There was no easing back into swimming after the summer holidays for a team of 19 Step Rock swimmers who travelled to Bathgate XCite Centre for the Dunedin Challenge Meet – a full-on weekend of 50m, 100m and 200m racing.
Charlie Gillespie, aged only 9, competed in no fewer than eight events over the weekend, taking home two gold medals, five silvers and a bronze – his gold in the 50m freestyle giving him an additional surprise bonus win of £25.
Hamish Noble (11) who improved during the course of the weekend, was also rewarded with podium places, taking bronze in his first ever 100m butterfly and in the 200m breaststroke.
Also with a heavy weekend programme, elder sister Màiri Noble (13) battled to bronze in the 200m backstroke in a new PB time, which sets her up well for the rest of the season.
Sometimes, though, the medals only tell half the story.
Isaac Laker, with new-found application in training and confidence in racing, missed a bronze by a whisker in the weekend’s toughest event – the 200m butterfly – his first attempt at the event.
Nonetheless, Isaac gained PBs in all of his events.
Amongst some of the less experienced swimmers, Esmée and Isla Thoms, Abbey and Tara Wallace, Russell Laker, Mirren Bell, Jasmine Latto and Isla Hedley set new first time swim marks, the strong competition pushing them to substantial improvements in their own PBs. Now one of the club’s most experienced swimmers, Caitlin Sparks (16) gained a new PB in the 50m backstroke to bring delight to her and her coaches.
Brushing off some race-rustiness were Anna and Emily Malcomson, Kirstin and Angus McCallum, Josie Bell and Anna Hedley.
Kirstin was unlucky to miss out on her 100m breaststroke PB by a mere 0.01 seconds, Anna Hedley missing bronze in the 200m backstroke by the same margin.
Emily swam well to record her first official 200m IM time; sister Anna improved by 0.5s in her 50m freestyle to edge that bit closer to the 31 second barrier. The next competition is the Geordie Wotherspoon Championship, in which Step Rock are defending champions, and the Fife Championship, both taking place on 13th September.