Kirkcaldy-born swimmer reaches World Championships final

Kirkcaldy-born swimmer Kathleen Dawson.
Kirkcaldy-born swimmer Kathleen Dawson.

Kathleen Dawson was quick to brush off any suggestions the nerves would be jangling when she marks her maiden World Swimming Championships by appearing in the 100m backstroke final today (Tuesday).

Kirkcaldy-born Dawson has been gradually accumulating experience of international racing in recent years, representing Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games before appearing at the 2016 European Championships in London, where she left with relay gold and 100m backstroke bronze.

This week’s global gathering in the Hungarian capital of Budapest is arguably her toughest assignment yet.

But she rose to the challenge on Monday, first making it through the morning’s heats before finishing third in her semi-final in 59.82 to make it through to Tuesday's medal race as eighth fastest.

“I’m over the moon to have made it to the final,” she said. “I didn’t go as fast as I would have liked to but to have made the final is what I came here to do.

“I just scraped in but I’m in the final. Hopefully there is more to come.

“I guess it shows that everything I’ve been doing, it’s all come together now at this point in time.

“To have come to a World Championships, make the final, take each race as it comes, it just proves that everything you are doing back home is working,

“I’m just going to go out there and enjoy myself and have fun, that’s going to be my main focus.”

Originally born in Kirkcaldy before growing up south of the border in Warrington, Dawson joined the University of Stirling swimming programme towards the end of last year under the guidance of coach Ben Higson.

And the 19-year-old believes the decision is already starting to bear fruit, as seen in her performances in Budapest.

“I feel like I’m a lot more confident and calm swimming the races since moving to Stirling and also how I’m going about preparing for the races,” she added.

“It’s great having Ben coach me, he knows what he’s doing. I’m really enjoying myself and I think that’s what really counts to my results.”

You can help the next generation of young British swimmers by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds OBE.

Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek.