National County Championships 2019

IASC stars Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity helped the Scotland West swimming team to an equal fourth place finish in the recent National County Team Championships.

The National County Team Championships is a UK wide event for regional swimming teams and the Scotland West team is made up of swimmers from clubs as far afield as Oban and Stranraer. This year’s event was held in Sheffield on October 6th with 39 counties and more than 1,000 swimmers taking part. It’s a highly competitive and fast paced event, with racing taking place across two pools simultaneously.

Scotland West finished as runners up in last year’s competition, but a large number of new swimmers in the team meant this year’s ranking was far lower. The team outperformed expectations racking up a record 22 top 10 finishes – including five victories – to claim equal fourth place.

For the Inverclyde pair, it proved a successful meet. Aimee was swimming the breaststroke leg of the girls 14-15 years 200m medley relay. Seeded fourth going in to the event, the team stepped it up a gear to power home to a big win in the final, taking victory over their nearest rivals by nearly 2 seconds.

Matthew was swimming the boys 14-15 100m breaststroke and the breaststroke leg of the boys 200m medley relay. In the individual event, Matthew swam a great race to finish sixth overall, matching his performance from last year and achieving a new PB. In the relay event the team put in a solid performance to take sixth place.

The club’s head coach Shirley Reford was once again asked to be part of the coaching team for the event and was delighted with the performance. She commented: “The team spirit was amazing and considering there were 14 rookies in the team the result far exceeded our pre-meet ranking and expectations. All the juniors swam brilliantly, helped by the team ethos and atmosphere which was electric throughout. Every single member of the team played a part and the younger members of the team soaked up the experience with the support and guidance of the rest of the others.”

If you are interested in your child joining the swimming club email [email protected] for more information or to book a place on the October assessment.

Bumper turn out at North Ayrshire meets

The racing season got underway again for IASC with a packed schedule over two days of action at North Ayrshire. The Development meet was for swimmers aged 11 upwards and the Foundation meet for swimmers aged 10 and under. Both meets were graded, meaning swimmers have to be slower than the entry time. If they beat the entry time they are awarded a ‘too fast’ medal, but the times are still accredited. For many swimmers it was a good opportunity to update times after the summer break.

At the Development meet, five swimmers from the club were awarded a ‘too fast’ medal. Both April Craynor and Peter Maloney were in excellent form, winning two ‘too fast’ medals each. April won hers for the 200m and 400m IM. She took a big chunk of time off her PB for the 200m event and set an impressive time in her debut at the 400m event. April then went on to win the gold in the 400m freestyle.

Peter matched April’s performance, taking home his ‘too fast’ medals for the 400m IM and the 200m freestyle, both with massive new PBs. He also took gold in the 400m freestyle with an impressive time in his debut race.

Wladek Zawadzki also had a great meet, winning a ‘too fast’ medal, one gold and four silvers and setting five new PBs. His ‘too fast’ came in the 200m breaststroke and his gold in the 200m freestyle, winning both with new fastest times. He set new PBs to win silver in the 100m backstroke and breaststroke and the 400m freestyle and finished off a busy day with silver in the 100m freestyle.

There were two other ‘too fast winners from the club: Ashleigh Blyth and Sofia McGeehan. Ashleigh won hers for a blistering new PB in the 400m IM in her only event of the day. Sofia took a ‘too fast’ for the 100m butterfly with a new PB and took bronze for the 200m freestyle with another new best time. A further bronze came in the 100m backstroke followed by a new PB and 4th in the 200m IM.

Other medallists on the day included Katherine Simpson and Keira McKee. Katherine took gold for the 200m backstroke and two bronze medals for the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle, all with new PBs. She also finished 5th in the 100m breaststroke. Keira took silver for the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke with new PBs and also got a silver for her first swim of the 100m breaststroke. She took bronze in the 200m IM and came 5th in the 100m freestyle, again setting new PBs.

There were also encouraging performances from Michal Zawadzki and Charlotte Jones, who improved their times and finished high in their fields. Michal set new PBs in the 100m backstroke and breaststroke where he finished 5th and 7th. Charlotte came 6th in her debut swim at the 100m breaststroke and set new PB’s in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke to finish inside the top 10.

At the Foundation meet, the club youngsters were determined to keep up the strong swimming. The 19-strong team was a mix of swimmers still relatively new to competition and more experienced swimmers hoping to update times. Between them, they achieved 23 medals and every swimmer set at least one new PB.

Most prolific swimmer of the day was Scott Brodie, winning three golds, two silvers and two fourth places. Gold came in the 50m backstroke and the 100m freestyle and butterfly and silvers were won in the 100m IM and the 400m freestyle. Scott also set new PBs to finish 4th in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Sophie Campbell set new times in her five events and took double gold for the 50m and 100m butterfly. She also won silver for the 200m IM and bronze for the 50m backstroke as well as finishing 4th in the 50m freestyle.

Eilidh Melrose made it seven medals from seven races. She won gold for the 100m IM with a new PB and took silver for the 50m backstroke and freestyle, setting another PB for the backstroke. Bronze medals came in the 50m and 100m breaststroke with more PBs and in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.

Abi McAnerney set new PBs in all her events and took silver in the 100m backstroke and 50m butterfly. She came 4th in the 50m backstroke and 9th in the 100m IM. Abi continued to swim well to set new best times in the 100m and 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke.

Finlay Morrice won silver in the 50m freestyle with a new best time and came 4th in the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke with another PB. He finished 5th in the 100m breaststroke and 6th in the 50m butterfly. He also set new PB’s in the 100m IM and 50m breaststroke.

Brodie McArthur won silver in the 50m butterfly, came 4th in the 50m backstroke, 5th in both the 100m IM and 50m freestyle and 7th with a new PB in the 50m breaststroke.

Josh Docherty made it 100% PBs as he took silver for the 100m backstroke, 4th in the 50m butterfly and 7th in the 100m IM and 100m breaststroke. He also produced good swims in the 50m breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke.

Ellis Quigley won bronze in the 50m breaststroke and was 5th in the 50m butterfly, setting new PBs in both races. She came 8th in her debut at the 100m freestyle and set more PBs in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and 100m IM.

Oliver Jones took bronze for the 100m backstroke in his event debut. He also finished 8th in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle. Oliver then went on to set new PBs in the 100m IM and the 50m breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke.

Outside of the medals, the younger and less experienced swimmers put in encouraging performances with many trying new events or improving their times. Mirrin Fay was 4th in the 100m backstroke and 6th in the 100m freestyle in her debut at the events She also took 6th in the 50m breaststroke and set a new PB to finish 7th in the 50m butterfly.

Freya McFarlane set a new PB to finish 4th in the 200m IM. Nina Spirit-Hawthorne was 5th in the 100m IM and 6th in the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly, with new times for each. She also set PBs in the 50m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle, where she finished in 9th and 11th place.

Nuala Munro and Katie Deegan both managed 5th, 7th and 8th finishes with new times. Nuala’s placings were for the 50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke and 100m IM and Katie’s were for the 100m freestyle, 100m IM and 50m breaststroke.

Rory Munro set new PBs to finish 6th in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke. He took 8th in the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly and set a new PB in the 100m breaststroke. Adam Quigley set new PBs for the 50m backstroke and freestyle, finishing 6th and 8th respectively.

Lucie Sweeney set new times for the 100m IM and 50m butterfly and backstroke, but just missed out in the 50m breaststroke. Jessica Gallagher set new PBs in each of her three races – the 50m butterfly and breaststroke and the 100m IM. Cameron Ridyard improved his times in the 50m breaststroke and backstroke and set a debut time for the 50m freestyle.

Well done to all the swimmers competing.

The racing season starts at the Stirling Open

It was back to business for IASC as a group of 19 swimmers made the long trip to Stirling for the Autumn Open meet. This was a level 2 competition, meaning the standard of racing and risk of disqualification was high. Overall, the team were pleased to be close to their best at the start of the new season, with half of the races producing PBs and 32 medals won.

A trio of 10-year olds led the medal haul as Archie McArthur, Mirren McConnell and Cameron Beck swam exceptionally well to dominate their age group and take home 18 medals between them.

Archie McArthur achieved five gold medals and three PBs on a day of high emotion. The day started well for Archie with a win and a PB in the 100m IM, but he was then disqualified from his next two races for technical infringements. Archie showed maturity and resilience beyond his years to keep his concentration and composure and came back fighting in the afternoon with wins and PBs for the 200m IM and 100m breaststroke. He then kept up the winning streak with victories in the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

Mirren McConnell won triple gold with three new PBs in the 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle. She was close to her best times in the 50m butterfly and the 100m IM, where she was rewarded with silver medals for her performance, and took bronze in her last event – the 50m freestyle.

Cameron Beck made it a magnificent seven, by medalling and setting PBs in all of his races. He took gold for the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle, and won silvers for the 100m and 200m IM, the 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly and the 100m freestyle.

Aaron Gray made it gold, silver and bronze with a couple of new PBs along the way. He took gold and a PB for the 200m IM, silver for the 100m IM and bronze for the 100m butterfly. He set a new PB in the 100m breaststroke and produced strong, fast swims in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.

Girls club captain Molly Cannon took a gold and a silver away from the meet for the 100m IM and 50m butterfly respectively. Molly was disappointed not to beat her best times, but her swimming was consistent and we’ve no doubt she’ll beat her already fast times throughout the season.

Blake Herdman was the youngest member of the team competing and showed how much he is improving by setting new PBs in all of his events. Blake took home a silver medal for the 50m backstroke and bronze medals for the 100m backstroke and breaststroke. He followed this up with new best times for the 100m IM and the 100m freestyle.

There were a further six bronze medallists on the day. Adam Brooks had a successful meet with five new PBs out of seven races and a bronze medal for the 100m IM. Further PBs came in the 50m & 100m butterfly and 50m & 100m freestyle, and he swam tantalisingly close to his best in the 50m & 100m backstroke. Ashleigh Blyth took 5 seconds off her PB to take bronze in the 200m IM and followed it up with another PB in the 50m backstroke and a fast swim in the 100m freestyle.

Boys club captain Kian McNelis claimed bronze for the 100m backstroke and swam very close to his best times in his other four events: the 50m freestyle, butterfly and backstroke and the 100m IM. Peter Maloney was awarded bronze for his 100m butterfly, and swam well in the 100m backstroke.

Luke Garrity had a packed schedule of nine races, winning bronze in the 200m IM and setting new PBs in the 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke. His kept up his concentration to produce great swims in many of his other events, particularly the 50m freestyle and backstroke.

Isabella McClafferty took bronze for the 100m butterfly and set a new PB in the 100m freestyle. She swam well in her remaining three races, getting close to her best each time.

Despite not medalling, other swimmers had a successful meet with many new fast times being set – a reward for their continued focus on training over the summer break. Darren Macleay made solid progress chipping away at his times with four new PBs out of five races. New times were set for the 50m freestyle, the 50m and 100m breaststroke and the 100m backstroke.

Both Holly Beck and Lucy Campbell made impressive starts to the competition, before illness began to affect performances. Both set new PBs in their first three events: the 200m IM, the 100m breaststroke and the 100m freestyle, but as the day wore on the girls were fighting hard to swim at their best. Both were rewarded with a final PB each in the afternoon session: Holly in the 100m backstroke and Lucy in the 50m breaststroke.

It was three PBs out of four for Mya McNelis, who swam well all day to improve her times in the 50m butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle, and just missed out on a new best in the 100m IM. Lukas Kong had to wait all morning to start his races, but swam close to his best in the 50m and 100m freestyle. He then went on to set new PBs in the 50m butterfly and backstroke.

Anna McClafferty swam in the 100m IM, the 50m freestyle and the 50m butterfly, setting a new PB in the freestyle and swimming close to her best times in her other races. Niamh Ward competed in the 100m IM and the 50m breaststroke, setting a new PB in the breast.

Coach Andrew Dyer was encouraged by the performance of the team: “After months without competition it can take a while for swimmers to get their racing sharpness back, and the judging meant even the slightest errors led to disqualification. The number of PBs was really encouraging and hopefully all swimmers can build on this momentum throughout the season.”

Swimmer of the month – May – August 2019

Swimmer of the month

Congratulations to all our swimmers of the month for the summer months:
May 2019 – Cammi Kerr
June 2019 – Olivia Lyne
July 2019 – Blake Herdman and Thomas Cannon
August 2019 – Lukas Kong

All five swimmers have been working extremely hard in training on their technique, speed and stamina and we can’t wait to see what improvements they are rewarded with when the racing season kicks off at the weekend.

Well done to our fabulous five and best of luck in the new season.


Talented trio prove they are amongst the best in Britain

Three swimmers from IASC took on the best of British age groups swimmers as they competed in the recent British Summer Championships at Tollcross in Glasgow. It was only the second time in the club’s history taking part in the highly prestigious event.

Under the guidance of Head Coach Shirley Reford the club made its British debut last year with Matthew Garrity and Aimee Watson competing in two events each. This year Aimee and Matthew were joined by Thomas Cannon, and competed in 11 events over six days.

While most youngsters have been enjoying their summer holidays and some downtime from competition, the talented trio have remained in hard training for the last month in order to be in the best shape possible. The early starts and long days presented additional challenges, and it was as much about mental preparation as physical preparation to remain focused and fresh.

The first day saw Matthew compete in the 100m breaststroke and Aimee go in the 50m breaststroke. Swimming in the heats in the morning, both qualified comfortably for their evening finals, with Aimee setting a new PB in her heat. In the finals, they both executed their races well. Matthew swam a new PB to finish 6th overall and Aimee claimed 5th place in her event.

On day two, all three swimmers were in action with Matthew and Thomas taking on the 50m breaststroke and Aimee competing in the 200m breaststroke. In Aimee’s race, she battled hard to finish 12th overall and be 2nd reserve for the evening final. Unfortunately, injury niggles in her knees flared up and she opted to withdraw and prioritise her recovery for her remaining races. Thomas swam a great race in his heat, finishing just outside his best time. It wasn’t quite enough to make the final, but it was a great debut for him at a British championship. It was an even more positive result for Matthew, who set a new PB in the heats to qualify for his second final in two days. In the evening, he went faster again, setting another PB and claiming 8th place overall.

Day three was a quieter day with just Matthew swimming in the 400m IM. Preparation for the race didn’t go as planned, and the brutal event took its toll with Matthew finishing adrift of his best time. It wasn’t the result he was hoping for, but it provided a valuable learning experience for the future.

On day four, Matthew was back in action with Thomas in the 200m breaststroke. Both swam well in their heats to earn reserve spots for the final: Matthew in 2nd reserve and Thomas in 1st reserve, just 0.09 seconds off 10th place. The club was hopeful that both would get to swim, but it wasn’t to be. This was Thomas’s last competitive swim for the club before he heads off to University next month. He was incredibly proud to be able to bow out at the highest level of competition. After the swim, mum Elaine joked “who would ever have thought the 10-year old who swam the wrong stroke in his first gala would make it all the way to the British championships?!”

On day five it was time for Aimee and Matthew to take on the 200m IM. Neither were able to get close to their best times and missed out on places in the finals. On the final day of competition Aimee was the sole representative swimming on the 100m breaststroke. She showed true grit and determination to come back from the disappointment of the 200m IM to qualify for the finals and finish 7th overall with another new PB.

Coach Shirley was with the swimmers for every session of the competition and was incredibly proud of how hard they worked and the performances they produced. She commented: “To go from making our debut last year with four swims, to having 11 this year – and several PBs – shows that everything is moving in the right direction for the club. It’s a real team effort to get swimmers to this level and the whole club celebrates their successes. But the swimmers themselves are the real heroes: they give it everything and I’m absolutely delighted at what they’ve achieved. To have three swimmers competing and making finals at the British championships is something we could only have dreamed of a few years ago.”

All four are now taking a well-earned rest with their families and recharging before the new season begins.


IASC success at the Scottish Summer Meet

While most of were enjoying or preparing for our summer holidays, six dedicated swimmers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club made the trip to Edinburgh to compete at the Scottish Summer Meet at the Royal Commonwealth Pool. The national event saw over 600 swimmers in action over four days of long competition. Their sacrifices certainly proved to be worth it: from 23 swims, the club achieved 17 finals places, 1 bronze, 4 silver and 2 gold medals and many new PB times.

The club got off to a great start, with Thomas Cannon and Matthew Garrity in action on the Thursday night in the 400m IM and the 800m freestyle respectively. Both boys swam to superb silver medals in these tough events, with Thomas also getting a new PB.

On the Friday the heats were in the morning and afternoon sessions with the finals in the evening. Matthew qualified for the finals in all three of his events – the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and the 400m freestyle. Matthew opted to withdraw from the 400m event to ensure he was fresh for the sprint distances. Aimee Watson also qualified for the 100m freestyle final.

Aaron Gray swam a great 100m butterfly, just missing out on a lane in the finals by finishing 9th. Next to swim for the club was Molly Cannon in the 100m breaststroke. Despite a good technical performance, Molly was unlucky to finish in 12th place and missed out on a swim in the evening final. Jay Keith was the lone representative for the club in the afternoon session. Swimming in his first summer meet, Jay gained valuable experience and performed well in the 100m butterfly and 50m breaststroke.

In the evening finals, Aimee went first in the 100m freestyle, finishing in 7th place just outside her fastest time. Matthew followed with a 4th place finish in the 50m freestyle final and 5th in the 100m butterfly, setting great new PBs in both races.

Saturday was another busy day for the club. The morning session saw Aimee, Thomas and Molly make the finals of all their events. In the afternoon, Jay swam another great race in the 100m breaststroke to finish in 10th place and just outside his best time.

The first finalist of the evening was Aimee in the 50m freestyle, finishing in 8th place with a new PB. She returned to action in the 100m butterfly, where she was seeded 6th for the final. Aimee put in an outstanding fighting performance to take the gold medal and set a great new PB.

Thomas was in action in three finals over the course of the evening. His first race was the 100m breaststroke, where he fought hard to take another silver medal. After a short rest, he was back for the 200m IM final. Seeded 6th in the event, Thomas managed to match his fastest time to take the bronze medal. He was then back in the pool almost immediately to contest the 50m backstroke final. Once again he managed to match his best time and finished in 6th place. Sister Molly was also in action in the 50m breaststroke final, improving on her morning time and finishing 7th overall.

The final day of competition on Sunday saw yet more finalists with Matthew the first swimmer in action in the evening. Competing in the 50m butterfly, Matthew finished in 5th place with a new PB. He was then back in action in the 200m freestyle. Having picked up a shoulder niggle in the butterfly, Matthew battled through the pain to secure a great silver medal, even swimming very close to his fastest time. Aimee was also competing in the 50m butterfly final and cruised to her second gold medal of the meet with a new PB time. Thomas then swam in the 100m backstroke, finishing in a solid 7th place. The last finalist of the meet was Molly in the 200m breaststroke. Molly had also contested the 100m backstroke in the morning, but missed out on a final place. In the breaststroke final however, Molly put in a disciplined performance to finish in 7th place.

Overall, it was an excellent set of results for the club. Coach Shirley Reford commented: “For some of the swimmers (Molly, Aaron and Jay), it was their last competition before the summer break and I’m impressed with their commitment as well as their performances. They’ve stayed focused in training and seized the opportunity to improved their racing skills and gain valuable experience of competing at a national level.

“With three of the swimmers in action preparing for the British Summer Championships later in July, it was an excellent set of results. Aimee, Matthew and Thomas are in the middle of hard training and preparation for the event, so winning seven medals here was a huge bonus and confidence boost for them. Their times were very encouraging, with a good number of PBs providing cause for optimism at the British Championships. We can’t wait to get there and compete against the best in Britain.”

The British Summer Championships take place from 23-28 July and will be live streamed via youtube. Follow Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for further details.


IASC take bronze in the Clyde Coast mini league final

Inverclyde battled to a superb bronze medal in a fiercely contested mini league final, equalling their result from the previous year.

Victory in each of the three qualifying rounds earned Inverclyde the second qualifying spot, but the level of competition in the final was far, far tougher and nothing was guaranteed for any team.

The atmosphere at the pool was incredible before the racing even started. Mini league events are always noisy and exciting, but the final takes the excitement – and the tension – to a whole new level. Drums, bells, horns and cheers helped create a carnival atmosphere. There was no need to motivate the swimmers – the whole team was ready to give it everything.

The six medley relay events were up first, getting the competition off to an exciting start. Inverclyde had dominated in the relays in the qualifying rounds, but both Ren 96 and City of Glasgow had incredibly strong teams. A great start saw the 9-year old girls team take second place with the boys following up with a third place. The 10-year old boys team took another second place and the 11-year old boys team came third in their race. The 10 and 11-year old girls teams were both desperately unlucky to be beaten to fourth place by a fraction of a second in some incredibly close racing.

Even after six events, it was clear that Ren 96 and City of Glasgow were performing strongly and would be battling it out for the win. It was also starting to look like Inverclyde and North Ayrshire would be fighting for the bronze medal spot. A scores update after the first round of individual events put Inverclyde in third place with a slim lead over North Ayrshire. More than ever before, every point would count.  

Throughout the individual swims, Inverclyde managed to secure some impressive victories. 9-year old Scott Brodie started the winning streak with victory in the 25m butterfly, and later added a win in the 25m freestyle. In the 10-year old category, Archie McArthur also did the double, winning the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly. Luke Garrity took first and second in the 11-year old 100m breaststroke and freestyle, followed by victory for Abi McAnerney in the 9-year old girls backstroke. Ryan Cummings completed the wins by taking full points in the 10-year old 50m breaststroke.

Points continued to add up in the individual events and there were a number of good second and third place finishes. Finlay Morrice secured two second places in the 8-year old 25m freestyle and breaststroke, with Blake Herdman taking another second spot in the 25m butterfly in the same age group. 10-year old Mirren McConnell also made it a double with second place finishes in the 50m freestyle and butterfly. 9-year olds Sophie Campbell and Josh Docherty also took second in the 25m butterfly and backstroke. Third place finishes for the team came from Isabella McClafferty in the 9-year old 25m freestyle and Peter Maloney in the 11-year old 100m butterfly.

Other individual swimmers put in strong performances to boost the points total. Nina Spirit-Hawthorne, Ella Morrison, Taguen Maloney, Eilidh Melrose, Lois Herdman, Eve Morrison, Olivia McNally and Charlotte Jones all swam well for valuable additional points.

By the end of the individual swims, Inverclyde had extended their lead over North Ayrshire, but with eight more relay events remaining, it was all still to play for. Inverclyde kept the momentum going and were able to bring in some fresher swimmers for an extra burst of pace. With the rest of the team and the support crew screaming them on from poolside and roars of encouragement from the spectators, Logan O’Donoghue, Alice McClafferty, Skye McLellan, Cameron Beck and Lukas Kong took full advantage of their fresh legs and helped extend the lead and power the team home to a brilliant third place.

Taking it to the very last race of the day, Ren 96 won out over City of Glasgow by just 3 points. The final scores were: Ren 96 238 points; City of Glasgow 235 points; Inverclyde 187 points; North Ayrshire 165 points; Kintyre 97 points; Scotia 88 points.

Coach Kyara Finlay oversees the mini league team and was ecstatic with the result. Amidst the celebrations, Kyara had lots of people to thank:

“Thanks to our amazing group of kids we’ve had another great year at mini league. The dedication and determination that each and every swimmer has put in is outstanding, and it amazes the coaches more and more each year. I’m so proud of them all.

“I’d like to say a huge thanks to our coaching team of Andrew Hemphill, Kelsey Finlay, Laura Mearns and Andrew Dyer. Thanks also to Claire McArthur and Clare Beck who have managed the team in every round. We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

“A special thanks to all of our volunteers who help in timekeeping, judging and all the many roles that are required for these events to run smoothly. Thanks also to our sponsors Beeks Financial Cloud for our amazing kit. We definitely had the best kit out of ALL the teams!

“Finally, I’d like to thank all of the mini league parents in the club for their dedication to the kids’ training and being so accommodating with having to travel to Drumchapel for pratice. We honestly could not have done any of this without you! Roll on mini league 2020!”

Roll on 2020 indeed!



IASC secure place in mini league final

Round three of mini league saw Inverclyde ASC make it three victories out of three and secure their place in the final on 8th June. There were strong individual swims across the afternoon, but this was a textbook team victory: hard fought and well won, with the best support crew in the business.

Inverclyde were the ‘home’ team, but had to host the event in Dunoon due to the broken floor at the Waterfront. Most of the team made the trip across the water several hours in advance to ensure competing teams had space on the ferries. Set up for the day was stressful and chaotic, but the large army of parent volunteers – along with the helpers from the visiting clubs of North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire – worked together with the staff team to get everyone in place on time.

Inverclyde were confident going into the competition, but victory was never guaranteed. Both North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire had strong teams, and the club knew it would come down to a battle for every point in the close races.

A good start in the medley relays saw Inverclyde take 25 points out of the first 30 available. The boys had a perfect start, and the girls 9-and-under team were very impressive in their win. A special mention must go to 8-year old Finlay Morrice, who swam up an age group in the 9-year old boys event in the final freestyle leg. Stroke for stroke down the final 25m, Finlay fought for every single millimetre against older competition to claim a stunning victory by the narrowest of margins. The gauntlet was thrown down and the team – and the supporting audience – responded with roars of encouragement.

In the individual events, the 10 and 11 year old boys were outstanding once again scoring maximum points. Luke Garrity and Peter Maloney won all four races for the 11-year olds, while Archie McArthur and Ryan Cummings took full marks for the 10-year olds. Teammates Lukas Kong (11) and Cameron Beck (10) took second place ahead of the competition in all of their reserve swims and aced the relays, proving once again how incredibly impressive and strong our boys are. It would be easy to take these boys for granted, but they fight for every point and are excellent role models for the team.

