Last weekend saw a squad of 42 from South Aberdeenshire Swimming (SAS) competing at Westhill against a number of North District Clubs, as well as East Lothian and Warrender, at their annual Junior Meet.
SAS, which features the four local swim teams from Banchory, Aboyne, Stonehaven and Westhill, saw off tough competition, particularly from the East District visitors, to retain the Ian Milne Quaich awarded to the top team in the Shire, and regain the overall meet trophy, won last year by City of Aberdeen.
The meet is the only one of its kind within the North District – and probably within Scotland.
SAS Head Coach, Gary Paterson, said:: “The Junior Meet is aimed at encouraging 11-14 year old girls and 12-15 year old boys to focus increasingly on middle distance and distance events that are so critical to the long term development of young athletes. 25m sprints complement the athletic abilities of this particular group in terms of their developing physiology.
”The final event of the weekend - and highlight of the meet - is undoubtedly the unique Individual Medley (IM) Challenge, fiercely contested between the six fastest 400IM swimmers, both boys and girls, who swim three consecutive 100IM events, varying the order of strokes each time. Matthew Smith (15) representing SAS won the boys’ IM Challenge, ahead of East Lothian’s Michael Flynn (14), while Jemma Grant (14) from Garioch held off a strongly fought comeback from Megan Feld (14) of SAS, to take the girls’ title.
A total of 55 podium places were awarded to the SAS swimmers, with two thirds of their results representing personal bests.
Particularly strong performances were put in by Ailsa Beck (12) from Stonehaven, who took eight gold medals and the girls’ overall trophy, along with Matthew Smith (15) from Westhill, who, as well as the IM challenge title, took three gold medals, three silvers and one bronze, to win the boys’ 15 year old trophy. Megan Feld (14) from Banchory took one gold, five silver and two bronze medals, while Alasdair Bruce (14) from Ballater was awarded one gold, three silver and five bronze medals.
Other SAS medal winners were: Abigail Mason, Arron Law, Brandon Lees, Chloe Turnbull, Kaitlin Dryburgh, Kieran Preston, Leona Turner, Matthew McPherson, Matthew Turner, Megan Grant, Meghan Feld, Morgan Hartley, Murray Coueslant, Rebekah Henderson and Scott Griffin.