Largs swimmer Isla Waller is celebrating a golden end to the season in the pool against the fastest young athletes in the west of Scotland.
She won the 200m breaststroke title for 11 year olds at the meet in Bellshill, beating her personal best by 9 seconds to take the win more than 7 and a half seconds clear of her nearest rival.
It was one of four visits to the podium over the weekend, also taking silver medals in the 100m Breaststroke, the 200m Backstroke (with a 12 second PB) and the 200m Individual Medley.
Isla just missed out on a fifth medal in the fiercely-contested 100m Freestyle, by just 0.2 of a second, but was delighted to end the weekend with new personal best times in all her 8 events.
North Ayrshire Swimming head coach Ross Douglas was impressed with the performance of the whole team who came home with 17 medals.
“For most of the kids that was the last competition before they have a few weeks off from training over the summer and one of the things we wanted to do was have an end of season goal,” he explains.
“Swimming is a sport which is very much geared towards the summer and it’s important that you’re fastest at this point in the year.
“We had a really high PB success rate and medals and now everybody can look forward to their break and enjoy it a little bit more - when your season just tails off you don’t feel like you’ve earned it.”
* Some of North Ayrshire’s youngest swimmers rounded off a great season of progress for the squad by taking 16 podium places at the Ren 96 Development Meets at the weekend.
Nine year old Jude Friels collected the biggest haul with five 1st and 2nd places, while Emma Binnie, who’s also 9, brought home 4 silver and gold medals after the two days of competition at the On-X in Linwood.
“It was great to see some of our youngest swimmers competing again, building on a big weekend at the Mini League final and the club sprints,” says Junior Coach, Alan Dickson.
“Ren96 is a really good meet because they reverse the seedings and select the swims from the slowest to the fastest which really gives a great chance to some of the newer and younger swimmers.
“It was good to see some of our newcomers like Pol O’Connor, Jude Friels and Erin Patten competing for the first time away from a home meet.”
“Pol recently moved up from our Development Squad and was getting his first taste of competition and did fantastically well.”
The 12 year old PB’d all his races over the weekend and claimed a bronze medal in the 50m Backstroke.
“Jude is a relative newcomer and he had a fantastic weekend picking up so many medals,” comments Alan.
He took second places in the 100m Free, 100m Breast, and 100m Fly and won the 50m Free and 50m Fly, while Erin PB’d all her races on the Saturday.
“There was fantastic racing over the weekend,” reflected Alan. “I’ve got to make a special mention of Heather Stuart and Jasmine Baird who raced each other hard all weekend, setting some fantastic times and really motivating each other.
Heather set a 9 second PB in her 100m Breast and took 7 off her 200m Free but finished just off the podium with 4th and 5th places.
Jasmine went home with bronze medals for the 200m Free, with a 17 second PB, and also for the 200m Backstroke with a 16 second improvement.
“Emma Binnie had a great weekend and she’s really stepped up. It was a year ago at this same meet that she make her breakthrough in competition and she performed really well all weekend,” says Alan.
Emma claimed a gold medal for the 50m Fly with a 7 sec PB and was second in the 50m & 100m Breaststroke and the 200m Backstroke.
Alan also had praise for Fraser Mathie: “He was taking on some of the bigger swims like the 200m Free and 200m Breast and did exceptionally well.”