For the girls, however, things didn’t go according to plan. It seemed like fate was against us when one of our 11-year old girls took ill in the pool mid-race. Olivia McNally showed incredible team spirit to finish her 100m breaststroke race after losing her goggles and becoming sick during the race. Olivia had to withdraw immediately, but teammates Charlotte Jones and Amy Mearns and younger swimmer Lois Herdman valiantly stepped up to fill the gap. Olivia was devastated to withdraw, but will hopefully return fit and healthy for the final.

For the 10-year old girls, Mirren McConnell took home full points in the 50m freestyle and butterfly with Eve Morrison and Lois Herdman picking up valuable extra points for the team in the breaststroke and backstroke. Alice McClafferty, Skye McLellan and Niamh Ward also gave excellent performances in the relays and reserve swims.

In the 9-year old age group it was a real battle across boys and girls, with Inverclyde coming out on top. The boys – Scott Brodie and Josh Docherty – won 18 points out of 20, with Oliver Jones and Logan O’Donoghue putting in impressive performances for the club in the reserve lane. The 9-year old girls – Sophie Campbell, Eilidh Melrose and Isabella McClafferty – matched the boys score. Eilidh’s breaststroke race was another photo finish, where she fought with everything she had to claim the win. Abi McAnerney made a very impressive mini league debut and Beth Nichol and Ellie Atkinson also put in strong performances in the reserve lane to outswim the competition in many events.

Comprising of a mix of 7 and 8 year olds, the youngest age group showed exciting promise for the future. Finlay Morrice and Blake Herdman took 18 points out of 20 for the boys team, while Brodie McAthur, Charlie Lyne and Oliver Gibson also put in excellent performances throughout the afternoon. The girls team were also hampered with illness, with Taguen Maloney battling toothache all afternoon. They managed to keep their spirits up, with Taguen and team-mates Ella Morrison, Mirrin Fay, Nina Hawthorne-Smith and Olivia Lyne all performing well to make a valuable points contribution towards the team.

The score check before the final relays showed how tight the competition was, with only 22 points separating Inverclyde from North Ayrshire. With 40 points available, Inverclyde focused their efforts, and with a wall of sound in support were roared home to a win a vital 33 points. Every single swimmer gave it everything. Final score: Inverclyde 186, North Ayrshire 158, West Dunbartonshire 116.

Initially, team manager Clare Beck was just grateful the event was successful. She said: “We have a long-standing commitment to the mini league competition to host a match. Because of the ongoing issues with the broken pool floor we weren’t able to do that at the Waterfront. Thankfully the great team at Dunoon pool were happy to help us.

Hosting a competition in a pool you’re unfamiliar with is really difficult. We had to set everything up from scratch within 30 minutes: we didn’t even know where power sockets were! But the staff at pool were absolutely amazing. They helped us far more than they would have been expected to. They really made us feel at home and worked with us to overcome issues. Their customer service was truly exceptional and we are so thankful for their support.

The teams we were competing against were also amazing. The coaches and parent volunteers all pitched in to help with the set-up. It really was a group effort, and we’re really grateful to them as well for their patience and understanding. We know we’ve made the final, and we hope they have too. We also want to thank the Co-Op in Shore Street in Gourock who made a very generous donation of food and drink to us to give to the visiting swimmers: it was massively appreciated.”

Reflecting on the team’s performance, the coaches said: “We were really challenged in this round, and had to fight for points like never before, but it’s the best thing that could have happened. Seeing that will to win was inspiring. We’ve got a good track record in the final – we came third last year and second the year before – but that means nothing on the day. We will need to fight for every single point. Knowing that desire is there already creates a ripple effect in the team and spurs everyone on. The next couple of weeks will be spent working on the details that we can improve. Hopefully our team will be back to full strength and we can challenge for a medal in the final.” Don’t bet against us…

The future is bright at West District Future Stars

14 swimmers took to the water at the West District Future Stars competition in Tollcross and set out to prove that the future for the club is bright. 13 medals were won and 26 new PBs set over the two-day event.

Races are contested across three age groups: 11-14 year-olds, 15-16 year-olds and 17’s and over. For many swimmers at the younger end of the age groups, the event is a chance to gain race experience against high quality competition and hopefully set new PBs and improved seedings.

Indeed, the coaches were encouraged by the quality of the swimming on display from the team, which was reflected in the good number of PBs. But they stressed that it’s important to remember that not setting a new PB does not make it a bad result. There’s always something to learn and something to work on – PB or not, and there are always positives to take away too.

Sam Sharkey was in impressive form in the 17+ category, coming away with two golds and two silvers. He won gold for the 100m and 200m backstroke – setting a new PB in his 100m – and took silver for the 50m butterfly and freestyle with another new PB in the butterfly.

Molly Cannon was equally impressive in the 15-16 years category to win both of her events on the Sunday. She set a new PB to win the 400m IM in the morning and improved on her second place seeding in the 50m backstroke.

Fellow 15-year old Ashleigh Blyth also had a great competition, winning silver in the 50m backstroke and bronze in the 50m freestyle by setting new PBs and improving on her seedings in both events. Ashleigh also came 8th in the 200m backstroke, ahead of her 9th place seeding, and matched her 17th place seeding in the 100m freestyle.

One of the busiest swimmers of the weekend was Jay Keith, who was rewards with two medals and five new PBs for his seven events in the 11-14 category. Jay won silver in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m butterfly. Like Ashleigh, Jay set PBs and improved on his seedings in both events. Equally impressive were the PB’s he set in the 50m breaststroke and butterfly to finish 5th and 6th place respectively: a great improvement from his 13th and 10th place seedings. Jay also matched or improved on his seedings in the 50m backstroke, 200m butterfly and 400m freestyle, showing the diversity of his talent in both strokes and distances.

Another busy swimmer was Kian McNelis who swam in six events in the 15-16 category. Kian also came away with a silver and a bronze medal and set another two PBs in the process: silver for the 50m freestyle and bronze for the 100m backstroke. Kian also secured top 10 finishes in the 100m butterfly, the 200m IM and the 800m freestyle. and an 11th place in the 50m butterfly. Once again, the coaches were delighted to see strong results across such a wide range of events.

The final medallist of the event was Adam Brooks, who scooped a bronze medal for the 400m freestyle with a new PB in the 15-16 category. He also came fourth in the 50m backstroke and set new PBs in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Cammy Kerr took sixth place in the 1500m freestyle with a new PB for the 15-16 category and finished 14th in the 800m freestyle. Oliver Patton set new PBs in the 100m and 200m backstroke, improving on his seedings in both events and was just outside his best time in the 400m freestyle. All three boys should be pleased with their performances and continued improvement.

In the 17 and over old category, Lauren Macleay wasn’t able to improve on her times but still managed to finish in a respectable fifth and seventh place in the 100m freestyle and 200m IM. Brother Darren was also just outside his fastest times, but still put in solid performances in the 50m breaststroke, backstroke and 100m butterfly.

Two females came away with 100% PBs from the competition: Abbie Logan and Anna McClafferty. 15-year old Abbie was at the younger end of her events and did well to finish 13th, ahead of her 19th place seeding in the 100m breaststroke and beat her 31st place seeding in the 100m freestyle to take 25th. 14-year old Anna finished 20th from a 33rd place seeding in the 50m freestyle and moved from a 56th place seeding to finish 39th inthe 100m backstroke. The faster times and improved rankings will motivate both girls for their remaining races before the summer break.

13 year old April Craynor also improved her times and outperformed her rankings in three of her four events. She set new PBs in the 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke, moving up on her seedings each time to finish 38th, 40th and 29th. April should be filled with confidence from her performance for the rest of the season.

At just 11 years old, Luke Garrity was the youngest swimmer to represent the club. Swimming against much older competition, Luke set a new PB to finish 43rd in the 100m backstroke ahead of his 54th place ranking. He was unlucky to finish just outside his best time in the 200m breaststroke, but still managed 24th fastest in the 11-14 years age group.

Well done to everyone for their effort over the competition.


Inverclyde record an impressive victory at mini league round 2

Round two of the Clyde Coast Mini League saw IASC make it two wins out of two with a stunning victory in Ayr.

Inverclyde were competing against Kilmarnock and South Ayrshire. Confidence was high after victory in the first round, but a late change of date meant many of the team were unavailable to compete. Roadworks on the A78 added further travel complications and in the end, the club was relieved to be able to field a full team.

On the day, the additional pressure brought out the best in the swimmers with the team scoring an incredible 212 points out of the 230 available. Once again, the boys were dominant across all age groups, but this time, the girls showed great improvement to boost the previous points total.

First up were the medley relays, with Inverclyde taking 28 out of the 30 points on offer through some impressive and dominant swimming. Many swimmers were swimming up an age category to complete the 4-person teams, and coped admirably with the responsibility.

In the individual events, the boys dropped just two points across the entire competition. Even the swimmers competing in the Inverclyde reserve lane were impressive. Although swimmers in the reserve lane cannot earn points, they get valuable racing experience and compete every bit as fiercely as their teammates.

In the 8 and under category, Blake Herdman, Brodie McArthur and Finlay Morrice each won their individual events: Blake in the 25m freestyle and butterfly; Brodie in the 25m backstroke and Finlay in the 25m breaststroke.

For the 9-year olds, Scott Brodie won the 25m butterfly and freestyle. Josh Docherty won the 25m backstroke and took second place in the breaststroke. In the 10-year old boys category it was another 100% win rate for the team. Archie McArthur won the 50m backstroke and butterfly and Ryan Cummings won the 50m freestyle and breaststroke.

In the 11-year old boys category, Peter Maloney and Luke Garrity improved on their points score in the first round to make it full marks in their four events. Peter won the 100m butterfly and backstroke events and Luke won the 100m freestyle and breaststroke.

The reserve swims across all the age groups were equally impressive. Oliver Gibson, Oliver Jones, Cameron Beck and Lukas Kong all did well, beating all other teams on several occasions to record multiple Inverclyde first and second place finishes.

In the girls team, there was lots of cause for optimism, with some strong swimming across the age groups. In the 8 and under category, the girls matched the boys by winning all the individual events. Nina Spirit Hawthorne won the 25m freestyle and breaststroke while Taguen Maloney won the 25m butterfly and backstroke.

The 9-year old girls bettered their male counterparts by recording 100% victories. Sophie Campbell won in the 25m butterfly and backstroke, Eilidh Melrose in the 25m breaststroke and Isabella McClafferty in the 25m freestyle.

The 10-year old girls also won all their races: Lois Herdman in the 50m backstroke, Mirren McConnell in the 50m freestyle and butterfly and Alice McClafferty in the 50m breaststroke. Competition was toughest for the 11-year old girls, but Olivia McNally and Charlotte Jones should be positive about the improved times they achieved against strong swimmers.

The reserve girls performed well throughout the afternoon, scoring many more second place finishes. Mirrin Fay, Ellie Atkinson, Beth Nichol, Skye McLellan and Amy Mearns were among those competing, with a number of new PBs being set.

By the end of the individual swims, the score check showed Inverclyde had a 50 point lead and could not be caught, but there was no chance of the young team taking it easy in the freestyle relays. Once again, they claimed victory in all but one of the races, with more impressive times being recorded.

Race of the day was undoubtedly the final boys squadron relay. Despite strong swims in the first few legs, South Ayrshire had a good lead over the Inverclyde team. Each swimmer worked tirelessly to close the gap and by the final 25m there was nothing between the teams. With the whole of the Inverclyde team screaming him home, Luke Garrity managed to inch ahead and claim victory by less than a second.

Mini league coach Andrew Hemphill reflected on the performance with these words: “In round one we saw some great individual performances, but in this round we really showed our strength as a team. Holidays meant that some of the team were unavailable so we had to make changes. Some of the swimmers were asked to compete outside their comfort zone, but they managed it with incredible maturity. Every swimmer focussed on the task in hand and swam incredibly well across all the events. Such a strong team performance reminds us that swimming is not always an individual sport, and such a great team spirit from swimmers, officials, supporters and parents will be a massive advantage as we head into our home round, and hopefully the final!”

The third round will be hosted by Inverclyde ASC in Dunoon (due to the broken floor at the Waterfront) on Sunday 19th May. All are hoping the winning streak continues and a place in the final is secured.

British Championships 2019 Preview

It’s almost time for the #BSC19 British Swimming Championships – the biggest national event in swimming – and three Inverclyde swimmers will be there competing alongside the likes of Adam Peaty.

The event – held in Glasgow’s Tollcross – runs from Tuesday 16th – Sunday 21st April. We are incredibly proud to have swimmers representing the club in this prestigious competition. Both Aimee Watson and Thomas Cannon will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and Matthew Garrity in the100m breaststroke.

Good luck to our talented trio – we will keep you updated on their progress, but here’s a rundown of their events.

