64 SWIMMING Youngsters strike age group gold
There was triumph and a little disappointment at the Scottish National Age Group Championships in Aberdeen.
Swimming as part of South Lanarkshire Swimming, East Kilbride’s youngsters were keen to defend their top club crown but it was not to be a fairytale repeat of last year in Glasgow, as they had to settle for third overall.
Edinburgh’s Warrender Baths have always been one of the UK’s preeminent clubs and it was clear from day one that they were determined to reclaim their crown at the Aquatics Centre in Aberdeen Sports Village.
With a huge squad of swimmers and a new points system benefiting teams with more finalists, they dominated the points table with 1253 points.
Newly-formed Aberdeen University performance squad took second with 969 and the South Lanarkshire team were third with 799, ahead of City of Glasgow in fourth with 705.
However, there was no shortage of individual success for the EK swimmers competing over the five-day event.
Nikki Miller continues to prove herself one of Scotland’s most promising young swimmers. The East Kilbride and Scottish gold squad member claimed an astonishing eight Scottish titles in the female 17-18 category, winning the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, the 400m individual medley and the 100m and 200m butterfly events in an extraordinary five days of swimming for the 17-year-old.
The real icing on the cake came in the form of two nomination times for the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas later this year.
Nikki swam 2.03.76 in the 200m and 4.19.04 in the 400m freestyle events to earn a chance to swim for Scotland in June.
Nikki, who makes the 20 mile round trip to the Dollan from Newton Mearns around ten times a week, said: “I was really nervous coming into the final, as I knew that this would be my big chance of securing the time in this event.
“It was tight but I’m really happy I’ve achieved it.
“I feel the pressure is off now and I can now focus on my other events down in Sheffield in a couple of weeks.”
There was success for 15-year-old Lucy Ross too, claiming a further five age group titles for South Lanarkshire.
The Calderglen High pupil won the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 50m freestyle and 200m individual medley titles in the female 15 years category.
Strathaven’s Keir Buchanan also enjoyed a fantastic championships, storming his way to four titles in the male 15 years category, winning the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events.
Seventeen-year-old Scott Gibson put in a memorable performance to win the male 17-18 years 200m backstroke title despite strong competition, while training mate Richard Laird won a tough 400m event in the same age group.
There were medals too for the boys 14-16 years relay teams. Dylan Sommerville, Keir Buchanan, Jonathan Christie and Andrew MacIntosh took the silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay and Stewart Brodie joined Dylan, Keir and Andrew for the 4x100m medley relay to claim third spot.
Andrew MacIntosh won the male 16 years 200m breaststroke in an age group packed with quality swimmers. Other individual medalists were Taylor Bartlett, Yvonne Brown, Jonathan Christie, Mark Hill, Katherine Lynch and Alice Meldrum. Also swimming were Calum Barnes, Stewart Brodie, Cameron Cavanagh, Lillyella Craw-Seaman, Olivia Easdon, Elise Fitzgerald, Catriona Fowlie, Robyn Hill, Morven Jackson, Hazel Leslie, Robert Mathieson, Rosie Mathieson, Eilidh McCracken, Erin McGee, Ewan McMurray, Skye Mullholland, Megan Ruddy, Ryan Sandilands, Kate Saxon, Dylan Sommerville, Emma Steele, Sophie Steele and Calum Young.
Head coach Andy Figgins said: “It was always going to be difficult to match last year’s performance but a third place overall was fantastic as we had a much smaller team than both Aberdeen Performance and Warrender, who finished ahead of us.
“The swimmers were outstanding and did themselves proud.”
Next up are the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield, where a number of the swimmers hope to make their mark.
Team effort East Kilbride ASC’s swimmers who competed for South Lanarkshire
Making waves Nikki Miller
Five wins Lucy Ross