SNAGS 2020 - what might have been

Clare Beck

Today was to be the day that their whole season was focused towards – the start of SNAGS 2020. While it’s important to maintain a sense of perspective, we can’t help but feel sad for our team of 21 swimmers, their families and our coaching and volunteer team. The hard work won’t go to waste: we’ll come back stronger and even more hungry for success. We’re very proud of everyone who achieved qualification or consideration times.

This year the club had 21 swimmers entered: 8 in individual events and 13 more in relay teams – the largest ever team we’ve sent to SNAGS. The event was postponed before we heard who had made the cut, but it doesn’t diminish the achievement of getting their times.

After 2019’s performance, the whole club was excited to make the trip to Aberdeen for this year’s event. Last year was the most successful in the club’s history. With 15 swimmers involved, we achieved our first ever top 20 finish when we came 18th out of 102 clubs. Matthew Garrity was crowned Scottish champion in 4 events (the 100m & 200m breast and the 200m & 400m IM) and claimed silver in the 800m free and bronze in the 50m breast. Aimee Watson was crowned Scottish champion in the 50m and 100m breast and took silver in the 200m breast & 200m IM. Thomas and Molly Cannon made multiple finals and many swimmers set new PBs.

Matthew and Aimee were favourites to retain at least one of their 2019 titles, with everyone desperate to see how Matthew’s hand injury had healed. Many of our swimmers had their sights set on a finals place and a new PB. There were to be 8 swimmers making their SNAGS debut, with Archie McArthur qualifying for 2 individual events at just 10 years old. While many of the debutants will have more chances, this year was to be the last opportunity for veterans Sam Sharkey and Lyall Black to represent the club, before they head off to university.

We don’t yet know if the event will take place later in in the year: it’s too early for Scottish Swimming to call. Whether or not it takes place, we’ve been humbled by how everyone has coped with the disruption and uncertainty: how everyone has coped – not just our SNAGS swimmers. From our top squads through to youngsters and newcomers the efforts our swimmers are putting in to maintaining their fitness outside of the pool is truly inspiring. Our Zoom classes are massively popular and have quickly become important anchors in our day. Our coaching team are making a huge effort to retain a sense of team spirit and make good use of the time to focus on the wider aspects of swimming such as nutrition and technique. And our committee continue to work tirelessly to manage this unprecedented and fast-moving situation. Our resilience and adaptability will only make us stronger.

Stay safe, look after your mental health as well as your physical health and we can’t wait to see you back in the water. We’re thinking of you all today.