Tuesday 16th April
Event 101: Aimee in the 50m breaststroke
Event 106: Thomas and Matthew in the 100m breaststroke

Wednesday 17th April
Event 201: Thomas in the 50m breaststroke
Event 206: Aimee in the 200m breaststroke

Friday 19th April
Event 404: Thomas in the 200m breaststroke

Sunday 21st April
Event 602: Aimee in the 200m breaststroke


Super SNAGS for IASC

15 swimmers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club recently competed in the Scottish National Age Group (SNAGS) championships – the biggest and most important competition in the junior swimming calendar.

Hopes were high for a successful meet, but few would have dared dream of the success that was to unfold across the five days of competition. Overall, the team finished 18th out of 102 teams – the first time in the club’s history that a top 20 placing has been achieved. There were six Scottish champions, 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 1 bronze, 12 additional finals qualifications and multiple PBs and improved national rankings.

One of the two busiest swimmers, Matthew Garrity swam in eight individual events in the 15 year old age group and had the competition of his life. Matthew won gold and was crowned Scottish champion in the 100m and 200m breaststroke with two new PB times. He won silver and was crowned Scottish champion (as the fastest Scot competing) in the 200m and 400m IM with another two great PBs. On top of this, he won silver in the 800m freestyle, and bronze in the 50m breaststroke (again with PBs) and came 4th in the 400m freestyle. Matthew qualified in 5th place for the 50m freestyle but withdrew to focus on his 100m breaststroke event the same evening.

Fellow 15 year old Aimee Watson was also competing every day in eight individual events and returned another superb set of results. Aimee won gold and was crowned Scottish champion in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and won silver in the 200m breaststroke and 200m IM. In addition to the medals, Aimee qualified for the final of the 50m butterfly, where she finished 7th and came 13th, 16th and 22nd in the 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle respectively.

Thomas Cannon showed his versatility by qualifying for seven individual events where he either matched or improved his ranking and set five new PBs. Swimming in the 17-18 year old age group, Thomas also made the finals of five events. His best results came in the breaststroke, where he finished 5th in the 200m, 6th in the 50m and 7th in the 100m events. He also achieved a 7th place finish in the 400m IM. In the 100m backstroke, Thomas qualified for the final in 10th place, but withdrew to focus in his 200m breaststroke the same night. An 11th place in the 50m backstroke and 13th in the 200m IM completed a very successful meet for Thomas.

Sister Molly was also busy, swimming in three individual events: the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke. It was another great result for the Cannon family, with Molly making all three finals in the 15 year old age group category. She swam new best times to finish 8th in both the 50m and 100m events, way ahead of her 16th and 21st place seedings. In the 200m event, Molly swam to a 6th place finish, just outside her PB but ahead of her 9th place seeding.

Jay Keith was competing in four events in the 14 year old age group and came away with a great set of new PBs and improved national rankings. He narrowly missed out on a spot in the finals for the 100m breaststroke when he finished 11th. A 14th place in the 200m butterfly, 17th in the 100m butterfly and 22nd in the 50m butterfly showed just how much he has improved in this stroke.

Aaron Gray was swimming in two individual events for the first time: the 16 year old 100m and 200m butterfly. Aaron came to the event after a great run of results, and his confidence showed. In the 200m event he finished as first reserve and was unlucky not to make the final. The 100m event came later, where he swam a superb new PB to finish 13th. Kian McNelis qualified individually for the 200m and 400m freestyle in the 16 year old category and put in strong performances in both events to secure top 20 finishes.

Oliver Patton and Lewis Gray were also competing in their first individual SNAGS events, both in the 13 year old age group. Oliver swam in the 100m and 200m backstroke and Lewis in the 50m breaststroke. Both boys put in a solid performance and gained invaluable experience for future national events.

In the relay events, the 14-16 boys team took on three relay events, setting new PB’s and finishing ahead of their seeding each time. The team of Matthew, Aaron, Kian, Adam Brooks and Cammi Kerr came 8th in the 4x100m medley and 12th in both the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle.

The 14-16 girls team also performed well to score two out of three PBs and exceed their seedings. Ashleigh Blyth and Anna McClafferty made up the team with Aimee and Molly, exceeding expectations against much older and more experienced competition.

The 11-13 year old boys were determined to do their bit for the club, and swam new PBs to finish 11th in the 4x100m medley relay and 16th in the 4x100m freestyle event. Well done to Oliver, Lewis, Luke Garrity and Alistair Currie.

The club also had a mixed team competing in the 14-16 age group, which managed to grab a superb 6th place finish in the 4x100m medley with a new PB. Well done to Molly, Matthew, Aaron and Aimee and all the relay teams for some great teamwork.

Head coach Shirley Reford has just about settled down after all the celebrations and had this to say: “The preparation in the lead up to SNAGS was intense and the workload required from the swimmers was very tough. The performances overall were outstanding in both team and individual events. Finishing 18th out of 102 clubs was a magnificent achievement, considering we are a relatively small club. I’m extremely proud of how we performed at the top level.”

Indeed, Shirley’s words echo the feeling throughout the club. Everyone is immensely proud of the medals and the finals, but the PBs and improvement in seedings across a wide range of strokes and distances is causing just as much pride. They show what an exciting time it is for the club and how much the whole team is developing and improving. Team spirit is at an all-time high and the swimmers due to take part in upcoming competitions are desperate to play their part in keeping that going. I wouldn’t bet against them.

SNAGS Day 5 Round Up

One minute it feels like a marathon – the next minute you’re almost at the end. Sport is funny like that. Just as well we won a few more medals today to keep the momentum up. Here’s what happened on the final day of #SNAGS2019.

The final morning at #SNAGS2019 was one of our busiest. First up were Matthew Garrity and Thomas Cannon in the 200m IM. Matthew qualified comfortably for the final in 2nd place, just outside his PB. Thomas went next with a great swim to finish 13th ahead of his 15th place seeding. Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough to secure a place in the finals.

Next we were back to our breaststroke ladies, Aimee Watson and Molly Cannon in the 100m event. Both swam well, with Aimee securing the fastest qualification for the evening final. Molly swam a PB and finished in 11th place as first reserve for the final. Yet again, it was a wait to see if she would get to swim it, and she got her chance! More on that later…

Brother Thomas was up next in the 50m backstroke heats. Just like Molly, Thomas swam a PB to finish as 1st reserve, but unfortunately he didn’t get to swim again. Despite this disappointment, Thomas has had an excellent competition and should be very proud of what’s he’s achieved.

Next, Aimee was back in the pool again for the 50m butterfly, doing well to qualify for the final in 7th place. Matthew was back in the action as well, swimming the 800m freestyle. The tough distance event can really take it out of swimmers, but as 2nd seed, Matthew was in with a good chance of a medal. It was a tough race, but Matthew swam extremely well to set a new PB and claim his silver medal. 4 medals won by Matthew, and still the evening finals to come!

Last race of the morning was the 14-16 girls 4 x 200m freestyle relay. The team of Molly, Anna McClafferty, Ashleigh Blyth and Aimee swam a brilliant PB to move up to 29th place from their 34th place seeding. Well done girls.

It was another quiet afternoon, with just the 11-13 boys relay team competing in the 4 x 100m medley relay. Oliver Patton, Luke Garrity, Lewis Gray and Alistair Currie had a fabulous swim, setting a new PB and finishing 11th ahead of their 13th place seeding. Well done boys.

The first final of the night was Matthew in the 200m IM. It was a repeat of the 400m event, with Matthew going up against Pietro Ubertalli. Having competed so well in the 800m freestyle earlier, there were a few nerves around whether Matthew would have enough energy left to be competitive in the race. It started out as expected, with Matthew holding 3rd place on the butterfly leg, but losing ground on the backstroke. He had quite a gap to bridge for the breaststroke, but he did it in style, not only moving up to 2nd place, but challenging for 1st. It was neck and neck down the final 50m, and in the end Matthew was beaten by just 0.03 seconds. He is still crowned Scottish champion as the fastest finishing Scot, and you will not see a more exciting finish to a 200m IM swim this year. Amazing stuff.

It was the girls on the 100m breaststroke next, with Molly getting her place in the final as hoped. In a way, the pressure was off Molly, and she could just enjoy the race. No such luck for Aimee however. As fastest qualifier, she was the one to beat. A close start to the race saw Aimee just edge ahead slightly. She built a small lead down the first 50m, and executed a good turn to remain in the lead. But the pressure was relentless and with every stroke the winning margin narrowed. Our girl was not to be beaten though, and kept everyone else at bay to claim her second Scottish champion title of the competition. Amazing Aimee!

In the same race, Molly was able to swim it her way in the outside lane, and powered home to another PB and an 8th place finish: not a bad effort from 1st reserve! Like brother Thomas, Molly has been outstanding in this competition and should be full of confidence for the rest of the season.

The last final of #SNAGS2019 was upon us, and it was only fitting that with Matthew starting the night, Aimee was the one to end it. She swam in the 50m butterfly final and finished just outside her best time in 7th place.

And like that, we are done. Every race has been swum and we are all completely drained. We’ve had disappointment and elation alike, but overall, #SNAGS2019 has exceeded every expectation. We’re going to rest and reflect on what we’ve achieved and come back with some words of wisdom in the next couple of days.

If you’ve read this far and you’ve enjoyed being part of the journey, please let your friends know about us. We’re looking to grow the club with new members, and you never know who the next Matthew and Aimee might be. It might just be your child…

But tonight is for those very special people who have given us some amazing memories over the last five days. Our SNAGS class of 2019: Matthew, Aimee, Thomas, Molly, Aaron, Jay, Kian, Oliver, Lewis, Ashleigh, Anna, Adam, Luke, Alistair and Cammi. Our amazing coaches: Shirley, Kyara, Andrew and Sarah. Our amazing mums and dads and grandparents and brothers and sisters. And the amazing extended family that is our club. Until next year!


SNAGS Day 4 Round Up

#SNAGS2019 is a marathon of a competition and never does that feel more true than at the start of day 4. So what a perfect time to be told you’re making history for your club. Would the pressure get to our swimmers? Another two medals and ANOTHER Scottish champion says not a chance! Here’s the story of today.

Coaches and swimmers alike were boosted by the news this morning that after 3 days of competition, not only were Inverclyde in the top 20, but that we had already beaten our total points score from the previous year. It was great to see proof of just how much the club is improving and developing year on year. It gave the swimmers that extra bit of motivation – not that they needed it!

It was ladies first in the morning session, with Aimee Watson in the 200IM putting in a solid performance to qualify for the finals in 3rd place. Next was Kian McNelis in the 200m freestyle, finishing in 17th place with a new long course PB. After a short recovery, Aimee was back in action in the 100m butterfly. She was unlucky to finish a couple of seconds off her PB in 13th place, narrowly missing out on another final. Aaron Gray was next up in the same event. Like Aimee, Aaron finished in 13th place, but will be delighted with a new PB for his efforts.

Next it was time for Matthew Garrity and Thomas Cannon in the 400m IM. Both boys swam well to qualify comfortably for the evening’s finals – Matthew in 2nd place and Thomas in 6th. The last race for the club in the morning session was the 14-16 boys 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Kian, Adam Brooks, Aaron and Matthew swam a fabulous race to set a new PB and finish 12th overall, ahead of their 17th place seeding.

It was a quiet afternoon for the club, with just Jay Keith swimming in the 100m butterfly. He swam well, and finished just a fraction off the PB he set a couple of weeks ago to gain 17th place.

Aimee was first out in the evening finals for the 200m IM. In the first butterfly leg, Aimee was well positioned in third place. Race leader Katie Shanahan looked unstoppable from only 25m, and even second place looked out of reach after the backstroke leg. But a brilliant breaststroke from Aimee pulled her into silver medal position and she held her nerve to swim home to a phenomenal second place with a massive PB. Unbelievably exciting stuff from Aimee!

Next up was Matthew in the 400m IM. A strong butterfly put him in a good position, but his rivals clawed time back on the backstroke. Breaststroke was always where Matthew was going to shine, and he used his strength to great advantage and pulled himself into a solid second position. He stayed strong and no-one could catch him on the freestyle 100m, as he swam home to claim silver overall, and be crowned Scottish champion for the event, in another superb PB time. Triple Scottish champion fairly rolls off the tongue!

Our last final was from Thomas Cannon in the 400m IM. Thomas was seeded 6th, so hopes were more for a PB than a medal. The field was strong, and despite a fast first couple of legs, the gap was too great for Thomas to get into a medal position. He stayed focused however, to finish strongly in 7th place, with that coveted new PB time. Well done Thomas – you have set new PBs in almost every event so far!

WOW. Two more medals; another Scottish champion, and more PBs that show our are swimmers are heading in the right direction. The club stopped training tonight to watch and support Aimee in her final. That’s what we do here at Inverclyde: we’re a team. We’re small but we’re mighty, and we’re with them to the last stroke. Tomorrow is our last day, the finish line is in sight and we’ve still got some strong events to compete in. Join us all for the last push.

