IT was a golden weekend for Largs swimmer Isla Waller as the North Ayrshire swimming team went head-to-head with Olympic heroes Duncan Scott and Ross Murdoch.
The 11-year-old swam to victory in the 800m freestyle at the West District long course meet at Tollcross in Glasgow.
Among the teams taking part were the crack University of Stirling squad, where many of Scotland’s top international swimmers train.
Junior coach Alan Dickson said: “It was a really good weekend with a fantastic atmosphere which was no doubt due to the presence of the likes like Duncan, Ross, Aimee Wilmott and Craig Mclean. 
“They were mobbed every time they came onto poolside. Not only were they great role models in the pool, the way they handled all the attention from the younger swimmers was very impressive.”
Isla’s gold was among 10 medals won by the North Ayrshire team with other stand-out performances from local swimmers.
After setting a time just a few tenths away from her PB - set in a short course pool - she went straight from a cool down swim into the 50m fly final where she just missed out on a second medal, finishing in fourth place. She was also placed fourth in the 200m IM, going two seconds faster than her entry time.
Sarah Short, from Fairlie, narrowly missed on a sensational victory in her West District meet in the 50m breaststroke.
After qualifying as the third fastest in the heats she was first to the touch, only to be disqualified.
Alan said: “It was a good swim and I’m sure she’ll learn from the experience.”
He also had words for Cameron Hammil who was getting his first taste of competing at Tollcross.
The coach said: “He did especially well in his first West District and managed to beat both his entry times in the 50m breaststroke and backstroke by 2.4 and 5.6 seconds respectively.”
Daniel Convery from Largs also put in an impressive showing, taking four seconds off his 50m fly time.
While the rest of the squad were excited to watch the elite swimmers from Stirling giving skills demonstrations and posing for selfies, team talisman Rory Dickson had the incredible prospect of competing against them in the pool in the 16 and over category.
The 17-year-old found himself drawn in the lane next to breaststroke ace Ross Murdoch in the 50m final and described what an incredible experience it was.
He said: “It’s the first time I’ve seen Ross about 10m in front of me, eating the bubbles!”
“It was great to be up there on the starting blocks with him and I’ve taken a lot from watching their preparation and putting it into mine.
“It’s a privilege and when you see them on TV in their GBR and Scotland caps you forget that they’re from just a few miles up the road.
“I was a bit taken aback to be right next to him and I felt his wave as I dived in, and I have to admit to getting some adrenaline from it.
“I didn’t really feel star-struck but apparently it looked that way.”
There was even better to come on the Sunday when he was drawn next to European champion, and ‘Swimmer of the Year’, Duncan Scott in the 200m IM, leading the rest of the field home to claim a silver medal.
Rory said: “I was more than happy to achieve a 2:10 which is two seconds faster than I went in the Scottish Schools finals here a week ago.
“I guess being next to Duncan gave me a boost.
“I tried to chase him down in the breaststroke but I don’t think I’ve got the speed just yet to catch him, but it was a great experience having him in the neighbouring lane and I can learn a lot from the way he swam it.”