YOUNG swimmers from Largs finished their season on a high with some very impressive performances at the Ren 96 Development Meet and Bellshill summer splash.
In a remarkable indication of how much improvement they’ve made over the last year, every swimmer who completed at Linwood over the two days achieved at least one new personal best.
Junior coach Alan Dickson said: “These meets have been the focus for most of these swimmers and it’s important to give the season some structure.
“They’ve got a couple of weeks off coming up where they can focus solely on their skills and when they return from the summer break on the July 22, we’ll be concentrating again on improving the technical aspect of their strokes for the new season.”
The Saturday was for eight, nine and 10-year-old swimmers — known as the Lynda Lessing Development Meet — and the Sunday was for 11 to 14-year-olds.
Alan said: “It was great to see some of the development swimmers getting stuck in, like Stephen Blane, and Katie Convery.”
Nine-year-old Lewis Bray, above right, from Inverkip, claimed a bronze medal for his 50m fly, while Lauren Peckover (11) from Largs, took home silver for her 50m back.
The coach added: “Lewis has been in great form in the Mini League and he took that into the meet, and I’m hoping he’ll be able to build on a really good season next year.”
Kouper Sloss, right, (nine) collected a pair of bronze medals for his 50m and 100m free.
Among those going home with new PBs were Dean Binnie and Lucy McLaughlin, from Skelmorlie, and Ciara Convery, Cameron Hamill, Rebecca Shanks and Rose Smith, from Largs.
The Gold and Youth squads were in action the following weekend at Bellshill, where 12 swimmers collected more than 30 medals.
More importantly, of the 136 swims, 86 of them resulted in the swimmer bettering their entry time.
Fairlie’s Molly Sutherland improved her times in every race, as did Matthew Shanks and Daniel Convery, from Largs.
Molly took seven seconds off her 100m fly and five-and-a-half off her 200m freestyle. Matthew achieved a fourth place by taking seven seconds off his 200m backstroke and over one-and-a-half seconds in the 100m free. Twelve-year-old Daniel was more than three seconds faster in his 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
North Ayrshire’s girls dominated the under-13s 100m fly with a 1-2-3-4 finish, with 12-year-old Isla Waller bagging the bronze. She was also delighted to go under three minutes for the first time in the 200m fly.
Emma Binnie, from Skelmorlie, achieved a best fifth place in the 100m fly, which was one of three PBs, the others coming in the 100m breast and 100m free.
Alan said: “It’s been a long hard season for a lot of these swimmers, and they’ve shown improvement throughout, and it’s really tough for them to step up again and meet our expectations.
“You could go so far as to say it’s unfair to expect them to PB after what has been such a successful season when they’ve worked so hard to secure their gains.
“Add to that some of them took on a really tough programme of events with up to 10 events over the weekend, and that’s their credit that they’ve had the courage to take that on.
“It’s really important to put a lid on things at the end of the season and these meets provide structure and signal to the coaches and the swimmers that it’s time for a bit of rest and reflection and see how far you’ve come over the year.
“I’ve also got to say a big thank you to Billy Binnie and Jo Sutherland for all they did over the weekend, organising the swimmers and getting the warm-up going on Saturday while I was taking training.
“Kenny Hamill and Rheanna Sloss were an invaluable assistance at Ren96, as well, so it’s been a real team effort and we couldn’t do it without them.”