SNAGS Day 3 Round Up

We’re over halfway through the competition now and success is as much about mental strength as physical strength. Do our swimmers have what it takes? Another medal says yes! Here’s our round up of the events on day 3 of #SNAGS2019.

First off the blocks for the club was Matthew Garrity in the 50m freestyle. Matthew swam a great race, beating his previous PB and qualifying for the final in 5th place, ahead of his 7th place seeding. Next up was Aimee Watson for the same event. Aimee was just off her best time but still finished in a respectable 16th place.

It was back to the breaststroke next with Matthew and Thomas Cannon taking on the 100m distance. Both boys qualified comfortably for the final – Matthew in 2nd place and Thomas in 5th place – with Thomas setting yet another new PB.

The final race of the morning was the 14-16 girls 4 x 100m freestyle relay. The team of Molly Cannon, Anna McClafferty, Ashleigh Blyth and Aimee swam their hearts out to a new PB.

In the afternoon session Oliver Patton swam in the 200m backstroke, finishing in a solid 28th place. Jay Keith in the 100m breaststroke was up next. Jay swam incredibly well to score a new PB and finish as first reserve for the evening final. Once again, it was a nervous wait to see if Jay would get a place, and once again it wasn’t to be. Jay should still be very proud of his achievements.

The first final of the evening should have been Matthew in the 50m freestyle, but he took the decision to withdraw to focus on the 100m breaststroke. Only time would tell if he made the right decision, but at least it wasn’t a long wait to find out. With Jay not getting a place, Matthew’s breaststroke was to be our first final of the evening.

The commentators pitched it as the battle between 50m and 200m, and they weren’t wrong. As they emerged after the start Matthew was in second place, with very little in it. It was all to play for at the turn, and Matthew emerged ahead – a lead he was not going to surrender. For the next 20 metres he was under pressure, before his strong finish pulled him clear to win his second gold of the competition. Hard fought and well won!

Thomas Cannon followed minutes later in the same event. Having qualified in 5th place, Thomas had great confidence, but it wasn’t to be his night. Several swimmers were able to step it up a gear to claim the medals. Thomas finished in 7th, just hundreds of a second off 5th place. It was a bittersweet moment, but once the towels have dried, Thomas should be very proud of his achievements this year.

Another day, another medal. Sometimes, our amazing young swimmers can make it look easy, when it’s anything but. So as we head into the weekend and a couple of days off, spare a thought for our swimmers, coaches and supporting families, who will be back poolside at the crack of dawn for another bid at PBs, finals and medals. The rest of the club is willing you on: one team, one dream.

SNAGS Day 2 Round Up

We are well and truly in the thick of the competition now, as IASC saw five finalists and two more medals in the second day of competition. Here’s what happened in #SNAGS2019 day 2.

First to swim in the morning session were Molly Cannon and Aimee Watson in the 200m breaststroke heats. Both girls were well off their PB times, as were most of the field, but still managed to comfortably secure qualification for the evening final – Molly in 9th place and Aimee in 2nd.

Aaron Gray qualified as first reserve for the in the 200m butterfly final after finishing the heats in 11th place. This was a great achievement for Aaron in his first individual SNAGS swim. He faced a nervous wait to see if he could get a place in the final but it wasn’t to be. He can still take great confidence from his performance into the 100m event.

Next up was Matthew Garrity and Thomas Cannon in the 50m breaststroke. Both put in impressive performances to set new PBs and qualify for the finals in 2nd and 7th place.

Matthew was in action again shortly afterwards in the 400m freestyle heats along with Kian McNelis. Despite being a few seconds off his best time Matthew managed to qualify easily for the finals in 4th place. Kian wasn’t quite as fortunate. Although he improved on his seeding, it wasn’t enough to qualify for the final as he finished in 19th position.

The final races of the morning were the girls and boys 14-16 4 x 100m medley relays. The girls team of Molly, Aimee, Ashleigh Blyth and Anna McClafferty swam first and finished just off their PB in 26th place overall – well ahead of their 33rd place seeding. The boys relay team of Adam Brooks, Matthew, Aaron and Kian closed the morning session with a new PB to finish in an impressive 8th place.

In the afternoon session, Jay Keith swam a great new PB to finish 14th in the 200m butterfly. Two 200m butterfly swims in one day at SNAGs is a first for our club and it’s great to see more of our swimmers competing in previously less popular events.

Lewis Gray was the last of the day-time swims with the 50m breaststroke, where he finished just outside his PB. Like brother Aaron, Lewis was competing in his first individual event in SNAGS and gained valuable experience for the rest of his events over the weekend.

It was role reversal in the evening finals with Matthew and Thomas taking on the 50m breaststroke and Aimee and Molly taking on the 200m event and hopes were high for more medals.

Aimee and Molly were the first out in the 200m breaststroke final. From the start Aimee was in a strong second position behind race leader Katie Shanahan. Aimee kept in touching distance for the first three lengths, but despite a strong surge in the final 50m, she couldn’t make up enough distance on Katie and had to settle for silver. Molly, in the outside lane also had a fantastic swim to grab 6th place from her 9th place qualification.

In Matthew’s 50m breaststroke it was all about the start. From the off, the swimmers were tightly packed, but the order remained unchanged, despite the onslaught of pressure. Matthew managed to hold on to 3rd place to win a great bronze medal. The 17-18 year olds race was another tightly packed field, but Thomas pulled out yet another PB to finish in 6th place ahead of his 7th place qualifying. Amazing swimming once again from the boys.

The last final of the night saw Matthew going up in the 400m freestyle. It was a complete contrast to the 50m breaststroke, and Matthew had to recover quickly and compose himself for the more tactical distance event. He did really well to finish 4th just outside his best time after a hectic day of competition.

So as the lights dim on day two, we are going to try and get as much rest and recovery as we can, before it all begins again at 9am. Tomorrow will bring lots more swimming, and with that come lots more tension and cheering for the club. Bring it on folks – these are the problems we want to have!


SNAGS Day 1 Round Up

What a day. 2 Scottish champions? Well, yes… but let’s start at the beginning…

It was a successful morning at day 1 of #SNAGS2019 with 4 swims securing a place in the evening finals. Matthew Garrity qualified in 1st place for his 200m breaststroke final and Thomas Cannon in 7th place with a new PB for the same event. For the girls, both Aimee Watson and Molly Cannon were in great form, securing PBs to book their places in the 50m breaststroke final – Aimee qualifying in 1st place and Molly in 8th.

Thomas also came 10th in his 100m backstroke event and Aimee finished in 22nd position for the 100m freestyle. In the afternoon session, Oliver Patton finished 35th in the 100m backstroke and Jay Keith came 22nd in the 100m butterfly with a new PB.

The 14-16 boys team scored a big new PB to improve on their 14th place seeding and finish 12th overall in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. Well done to Cammi Kerr, Aaron Gray, Kian McNelis and Matthew. The 11-13 boys did it again, scoring a big PB to finish 16th over their 19th place seeding in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Well done to Oliver Patton, Luke Garrity, Lewis Gray and Alistair Currie. The 14-16 mixed team also scored a big PB to finish 6th in the 4 x 100m medley relay. Well done also to Molly, Matthew, Aaron and Aimee.

In the evening finals it was all about the breaststroke. 2 boys, 2 girls, 2 distances, 1 aim: swim fast. The boys were going in the 200m event and the girls in the 50m. The boys were first up, with Matthew Garrity looking to improve on his silver medal last year and Thomas Cannon hoping to better his 7th place finish both last year and in qualifying.

Having qualified in 1st place in the morning, all the pressure was on Matthew. He got off to a solid start, but lane 5 next to him took an early and dominant lead. Matthew kept a cool head and stuck to a comfortable 3rd place for the first 150m, which did nothing to settle the nerves of his coaches, family and clubmates. At the final turn, however, Matthew injected a burst of speed that no-one could match. He executed his race to perfection and went on the win in dominant style with a 3 second PB. Even the commentators were impressed!

Aimee Watson had no such luxuries in her race. The 50m event is a flat-out sprint, and despite being the defending champion and qualifying fastest, Aimee and her coaches knew nothing could be taken for granted. Aimee managed to build on a very slim lead at the halfway mark and extend it by inches with each remaining stroke to claim the victory in exciting fashion.

In the same final, Molly Cannon held off the competition to secure her 8th place finish. Brother Thomas swam a phenomenal race in the 17-18 yo 200m breaststroke category to finish above his 7th place seeding in 5th taking an incredible 4 seconds off his PB.

Did all that really happen and is it only day 1?

Never end #SNAGS2019, never end!


Clydeview Academy, Gourock St Columba’s High School, Gourock

99 medals and we’re still not done

With 99 medals, 5 best boy/girl awards and 8 new meet records, IASC’s recent display at the Falkirk Otters Gala in Grangemouth was one of the most successful meets in the club’s history.

Saturday morning’s competition was for 7-10 year olds, with 11-12 year olds competing in the afternoon session. Saturday’s swimmers could compete in the 50m versions of all four strokes and the 100m IM. On Sunday it was the turn of the 11-15 year olds in the 100m and 200m events, 200m IM and 400m freestyle. Medals were awarded for 1st – 6th place finishes across both days.

Medals came thick and fast in the Saturday morning session. Top of the class were Archie McArthur and Finlay Morrice, both of whom won ‘best boy’ award for their age group. Archie was in incredible form once again to take five golds out of five and set new meet records in four of the events. Newcomer Finlay Morrice turned training potential into results, winning three golds, one silver and one bronze in one of his first competitions with the club.

Archie’s younger brother Brodie kept up the family momentum, winning three silvers and a 5th place medal and setting new PBs in every race. Cameron Beck added to the medal tally with one silver, three bronze and a 4th place medal. Showing once again how strong the young squad of boys in Inverclyde are, yet more medals came from Ryan Cummings, Scott Brodie and Oliver Gibson. Ryan won two bronze and three 4th places, Scott Brodie bagged one bronze, three 4th places and a 5th place medal and Oliver gained two 4th places and a 6th place medal.

Leading the way for the 7-10 girls was Mirren McConnell, winning two bronze and two 4th place medals and securing good new PBs. Isabella McClafferty won a 4th place medal and set new PBs in all her events. Abi McAnerney took a 5th place medal, Eilidh Melrose scooped two 6th place medals and Mirrin Fay took a 6th place too.

The Inverclyde A and B mixed relay teams finished the morning in style, taking gold and bronze in the squadron relay event.

In the afternoon session, the 11-12 year olds were determined to keep the winning streak going and they didn’t disappoint. Star of the afternoon, Betty Fischer-Keogh was awarded best girl for winning four golds and a bronze and setting a new meet record for the 50m breaststroke.

Alistair Currie took two golds from two on the Saturday and Lewis Anderson added a silver, a bronze and two 5th place medals to the pot. Holly Beck won a 4th, 5th and 6th medal and Kerr Melrose took two 5th and two 6th place medals. Olivia McNally added a 5th place medal and Anna McClafferty added a 6th place. The mixed relay team then finished the day with a silver medal in the 4 x 50m relay.

It was a smaller team representing the club on the Sunday, but ambitions were just as big, with some swimmers taking part in their last competition before SNAGS.

Aaron Gray and Luke Garrity were the stand out swimmers for the club, both winning best boy in their age groups. Aaron won four golds out of four, set three new meet records and set three new PBs for a near perfect build up to his SNAGS competition. Young Luke won two golds and four bronze to boost his confidence for SNAGS as well.

Lucy Campbell was top of the Inverclyde girls, winning two gold and three silver medals. Darren Macleay took two silver and a bronze and Lewis Gray took a silver, a bronze and a 4th place medal. Emma Sharkey grabbed two bronze medals and Anna McClafferty took home a bronze, 5th and 6th place medal.

Kerr Melrose and Alistair Currie both added to their medal count from Saturday, with Kerr taking two 4th places and Alistair adding a 5th and 6th place medal to his Saturday victories. Mya McNelis finished just outside the medals in her Saturday events, but new PBs were to set her up for a 5th and 6th place medal on the Sunday.

Shaun Wiseman also won a 5th place medal and Ben Hughes added a 6th place to the medal tally. The mixed relay team then finished the weekend in style with another gold medal.

Other IASC swimmers achieving new PBs over the weekend were Connor McCrorey, Charlie Lyne, Josh Docherty, Nina Spirit-Hawthorne, Sophie Campbell, Logan O’Donoghue, Corey McGivern, Olivia Lyne, Katherine Simpson, Douglas Campbell, Nuala Munro, Katie Deegan, Rory Munro, Julie Begg and Niamh Ward.

Despite such a huge haul of medals, Inverclyde just missed out on the best club award by 5 points to Milngavie and Bearsden swimming club. It was disappointing not to win the overall award, but the sheer number of PBs and medals achieved shows just what a force to be reckoned with the club has become.

SNAGS 2019 Preview

It’s almost time for the biggest and most important competition in our calendar: #SNAGS2019

Over 5 days of competition – starting tomorrow – 15 IASC swimmers will compete in 37 individual events and 9 relay events. Can Matthew and Aimee defend their titles? Will we crown new Scottish champions? We can’t wait to find out. Good luck to all our team, check out who is swimming what below. Keep an eye on our page for details of live streaming each day.

