on the fourth day in the 100m Fly event in the senior 17 & Over age category. Jemma finished in a respectable time of 1:09.10, just over her personal best.
While three of the eight Bo’ness swimmers had attended the SNAGs event before, five were attending the Championships for the first time across a variety of different age groups. Niamh Tierney swam in the Girls 12yrs, Liam Murphy in Boys 11yrs, Douglas Calder in Boys 10yrs, with Alicia Evans swimming in the Girls 12yrs and Rachel Christie Girls 13yrs age categories.
Niamh Tierney had a great meet overall and a superb start participating in two separate events on the first day. Niamh clocked up an impressive swim of 1:05.96 in the 100m Freestyle, bettering her personal best by over a second. In the 50m Backstroke, she touched the wall in a respectable time of 35.78, a swim which was in line with her long course personal best. Day 2 saw Niamh make more steady progress in two more freestyle and backstroke events. In the 100m Backstroke, Niamh finished in a time of 1:15.74, which saw her finish 19th in what was a very competitive age category. Furthermore, the 50m Freestyle event saw her sprint to the finish in a time of 30.81, which was a new long course personal best. By the middle of the meet Niamh was producing impressive performances in her preferred freestyle and backstroke events. The 200m Freestyle saw her finish with a hugely impressive time of 2:22.62; this was a best time of more than three seconds, which secured an admirable 19th place finish, missing out on the final by only two seconds. The 200m Backstroke saw Niamh make further progress with her heat time of 2:37.47 securing a place in the evening’s finals. In her first ever Scottish Age Group final, Niamh clocked up a respectable time of 2:39, after a grueling day’s events. The final two days saw her make further progress. Niamh swam magnificently in the endurance 800m Freestyle, her first time in a long course pool. She finished in a time of 10:14.02, guaranteeing her a top six finish. The final event of her Scottish Nationals on the final day, was the 400m Freestyle. She finished her meet in admirable style, showing determination to finish in a respectable time of 5:02.20. Niamh also participated in the Girls 11-14 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, along with teammates Ellie Palmer, Darcey Adam and Rachel Christie. They finished in a time of 4:27.74, with every girl putting in great individual performances. She also participated in the medley relay of the same age group, swimming backstroke with the team finishing in 5:08.94, securing a top ten finish.
Liam Murphy had a fantastic first Nationals meet. He performed each event with control and rose to the challenges associated with higher level competition. Liam achieved a new personal best in the 50m Fly touching the wall at 35.63. He followed this up managing to deliver a controlled 200m Breaststroke bringing home a 10.10 second personal best touching the wall at 3:12.01. The second day saw Liam’s success continue when he recorded a new long course time of 40.15 for the 50m Breaststroke event. He also managed to deliver a smashing time for his 100m Breaststroke swim recording a new personal best at 1:25.99, an improvement of 4.07 seconds. In the relays events Liam participated in the boys 11-13 yrs 4 x 100m medley, along with Elliot Millar, Lucas Grieve and Douglas Calder. The team came 3rd in their heat, with a time of 5:11.25.
Relay team mate, 10 year old Douglas Calder was another first timer at the National Age Group Championships. As well as helping the relay team beat their own entry time, Douglas managed to secure a spot and swam in the 100m Breaststroke event posting a long course time of 1:35.18. Douglas certainly rose to the occasion, enjoyed the National Age Group taster and demonstrated plenty of athletic potential for future success.
Meanwhile Rachel Christie made an impressive debut in the 200m IM. She clocked a new long course personal best in a time of 2:48.78, showing remarkable composure for her first ever national event. The third day of the event saw Rachel participate in the 200m Freestyle, where she finished an impressive swim in a time of 2:25.39 and like in the medley event of the previous day, she finished with a new long course personal best. A grueling 400m IM on the penultimate day saw Rachel finish in an admirable time of 5:59.01, dipping under the six-minute barrier, which was a highly impressive feat. The 50m Breaststroke sprint event on the same day saw her clock up a highly respectable time of 41.71, making an improvement of just under a second.
Along with teammates Ellie Palmer, Darcey Adam and Niamh Tierney, Rachel participated in the Girls 11-14 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay. They finished in a time of 4:27.74, with every girl putting in great individual performances. She also participated in the medley relay of the same age group, swimming breaststroke – the team finished in 5:08.94, which secured a top ten finish.
FIRST Head Coach Monica Borland commented: “FIRST had another outstanding result at the Scottish National Age Group Championships held at Tollcross last week, with strong performances from swimmers across the Clubs. Five of the Bo’ness swimmers were competing for the first time at a National meet. The swimmers were a credit to Bo’ness ASC and to FIRST. They approached the meet in a very professional way for their young ages and demonstrated the remuneration that hard work and commitment can bring. The training and education being delivered by the coaches in the Club is of the highest standard and it is a pleasure to see so many Club swimmers reaching this level. Moreover, it is rewarding to see the program continue to flourish and we have exciting times ahead.”