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Seven swimmers from Thurso compete in national age group championships


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Thurso swimmers who attended the SNAGs in Glasgow. Back (from left): Craig Campbell, Mykhailo Yatsiuta, Tom Armitage, Keira Bain. Front: Jed Armitage, Edward Mills and Emily MacDougall.
Thurso swimmers who attended the SNAGs in Glasgow. Back (from left): Craig Campbell, Mykhailo Yatsiuta, Tom Armitage, Keira Bain. Front: Jed Armitage, Edward Mills and Emily MacDougall.

A group of hard-working swimmers from Thurso Amateur Swimming Club achieved the necessary qualification times to take part in the Scottish National Age Group Championships (SNAGs) held at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow.

This sees the fastest swimmers in the country come together to compete within their respective age groups for the title of national age-group champion for each of the competitive events.

Seven swimmers from Thurso qualified – Tom Armitage, Jed Armitage, Keira Bain, Craig Campbell and Emily MacDougall, who all competed in various individual events, along with Mykhailo Yatsiuta and Edward Mills, who were selected as part of the Highland Swim Team (HST) relay teams.

With the exception of Tom, who qualified for SNAGs in 2020 but did not get to swim because of lockdown, this was the first time these swimmers had qualified for and competed at these championships so it was a new and exciting experience for them all. They were part of the HST which included swimmers from Thurso, Wick, Tain, Inverness, Lochaber and Nairn.

Emily MacDougall qualified for five individual races – 50m, 100m and 200m free and 100m and 200m backstroke. Emily also swam as part of the HST relay team for the girls' 13-and-under 4x100m free and 4x100m medley events.

On day one, Emily competed in the 200m backstroke and got off to a great start by qualifying for the finals in the evening where she finished in ninth place. Emily also swam in the 100m freestyle and, despite some pre-race nerves, she put in an excellent performance to finish just outside her personal best.

The next day she took part in the 4x100m medley relay. The girls had a fantastic swim and narrowly missed out on bronze, finishing in fourth place.

HST swimmers in the 14-and-under age group.
HST swimmers in the 14-and-under age group.

On day three, Emily swam an impressive 50m freestyle race in her heats. Her PB saw her qualify in fifth place for the evenings finals where she again had a great swim.

The final day saw Emily compete in the 200m free and the 4x100 freestyle relay. She had another good PB in the 200m event, finishing just outside the top 10. For the relay, the girls again had a very strong swim and finished just outside the medals in fifth.

In the 16-year-old girls, Keira Bain qualified for three individual events – 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly – and also swam the butterfly leg of the girls' 14-16 years 4x100m medley relay.

Up first for Keira was the relay event where the girls faced some stiff competition. Despite a strong swim, it wasn’t enough to make the finals.

Individually, Keira had her 200m fly first. She paced her heat well to finish second and was delighted to qualify for the evening finals.

In the finals, Keira produced another gutsy swim and held her form to break her own club record for the second time in the same day – quite an achievement in this event which is especially challenging in a 50m pool.

Keira had her 100m fly up next and put in another great effort, finishing just outside her personal best.

Last for Keira was the very competitive 50m fly event where she again swam a powerful race and achieved a new PB.

Tom Armitage qualified for eight swims in total across the backstroke, butterfly, freestyle and individual medley events as well as being a part of the HST boys' and mixed relay teams for the 14-16 age group.

Tom had 100m backstroke first and swam an excellent heat, resulting in a big PB and a place in the evening final where he swam an almost identical time and achieved a seventh-place finish.

He then had the mixed medley relay, the boys' medley relay and the tough 200m fly. He and the team put in a good effort but missed out on finals.

Tom was then back to his favoured stroke and distance – the 200m backstroke. He showed his strength in this event with a great swim in the heats to secure a place in the final.

In the final Tom swam another strong race, resulting in a good PB and finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.

The 200m free, 100m fly and 400m IM came next for Tom with all swims in the same session along with the boys' 4x100m free relay, so a hard session to navigate. Again, Tom did himself proud with big PBs in the 200m free and 400m IM events. He qualified for the final of the 400m IM that evening where he put in another fine performance.

The last day saw a busy session for Tom again with the 200m IM, 100m free and 50m backstroke. Tom was understandably beginning to tire in this session, but again he dug deep to qualify for the final of the 50m backstroke where he managed to pull out another PB and a ninth-place finish.

Jed Armitage qualified for seven individual swims, competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and butterfly events and the 400m IM.

Jed’s first session saw him take part in the 100m backstroke and 50m fly and he put in strong swims in both, finishing just outside his PB on the backstroke and setting a new PB on the fly.

The group of seven Thurso swimmers who competed in the Scottish National Age Group Championships.
The group of seven Thurso swimmers who competed in the Scottish National Age Group Championships.

The next day he took on the gruelling 200m fly in which he had a fantastic swim and qualified for the evening’s final. Despite some nerves he performed well and finished in ninth place, just outside his PB.

Jed's next event was the 200m backstroke where he swam a strong and controlled race and achieved a solid PB.

His final events were the 100m fly and 400m IM, so a tough session for him. Jed was strong in both events and finished with a very creditable 10th place in the 400m IM.

Craig Campbell qualified for the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly events in the 14-year-old boys.

First up for Craig was the 100m butterfly. With a few pre-race nerves, Craig didn’t get off to as strong a start as he would have liked but he grew into the race and finished well with a time that was just outside his PB.

Craig then competed in his preferred event, the 100m freestyle, on the Sunday afternoon. With the experience of the butterfly behind him he settled into this race much better. Again, he grew stronger as the race progressed, having an excellent second 50m and finishing right on his PB time.

Mykhailo Yatsiuta and Edward Mills were both selected to represent HST in the relay events in their respective age groups.

Mykhailo swam the breaststroke leg in the 16-year-old boys' 4x100m medley relay alongside Tom. The boys had a strong swim in what was a very close event, with Tom and Mykhailo both producing impressive performances.

Edward was selected to swim in both the boys' 11-13 years 4x100m relays in freestyle and medley events. Edward swam the butterfly leg in the medley relay and the boys produced another great swim with a sixth-place finish.

In the freestyle relay, Edward was the second swimmer out and again produced a fine effort for the team as they eventually finished in a highly creditable seventh place.

Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and Halkirk District Benefit Fund provided support for the swimmers to attend these championships.


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