  • Matthew Garrity – 8 individual events: 50m, 100m & 200m breast; 50m, 400m & 800m free; 200m & 400m IM. 4 relays: 400m mixed medley, 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Aimee Watson – 8 individual events: 50m, 100m & 200m breast; 50m & 100m free; 50m & 100m fly; 200m IM. 4 relays: 400m mixed medley, 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Thomas Cannon – 7 individual events: 50m, 100m & 200m breast; 50m & 100m back; 200m IM & 400IM

  • Jay Keith – 4 individual events: 50m, 100m & 200m fly; 100m breast. 

  • Molly Cannon – 3 individual events: 50m, 100m & 200m breast. 4 relays: 400m mixed medley, 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Aaron Gray – 2 individual events: 100m & 200m fly. 4 relays: 400m mixed medley, 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Kian McNelis – 2 individual events: 200m & 400m free. 3 relays: 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Oliver Patton – 2 individual events: 100m & 200m back. 2 relays: 400m medley & 400m free.

  • Lewis Gray – 1 individual event: 50m breast. 2 relays: 400m medley & 400m free.

  • Ashleigh Blyth – 3 relays: 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Anna McClafferty – 3 relays: 400m medley, 400m free & 800m free.

  • Adam Brooks – 2 relays: 400m medley & 400m free.

  • Luke Garrity – 2 relays: 400m medley & 400m free.

  • Alistair Currie – 2 relays: 400m medley & 400m free.

  • Cammi Kerr – 1 relay: 800m free.


Swimmer of the Month – February 2019

Congratulations to our swimmer of the month for February – Finlay Morrice.

Finlay wins this award after impressing the coaches with his effort levels in training and by listening well to their instructions. He has made great progress since joining the club, and his recent competitive debut in mini league saw him produce some great swims.

Well done Finlay – keep up the good work and best of luck for your next competition!


Inverclyde emerge victorious at mini league round 1

IASC kicked off their mini league 2019 campaign in style with a round one victory.

For swimmers 11 and under, mini league is one of the most exciting competitions in the swimming calendar. 15 clubs from across the West of Scotland compete for points in three qualifying rounds. The six highest scoring teams at the end of the rounds go on to contest the final in June. Last year, the club finished in 3rd place, and hopes are high for making the final again.

The first round match saw Inverclyde drawn against Milngavie & Bearsden (M & B) and Helensburgh. Swimmers compete in age groups in both individual and relay swims. 5 points are awarded for a win, 3 points for 2nd place and 2 points for 3rd place. Fellow 2018 finalists M & B would present tough opposition, meaning every point would count.

The competition got off to a flying start with the medley relay swims where Inverclyde claimed an early lead by scooping 26 of the 30 points on offer, and 100% wins for the boys. The atmosphere was electric, but the early wins helped to settle the nerves.

In the individual swims the boys were in dominant form, dropping just 9 points from the 80 on offer. For the 9-year olds, Josh Docherty claimed victory in the backstroke and breaststroke, and Scott Brodie won in the butterfly and freestyle. For the 10-year olds, Archie McArthur won the butterfly and backstroke and Ryan Cummings took full points in the breaststroke and freestyle.

Swimming for the 8-year olds, Blake Herdman and Finlay Morrice made their mini league debuts. Blake scored a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the butterfly, freestyle and backstroke, and Finlay came 2nd in the breaststroke. For the 11-year olds, Peter Maloney kept up the winning form, with a double victory in the butterfly and breaststroke. Boys team captain Luke Garrity won the breaststroke race and came 2nd in the freestyle.

The girls team included a large number of new swimmers across all age groups. While they might not have won as many races as the boys, the girls should take encouragement from the fast times they achieved. Some of the races were incredibly close, which bodes well for future rounds.

Swimming for the 8-year olds, Ella Morrison had a fantastic mini league debut, winning both the breaststroke and backstroke and coming 2nd in the butterfly. Nina Spirit-Hawthorne then took 2nd place for the 25m freestyle. For the 9-year olds, Isabella McClafferty claimed victory in the freestyle, Eilidh Melrose came 2nd in the breaststroke and Sophie Campbell claimed 2nd and 3rd in the butterfly and backstroke.

It was four 2nd places for the 10-year old girls team with Mirren McConnell, Eve Morrison and Skye McLellan swimming the individual races. The 11-year olds team of Alice McClafferty, Olivia McNally and girls captain Charlotte Jones, scored 2nd places in the breaststroke and backstroke and 3rd place in the butterfly and freestyle.

A score update at the end of the individual swims showed Inverclyde retaining the lead, but with only a few points separating the teams, everything came down to the final freestyle relay events. Tension was at boiling point once again, but the screams of support from the poolside – and from the families spectating – motivated another dominant display from Inverclyde, scoring 34 points out of the 40 available and securing the win.

Mini league coach Kyara Finlay had this to say about the team’s performance: “The swimmers did a fabulous job to start our mini league campaign with a strong win this year. It’s easy to underestimate the challenge of competing against a team in their home pool, but our swimmers didn’t let that bother them and stayed focused on what they have been practicing in training. This shows a competitive maturity way beyond their years for some of our youngest swimmers. Our swimmers now have a small gap before our 2nd round, so it’s important that they keep up the hard training so we can come away from the next round with an even stronger win!”

Indeed, rounds two and three are scheduled to be contested across a single weekend, putting pressure on the swimmers to be at their peak and be able to sustain it. Mini league can be exhausting – the team spirit is incredible, but racing and cheering on teammates for four hours at a time can really tire the swimmers out. The challenge will be ensuring the swimmers get enough rest and recovery after round two to let them return energised and excited for round three. With a place in the final at stake, the club is confident the young team will rise to the challenge.

Good luck Matthew!

Good luck to our own Matthew Garrity at tonight’s Inverclyde Sports Personality of the Year awards. Matthew is one of five finalists in the Young Sports Personality category. While all the finalists are impressive, we obviously think Matthew would be a massively deserving winner. Here’s just some of the highlights of what he achieved in his age group in 2018:

  • Multiple West District record holder in the 100m and 200m breaststroke
  • Scottish National Age Group champion 200m breaststroke and silver medallist 100m breaststroke
  • Scottish schools champion 200m breaststroke and silver medallist 100m breaststroke
  • Ranked no 1 in Scotland for the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke
  • Ranked 6th in Britain for the 50m breaststroke and 7th for the 100m and 200m breaststroke
  • (Literally) dozens of West District medals in multiple events and distances
  • Selected for the Scottish swimming national squad
  • Selected to compete at the British championships, achieving a 6th place finish
  • Voted IASC senior swimmer of the year by both coaches and swimmers
  • Volunteer coach for younger club swimmers
  • All round amazing athlete, role model and ambassador for his club, his school and his sport.

Whatever happens tonight Matthew, you are an inspiration to everyone at the club and a winner in our eyes.


Aimee is the golden girl at WD Pre-SNAGS

11 swimmers from IASC were back in action at Tollcross for the West District pre-SNAGS meet and it proved to be another successful weekend.

The competition was one of the last chances for swimmers to achieve the consideration times needed to be eligible to compete in the Scottish National Age Group championships (SNAGS) at the end of March. SNAGS is the biggest and most prestigious competition for swimmers in Scotland and everyone wants to be there.

Competing in eight events, Aimee Watson had a superb weekend, winning five medals. Aimee won gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, silver in the 200m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m butterfly and 200m IM. Having already secured SNAGS qualification times for all her events, it was a brilliant bonus for Aimee to secure a qualification time for the British championships in the 100m breaststroke. To round off her competition, Aimee also secured 5th in the 50m butterfly, and 12th and 14th in the 50m and 100m freestyle respectively.

Matthew Garrity also performed well, picking up three bronze medals over the competition. Like Aimee, Matthew’s SNAGS qualification was already secured in his seven events, but he improved his times to take bronze in the 200m and 400m IM and the 800m freestyle. Matthew also came 7th in the 100m breaststroke and 11th and 15th in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle.

Thomas Cannon secured four top ten finishes in his six events. Thomas came 5th in the 50m breaststroke, 6th in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and 10th in the 100m butterfly. Thomas had already qualified for all of the SNAGS breaststroke events, but his superb new PB in the 100m earned Thomas the qualification time needed for the British Championships. Thomas also secured 17th place in the 50m freestyle with a new PB.

Luke Garrity was unlucky not to make his SNAGS times, but still put in a good performance across his four events, securing 4th place in the 200m breaststroke, 6th in the 800m freestyle (with a huge new PB), 12th in the 100m breaststroke and 15th in the 200m IM.

Swimming in eight events, Molly Cannon achieved 6th place in her 200m breaststroke, 9th in the 200m IM and 10th in the 100m breaststroke. Molly already had her SNAGS times for the two breaststroke events and the 50m breaststroke, but was pleased to set new PBs in the 200m IM and 100m freestyle.

Also gaining a top 10 finish was Kian McNelis, who came 6th in the 400m IM, but just missed the chance to secure SNAGS times for the 200m and 400m IM events.

Competing in eight events, Jay Keith showed great improvement to set new PBs in most of his races, and secured SNAGS qualification in the 200m butterfly and 100m breaststroke events.

Also competing were Ashleigh Blyth, Ben Skinner, Emily Lightfoot and Darren Macleay. Although none were able to secure SNAGS times at the event, they continued to improve with each of them setting at least one new PB.

The success of the swimmers didn’t go unnoticed by the event organisers, when the club was mentioned in the commentary for the high level of swimming on show. Naturally, the coaches were pleased with the performance of the team and are looking forward to taking a bigger, more confident team to SNAGS.




Welcome back mini league!

It’s almost time to kick off mini league 2019, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Aimed at swimmers aged 11 and under, mini league is one of the noisiest and most exciting competitions you will ever find. For the uninitiated, clubs compete in three rounds to try and earn a spot in the final in June. Swimmers compete in age groups in both individual and relay swims.

Last year we finished in a brilliant third place, behind the much bigger clubs of Ren 96 and City of Glasgow. The coaches will be hoping to match that success this year – but the first job is to secure our place in the final.

Our first round takes place this Sunday at Drumchapel against hosts Milngavie & Bearsden Swimming Club and Helensburgh Swimming Club. Round two will see us compete against South Ayrshire and Kilmarnock and our final round is against North Ayrshire and West Dumbarton. Qualifying for the final will be tough, and every point will count.

Being picked for the mini league squad is a big honour. For some, it will be their first competition outside of the club. Dedicated training has been ongoing since the start of the year to practice the key skills of dives, turns and relay takeovers. Our Saturday training sessions have been in Drumchapel pool, so we are very familiar with it!

Mini league is one of the few galas where we compete as a team and there’s no doubt it brings out the best in the youngsters. The atmosphere at a mini league tie is incredible – there really is nothing else like it. Everyone wants to do their best for the club and brings their A-game. Team spirit is already buzzing and that’s got a lot to do with our coaches. They always make sure training is fun and exciting, as well as hard work!

Our final training session is tonight, after which the clock is ticking for Sunday afternoon. Good luck to all our swimmers, coaches, officials and spectators: get plenty of rest before Sunday – you’re going to need it! Let’s get our T-shirts and our singing voices ready!

M&B and Helensburgh, we’ll see you Sunday – we’re looking forward to a fabulous afternoon of swimming!

(Our new team photo and kit will be revealed on Sunday, so here’s last year’s team after our third place finish).


Bellshill bling bonanza

20 IASC swimmers took to the pool at the Bellshill Sharks Open and achieved an incredible set of results. Completing almost 100 individual swims they secured 40 top six finishes and an incredible 19 medals – 9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze.

Seven of those medals came from 9-year old Archie McArthur, who medalled in each of his events. Archie swam his way to five golds and two silver medals and recorded new PBs in all but one event. Competing against boys up to two years older, Archie won gold for the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle. His silver medals came in the 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle.

His 200m butterfly triumph was one of the most exciting races of the competition. Having led for most of the race, a strong surge from his 11-year old rival threatened his win in the final few metres, but Archie dug deep to secure his impressive win by a fraction of a second.

Fellow 9-year old Cameron Beck secured two medals and 8 PBs. Swimming in nine events, Cameron made all four finals for the 50m events in the 8-10 year old categories and won gold for the 50m backstroke and silver in the 100m butterfly. His PBs ensured he placed highly in his other events, with four more top six finishes.

Oliver Patton made it three medals and three PBs from three events when he secured gold for the 100m freestyle and two bronzes for the 50m and 200m backstroke in the 11-12 years age group. Competing in the same age category, 11-year old Luke Garrity brought home a gold for the 400m IM and a bronze for the 100m breaststroke. Luke also recorded 3 new PBs in his other events.

The final gold medal of the day came from Mirren McConnell in the 8-10 age group 100m butterfly. Despite being ill all week, Mirren still managed to record a PB to take the victory. She also gave strong performances to secure a further two top six places.

