At 9.00am on 22nd January 2012 at Deans High School Pool in Livingston, a new venue to all of us, 14 Development and 3 Bronze Swimmers timidly arrived. We set up on poolside all crammed onto one bench next to the spectators and prepared for warm up.
An impressive team in black swimsuits and Midlothian caps entered the water and carried out their warm up for butterfly and breaststroke, the two swims for the morning session.
We were introduced to Andrew Aitchison, a top West Lothian swim squad member who demonstrated his Butterfly techniques. It was then the turn of all of our swimmers to impress us with their 25m Butterfly. In the 9 and under Girls, Midlothian finished 2nd with Cara Denholm and 3rd with Ria Colbridge. The 10 years girls had our Eve Thomson finishing first and the boys had Fraser Wilson finishing 3rd.
Out of the 17 swims in fly our swimmers gained a total of 16 PBs, they may not have got in the top 3 placings but they were all impressive swims in particular Ellie Robertson, Amber Roe and Evie Cuthbert.
A demonstration from Andrew Aitchison on breaststroke showed all our swimmers the importance of stretching and gliding in the stroke. Again our swimmers took to the water. This time Cara Denholm finished first in the 9 and under Girls and Lewis Thomson was first in the same age group for the boys. Euan Edminson was 2nd in the 10 year old boys.
This time we only got 13 out of 17 PBs, however this was the stroke in which I saw the biggest improvement in overall technique in the majority of swimmers. The area which we still need to improve is the transition from the push off into the swimming stroke.
One of the most impressive swims in the Breaststroke came from Izzy Drysdale who could not believe how much she was leading in her first length. She stopped for a wee while at the 25m mark to make sure and then proceeded to do a 2nd impressive length. Izzy, next time you know you can do it and let’s see the PB you will get from it! A great swim was also achieved from Ellie Turnbull knocking 15 seconds off what I predicted for her.
Lunch time allowed everyone to cool off and get a massive sugar high to then watch how backstroke is done. The explanation of the black markers on the lane ropes proved a challenge to Sammy Patterson. She made a good effort not only in this transition but in fly and free too.
10 PBs out of 16 swims was really good considering this pool had the same slippy walls as Dalkeith campus which resulted in a few victims struggling to get started. Coupled with fact that we rarely get the opportunity to practice proper backstroke starts from a block meant this was our overall weakest event.
Elouise Maciver was very disappointed with herself in this event as she was so focused and determined to do her best. Even after her slipped start she managed to give heart and soul to her swim which was then completed with a bang to the head due to the lack of splash boards at the ends. I am waiting for the next time to witness her swim as it will happen correctly and it will be well worth waiting for, just keep being detemined. Ross Porteous was not very happy with his swim but to me he managed to do a very good technical stroke throughout the swim. He now needs to practice this stroke at speed and his times for it will tumble. Nicholas Rietwelt switched on the adrenalin at this stage along with Owen Kennedy and finished with really good PBs. Our placings in this event were 3rds in the 9 and under for Cara Denholm and Lewis Thomson and a very well swum 1st for Fraser Wilson in the 10 years boys.
The majority had now got to the stroke they wanted – freestyle. They patiently watched the final demonstration and my advice to them was to keep the stroke long and heads steady. The adrenalin kicked in and they were off. Huge PBs were achieved by some, notably Ellie Robertson, Ross Porteous, Nick Rietwelt, Cameron Stables and Owen Kennedy. 14PBs out of 17 was our result in this event and a 2nd in the 10 years boys for Fraser Wilson.
The adrenalin did not stop there as the finale for the day was still to come for Lewis Thomson, Cara Denholm, Fraser Wilson, Eve Thomson, Cameron Stables and Sammy Patterson. A 6 x 25m mixed freestyle relay was to end the day. The lead was immediately Lewis’s and then lengthened by Cara, Fraser and Eve. Cameron maintained it and Sammy just had to finish it. A really spectacular finish for the day and I believe Sammy was stunned for days after. Gold medals went to all of them and LDD sent all swimmers home with a keepsake plaque.
Many thanks to Steve Edminson who has now achieved a very high level of hat applications, for his assistance on poolside and to all the Parents who are credit in the support department.
Congratulations to the poor parents I conned into doing the timekeeping course and were very impressively dressed in white on the day.
Finally well done to all the swimmers who took part, not just in their swimming but their behaviour in very cramped conditions for the whole day. You represented the club well!