Aaron Gray had a successful competition picking up an impressive silver in the 200m butterfly and a bronze in the 50m butterfly and recording PBs in every event. Aaron also recorded another two top 6 finishes in his 15 and overs category.

With three new PBs, Ryan Cummings secured a silver in the 50m breast and a 4th and 5th place in the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle events in the 8-10 age group. The final medallist of the day was Adam Brooks. Swimming in the 13-14 category, Adam won a bronze for his 100m backstroke and secured new PBs in three of his other events.

Outside of the medals, everyone else achieved impressive personal results with high place finishes and new PBs. 9-year old Scott Brodie continued to improve with five new PBs and six top ten finishes, including the finals of the 8-10 category 50m backstroke and breaststroke.

Ashleigh Blyth, Eve Morrison and Ben Skinner secured 4th places in the 200m IM, 100m breaststroke and the 50m backstroke respectively. Cammy Kerr also got a 5th place and a new PB in the 400m freestyle.

Four swimmers achieved 100% PBs across a number of events. Holly Beck made it seven out of seven and secured impressive top ten placings for her 200m IM and freestyle events. Darren Macleay made it four out of four and a top ten place for his 50m breaststroke. Both Alice McClafferty and Nathan Peoples recorded two PBs each, with Alice getting top 10 finishes for her 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle and Nathan for his 100m butterfly.

Sam Sharkey, Katherine Simpson and Anna McClafferty also improved on their times in a number of different events. Sam recorded top ten finishes in the 200m freestyle and 50m breaststroke, where he also swam a PB. Anna achieved new PBs in her 100m backstroke and 100m and 200m freestyle events, while Katherine improved her times in the 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle.

The coaching team for the competition were delighted with all of the performances – but singled out the high number of PBs, the two 200m butterfly medals and having three swimmers in the 8-10 boys 50m breaststroke final (Ryan, Cameron and Scott) as their top highlights. Having medallists and finalists from across a wide range of age groups and events shows how the club is growing and improving in strength and depth.

Swimming stars shine at West District Championships

17 swimmers headed back to Tollcross for Round 2 of the West District Long Course Age Group Championships for Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club. With 56 individual swims, the club achieved an incredible 25 top 10 finishes, 2 bronze, 2 silver and 2 golds as well as lots and lots of new PBs!

After a successful outing in Round 1, focus switched from 100m and 400m races to the 50m and 200m versions. It was also the time for the distance events, with the 1500m freestyle being contested.

Matthew Garrity led the honours for IASC, coming away with two superb gold medals in the 50m and 200m breaststroke events. His 50m time of 31.84 seconds brings him within 0.1 second of a new West District record for this distance – a hugely positive sign so early in the long course season. To round off his successful weekend, Matthew also came 5th in the 200m freestyle.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, Luke Garrity put in another great performance to pick up a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke and a bronze in the 50m breaststroke. Luke also swam in the 200m freestyle, finishing an impressive 7th place in his age category.

Leading the way for the girls once again was Aimee Watson. Aimee opted not to swim in her preferred breaststroke events, and still managed to win a silver medal in the 50m butterfly and a bronze medal in the 200m IM. An 8th place in the 200m backstroke and 14th place in the 50m freestyle added to the impressive results for the highly talented swimmer.

Outside of the medalists, there was a lot of other success, with a further 16 top ten finishes being achieved by a further 10 swimmers. April Craynor impressed by coming 5th in the 50m backstroke and 8th in the 200m event, setting fast new PBs in both. April also recorded another impressive PB in the 50m butterfly, where she finished 15th. And despite being well outside his PB, Kian McNelis managed to hold on for 5th place in the 1500m freestyle.

Molly Cannon set new PBs to finish 6th in the 200m IM and 7th in the 50m breaststroke. Molly finished just outside her best times for the 50m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 50m freestyle, but still recorded respectable 11th, 15th and 16th place finishes. Young Betty Fischer Keogh also achieved two top ten places and two new PBs – coming 6th in the 50m freestyle and 9th in the 50m butterfly.

Thomas Cannon was pleased to finish 8th in the 200m breaststroke, despite being just outside his best time. He swam a PB to reach 15th in the 50m breaststroke and was 18th in the 50m backstroke. Alistair Currie did well to come 8th in the 200m freestyle and 9th in the 50m event, with a fast new PB. Oliver Patton also swam an impressive PB to claim 8th place in the 200m backstroke. He also PB’ed in the 50m freestyle, where he finished 13th.

Adam Brooks finished in 9th place in the 50m backstroke with a new PB and despite not swimming his fastest time, managed 10th place in the 200m event. Peter Maloney finished 9th in the 50m butterfly and 11th in the 50m backstroke, setting two new PBs. He also managed a 12th place finish in the 200m backstroke.

Completing the list of finalists was Jay Keith, with two 10th places and two PBs for the 50m butterfly and the 200m IM. Jay also scored three further PBs to finish in the top 20 in the 50m breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke events.

Despite finishing outside of the top 10, other swimmers were pleased with their performances at this high level of competition. Lucy Campbell achieved five top 20 finishes and three new PBs and Michal Zawadzki made three top 20 finishes and two PBs. Ashleigh Blyth made the top 20 twice and was just outside it on her third swim and Emily Lightfoot was unlucky not to PB in her races.

The coaches commented: “It was one of the most successful weekends of competition at West District level for the club. Besides their great results, our swimmers were delighted to be given the opportunity meet international stars Craig McLean, Ross Murdoch, Aimee Willmott and Duncan Scott. The chance to learn from the best and get tips and advice from them was an amazing experience. We are very grateful to the West District Team for organising it.”

Outstanding medal haul at Grangemouth JAGS and MAGS

Young IASC swimmers in action at Grangemouth JAGS and MAGS produced an outstanding medal haul over the two days of competition.

JAGS is a graded meet, meaning swimmers must be slower than the entry time to compete. Graded competitions are designed to offer less experienced swimmers the opportunity to race and are the entry point to competitive swimming for many young athletes. MAGS is not graded, meaning the competition steps up a level, with swimmer up to 15 years old competing.

At the JAGS meet, IASC’s 16 swimmers won multiple medals, one ‘Too Fast’ award and a Best Boy and Best Girl award for the most impressive swimmers of the day. In recognition of the their success, IASC was awarded runner up for ‘Best Club’ against much bigger teams.

In the JAGS morning session it was the turn of the 10’s and under to compete, with many swimmers making their competitive debut. 7 year olds Mirrin Fay and Katie Deegan (who was celebrating her 7th birthday) more than held their own against the older competitors. Douglas Campbell impressed, coming 4th in the 50m backstroke and 6th in the 50m butterfly. Samuel McClumpha and Abi McAnerney also did well, and Abi was particularly unlucky not to medal in the 50m backstroke, when an accident against the wall robbed her of her commanding lead.

Highlights from the morning’s racing included a brilliant gold for Sophie Campbell in the 50m butterfly, 4th place for Oliver Jones in the 50m butterfly and a bronze and a 6th place for Isabella McClafferty in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle respectively. The boys relay team (Scott, Oliver, Douglas and Samuel) came 4th and the girls team (Isabella, Abi, Sophie and Eilidh) went one better and won a bronze medal.

Stars of the morning were undoubtedly Scott Brodie and Eilidh Melrose. Scott won gold in the 50m butterfly and silver in both the 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke. He then went on to win a ‘Too Fast’ award for the 50m freestyle. With those results, it was no surprise when Scott won the Best Boy award. Eilidh also put in a superb performance to win silver in the 50m breaststroke and 4th in both the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle. And just like Scott, Eilidh was awarded the Best Girl award.

In the JAGS afternoon session it was the turn of the 11 and 12 year olds. The gauntlet was thrown down, but the older swimmers lived up to the challenge, with 100% PBs. More medals followed with Lewis Anderson winning gold in the 12 years 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle and silver in the 50m breaststroke. Kerr Melrose won gold in the 11 years 50m butterfly and came 4th in the 40m breaststroke.

For the girls, Katherine Simpson won two silver medals in the 12 years 50m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle. 11 year old Charlotte Jones bagged a silver in the 50m butterfly and a bronze in the 50m breaststroke. There were also a couple of 4th place finishes for the 11 year old girls, with Anna McClafferty in the 50m backstroke and Olivia McNally in the 50m breaststroke. The girls relay team rounded the day off with another great 4th place.

On the Sunday, it was the turn of the MAGS competition. 6 IASC swimmers were in action this time. Kiera McCrorey, Lewis Anderson and Connor McCrorey all performed well to achieve new PB times against some seriously strong opposition. Lucy Campbell, Mirren McConnell and Oliver Patton all recorded new PBs, and were delighted to come away with a hard won 6th place each – Lucy and Mirren in the 100m butterfly and Oliver in the 100m backstroke.

Coach Shirley Reford was pleased with the performance of all of the swimmers over the 2 days of competition. She commented: “There were stunning performances throughout the weekend with some great debuts from our younger swimmers. The team spirit was electric – there was such great camaraderie poolside with everyone supporting each other. It makes such a difference to the swimmers’ confidence. I was so proud of them all.”

Swimmer of the month – January 2019

Congratulations to our swimmer of the month for January – Peter Maloney.

Peter wins this award after impressing the coaches with his great work ethic in training. Peter keeps working hard to improve his technical skills and is consistently getting faster. This has translated in to some terrific results in recent galas.

Well done Peter – what a confidence boost ahead of your next competition!

IASC are top of the class at Scottish Schools

15 IASC swimmers represented 6 Inverclyde schools at the Brodies Scottish Schools Swimming Championships and it proved to be another winning occasion with three golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze and a host of top flight finishes and new PBs.

Swimmers from all over Scotland compete in the prestigious gala at Tollcross. Races are streamed by age group, with swimmers competing in either 12 and under, 13-14 years, 15-16 years or 17-19 years events.

The morning session got off to a flying start, with Aimee Watson and Molly Cannon going in the 15-16 years 200m breaststroke. Clydeview’s Aimee was one of the pre-event favourites, and it turned into an exciting battle for gold. It was neck and neck throughout the race, with Aimee just stretching ahead in the last few metres to claim an outstanding win. St Columba’s Molly exceeded pre-race expectations to finish in a strong 11th place.

Aimee and Molly were back in action in the afternoon in the 100m breaststroke. Again, it was close battle at the front, with Aimee swimming another incredible race to claim silver. Molly finished strongly in 14th just a fraction of a second off 10th place.

The great results continued in the morning session with Sam Sharkey and Lauren Macleay – both of Clydeview – coming a very impressive 6th in their events: the 200m IM for Sam and the 100m backstroke for Lauren. Notre Dame swimmers Jay Keith and Nathan Peoples both swam in the 13-14 years 100m butterfly. Swimming in his first national competition, Nathan came a very respectable 18th, and Jay capitalised on his recent great form to finish in a great 9th place. St Columba’s Kilmacolm’s Ashleigh Blyth waited most of the morning for her race, and finished well in 18th place in the 15-16 years 100m butterfly.

Three primary school pupils were competing in the 12 and under events. In the morning session, Moorfoot Primary was represented by Luke Garrity, who was swimming in the 50m breaststroke. Luke put in an excellent performance to finish 11th and was unlucky not to make the final. Also swimming the 50m breaststroke, Betty Fischer-Keogh from St Ninian’s qualified for her final where she finished in a superb 7th place.

Starting off the afternoon session, 9 year old Archie McArthur was the youngest competitor of the entire event, swimming in the 50m butterfly. The St Columba’s Kilmacolm pupil showed what exciting potential he has, finishing in 10th place against swimmers two years older than him.

Next to race was Clydeview swimmer Kian McNelis, who put in a great performance to finish 12th in the 200m freestyle. Kian then went on to do the double, bagging another 12th place in the 100m event in the evening.

Clydeview’s Matthew Garrity was competing in the 15-16 years 200m breaststroke in the afternoon and the 100m event in the evening. Just like Aimee, Matthew was a pre-race favourite for both his races. In the 200m race, he executed a perfect final turn to move ahead of the competition and comfortably win gold. It was a closer battle in the 100m event, but Matthew kept his cool and stayed in control to win his second gold.

In the 17-19 200m breaststroke, Thomas Cannon of St Columba’s swam a fantastic final 50m to claim bronze, just missing out on the silver by a fraction of a second. Buoyed up by his success, Thomas then went on to claim 5th in the 100m breaststroke in the last swim of the competition.

Two other St Columba’s swimmers had to wait until the evening session for their chance to race, but they made it worth their while. Swimming in the 15-16 years 200m butterfly, Aaron Gray put in a fine performance to claim 6th place. Shortly after, Emily Lightfoot swam in the 17-19 year 200m IM, earning a great 8th place.

It was a long and tiring day, but the swimmers were all delighted with their performances and results. Team spirit and confidence levels are high and the future is looking exciting for swimming in Inverclyde!

IASC Presentation Night – Celebrating Success

It was time again for the swimmers, parents, coaches and invited guests of IASC to dry off and dress up for the annual presentation night. It is the highlight of the club’s social calendar, and an opportunity to recognise the swimmers’ achievements in the past year.

The evening began with a look back on the year as a whole, presented by club President Jennifer Garrity. It was a chance to relive some of the swimming highlights such as SNAGS, the Clyde Coast Mini League final and the British championships. It was also a great chance to reflect on some of the other annual activities the swimmers get involved in such as PGL, Lanzarote and the pantomime visit.

Invited guest Provost Martin Brennan then kept the audience laughing with his entertaining and touching speech paying tribute to the many volunteers who keep the club going.

Before long, it was time to hand out the awards for the night. All swimmers were presented with a certificate of achievement, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place age group winners from the club championships were presented with their trophies.

The coaches had four additional awards to present on the night. The first of these was for Best Newcomer, which is open to all swimmers who have joined the club in the last year. This award went to Keira McKee, who has risen quickly through the squads in her short time with the club. The Land award – which recognises the best athlete in land-based strength and endurance training – followed and was presented to Shaun Wiseman.

The next coaches award was for Junior Swimmer of the Year, which went to Alice McClafferty, for her commitment and determination to improve. The Senior Swimmer of the Year award was fiercely contested, with Matthew Garrity winning on the night for his year of outstanding wins and West District records.

But it wasn’t just the coaches who got to choose award winners: the swimmers themselves are given the opportunity to vote for their own junior and senior swimmers of the year. Swimmers often have a completely different perspective to the coaches and know their fellow swimmers better than anyone else.

The Swimmers’ Junior Swimmer of the Year was awarded to Cameron Beck for his great improvement throughout the year. The Senior Swimmer of the Year was a more closely fought battle, with Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity both deservedly sharing the award.

There were three other awards presented on the night. The Volunteer of the Year award was shared between Claire McArthur and Julie Cassidy, both of whom work tirelessly on behalf of the club in many different ways. Coach of the Year – also voted for by the swimmers – was awarded to Kyara Finlay for the third year running!

To recognise the 40th anniversary of the club, a new award was created: The Outstanding Contribution to IASC award. The inaugural recipient of this was Head Coach Shirley Reford. Since joining the club, Shirley has completely transformed the coaching set up, putting a professional coaching team and squad structure in place. Under Shirley’s guidance, the club has gone from strength to strength, producing regular finalists and champions at national level. Shirley was a hugely deserving and popular winner, receiving a standing ovation from the appreciative audience.

After all the awards, it was time to get the party started as kids and adults alike danced the night away to the top tunes from DJ Bruce Glenny. It was the perfect way to spend a cold January evening and the perfect way to celebrate what the club has achieved.

IASC would like to extend their sincere thanks to all those who donated prizes for our raffle, including Amazon, BeardyBeardy, Cairn Kilmacolm, Colin Cox PT, Infinity Beauty, Gourock Golf Club and the many, many generous swim club parents. Thank you for supporting our club and helping to make the night such a success!

Racing starts again at West District championships

It was time to start racing again as swimmers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club headed to Tollcross to kick off 2019 with Round 1 of the West District Long Course Age Group Championships.

13 swimmers represented the club in a total of 32 races. Training for the youngsters carried on over the festive period to ensure everyone arrived fresh and ready to race. All swimmers had to achieve tough qualifying times to be able to compete at the two-day event, and for some, it was their first time racing in a long course (50m pool) competition. There were impressive performances all round, with multiple new personal bests, several finalists and even a couple of medals.

Competing in the 100m backstroke, freestyle and butterfly, Aimee Watson improved her times in each event and came a very impressive 5th, 4th and 3rd place respectively. As a Scottish Champion in breaststroke, it was exciting for the club to see Aimee being so consistently competitive in her other strokes.

Competing in four events, Jay Keith produced solid swims for the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle, achieving a good PB for the freestyle. But it was the butterfly events where Jay showed his talent. He came 5th in the 100m race with a new PB, and finished a fantastic 3rd place in the 200m event with a massive 10 second PB.

One of the youngest swimmers representing the club, Luke Garrity had a great meet with two 4th place finishes in the 400m freestyle and the 100m breaststroke. A six second PB in the freestyle event topped off his successful performance.

Impressing the coaches on their long course debuts were April Craynor and Peter Maloney. April was competing in the 100m across all four strokes, achieving PBs in three of them and making the final of the 100m backstroke, where she finished 9th. Peter had a similarly impressive debut. Competing in the 100m backstroke and freestyle and the 100m and 200m butterfly, Peter also claimed three new PBs, and made the finals for the backstroke and butterfly races. He came 8th in the backstroke event, 6th place in the 100m butterfly and claimed 4th in the 200m butterfly, with a huge 8 second PB.

Other finalists for the weekend included Adam Brooks, Alistair Currie and Betty Fischer-Keogh. Adam made the final of the 400m freestyle where he finished 10th and recorded solid performances and a new PB in the 100m backstroke and butterfly. Alistair and Betty both made the finals of their 100m freestyle races, coming 7th and 5th with a new PB each. Betty also competed in the 100m breaststroke. Lucy Campbell and Ashleigh Blyth were unlucky to just miss out on the finals for the 100m butterfly, where they both finished 12th in their age groups.

Outside of the finals, there were strong performances and new PBs from several swimmers. In the 100m freestyle Ashleigh Blyth, Anna McClafferty, Oliver Patton and Ben Skinner all improved their times. Oliver also improved his 100m breastroke time, along with Wladek Zawadzki. Ben was unlucky to just miss out on a new PB for this event.

The next round of the West District championships takes place in early February and switches from 100m events to the 50m and 200m races. Coaches for the event Andrew Dyer and Kyara Finlay were pleased with the performance of the club. Andrew commented:

“Competition was fierce for this event. We had a lot of other swimmers who achieved the times needed but didn’t get a place in the races as the fastest swimmers are selected first. So to see such a strong team performance – especially from those who’ve never competed in long course – was extremely encouraging. We now need to maintain focus and continue preparations for round 2.”

Swimmers keep their cool at IASC club championships

On a cold and wet December afternoon, swimming families from across Inverclyde braved warnings of black ice to descend en-masse on the Waterfront Leisure complex. There wasn’t a spare seat poolside as friends and family gathered to cheer on the swimmers in the 40th IASC championships.

Many involved with the club feared the event wasn’t going to happen because of the broken pool floor at the Waterfront. Huge efforts went on behind the scenes to save the championships, with the club working with Inverclyde Leisure and Glasgow Life on a range of contingency plans. In the end, the Waterfront was secured and the club were able to host a shortened programme of racing.

Club championships is a competition like no other, and one of the few times the whole club comes together to compete. The atmosphere and support poolside is incredible, and the competition is friendly but fierce.

The club championships crowns 1st, 2nd and 3rd boys and girls across eight different age groups. The competition itself is made up of 2 separate events – one in summer and one in winter. Age group placings after the summer event were well known, with some swimmers holding commanding leads. In many cases, however, the winter event would decide the placings.

The freezing temperatures outside – and inside – played a big part in how the afternoon went. For the first time in the club’s history, officials and timekeepers wore hats and jumpers over their uniform in a bid to keep warm. Never have Santa hats been in such high demand poolside!

The cold conditions also added an extra challenge for the swimmers trying to stay warm in between races. Hot showers and damp towels were in constant use throughout the afternoon. Despite this, the atmosphere was as warm and supportive as ever from spectators and swimmers alike.

The schedule was packed, with racing lasting for over four hours. For many of our young swimmers, this was their first taste of competition, and Head Coach Shirley Reford was very impressed:

“Sometimes the occasion can overwhelm new swimmers who aren’t used to the noise and pressure. It’s a very different environment to training. There’s a lot of waiting about, but you have to be ready to go as soon as your name is called. Keeping warm, hydrated and nourished is key to your performance at competitions. For many, this was the first time they’ve had to think about that. It’s also the first time many of them have ever swum in front of a crowd – that’s daunting enough for anyone, even without the pressure of competition. Our debut swimmers coped brilliantly.”

The cold conditions definitely affected the swimmers. While the water temperature was great for racing, many swimmers struggled to warm up their muscles quickly enough to set new PBs. As the afternoon went on, less and less PBs were recorded, but it certainly didn’t affect the excitement of the racing.

The highlight was the breaststroke head to head between Thomas Cannon and Matthew Garrity. The 200m event came first. Side by side along all eight lengths, Thomas snatched the victory in the last few metres. The rematch in the 100m event was just as exciting, but this time, Matthew edged the victory to screams and roars from the spectators.

Championship positions changed all afternoon and after a long day of racing, it was over to the club’s officials to add up all the scores. Some of the placings were incredibly tight, with just a single point separating swimmers in a number of categories. Swimmers will receive their awards at the club’s presentation night in January. Let’s hope it’s a little warmer there than it was at the competition!

The full list of results is as follows:

8 years old and under boys
1st place: Blake Herdman
2nd place: Brodie McArthur
3rd place: Oliver Gibson

8 years old and under girls
1st place: Sophie Campbell
2nd place: Beth Nichol
3rd place: Mirrin Fay

9 year old boys
1st place: Archie McArthur
2nd place: Cameron Beck
3rd place: Scott Brodie

9 year old girls
1st place: Eve Morrison
2nd place: Eilidh Melrose
3rd place: Isabella McClafferty

10 year old boys
1st place: Ryan Cummings
2nd place: Conor McCrorey
3rd place: Eric McKendrick

10 year old girls
1st place: Mirren McConnell
2nd place: Alice McClafferty
3rd place: Skye McLellan

11 year old boys
1st place: Luke Garrity
2nd place: Peter Maloney
3rd place: Lukas Kong

11 year old girls
1st place: Betty Fischer Keogh
2nd place: Mya McNelis
3rd place: Anna E McClafferty

12 year old boys
1st place: Lewis Gray
2nd place: Oliver Patton
3rd place: Alistair Currie

12 year old girls
1st place: Lucy Campbell
2nd place: April Craynor
3rd place: Lucy Kinniburgh

13 year old boys
1st place: Jay Keith
2nd place: Darren Macleay
3rd place: Nathan Peoples

13 year old girls
1st place: Anna McClafferty
2nd place: Emma Sharkey
3rd place: Sofia McGeehan

14 year old boys
1st place: Matthew Garrity
2nd place: Ben Skinner
3rd place: Adam Brooks

14 year old girls
1st place: Aimee Watson
2nd place: Molly Cannon
3rd place: Ashleigh Blyth

15 & over boys
1st place: Thomas Cannon
2nd place: Kian McNelis
3rd place: Sam Sharkey

15 & over girls
1st place: Lauren Macleay
2nd place: Emily Lightfoot
3rd place: Madeline O’Brien

Swimmer of the month – November 2018

Congratulations to our swimmers of the month for November – Jay Keith, Shaun Wiseman and Jessica Gallagher.

The coaches wanted to recognise all three swimmers this month for different reasons. Jay has impressed with some superb improvements in training and competition which has earned him a trial for our Youth Performance squad. The coaches have been impressed with Shaun’s versatility: he is excelling in land training and converting this strength into a much-improved technique in the pool.

And finally, as a relative newcomer to the club, Jessica has impressed the coaches with her effort and commitment by always applying the coaches feedback with a positive attitude.

Well done Jay, Shaun and Jessica – enjoy the Christmas recovery period and come back fresh and ready to train!

PBs a plenty for IASC at the Scottish National Short Course Championships

Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club were proudly represented by eight swimmers at the recent Scottish National Short Course Championships in Edinburgh. Dubbed as the ‘premier short course meet in the UK’, it saw the youngsters rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in British swimming, with the likes of Duncan Scott, Ross Murdoch and Aimee Wilmott all taking part.

Competing throughout the three-day event was Lauren Macleay, Emily Lightfoot, Molly Cannon, Aimee Watson, Joe McCallion, Thomas Cannon, Kian McNelis and Matthew Garrity. Overall, it was a very successful meet, with every swimmer achieving at least one new personal best time. There were also three finals reached and a new West District age group record!

Head coach Shirley Reford explained, “This is the biggest short course event in the country so it’s notoriously difficult to qualify for. Having eight swimmers competing was a great achievement, but we weren’t there just for the experience: we had serious ambitions of making finals, breaking records and setting new PBs.

“Short course competitions are swum over 25m lengths as opposed to the 50m long course events. This puts more emphasis on the technical aspects of swimming, such as dives and turns, and usually results in slightly faster times than the long course equivalents. Our preparation for the meet wasn’t ideal, as the broken pool floor at the Waterfront has really restricted our ability to practice these skills. This put additional pressure on the team, but they didn’t let it affect their performances.”

First up for the team was Molly Cannon, swimming in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events. A solid performance saw Molly improve on her seedings in all three events and improve her times in the 50m and 200m. She was particularly impressive in the 200m, taking over 3 seconds off her PB.

Lauren Macleay was competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 100m individual medley. Lauren swam well but was just off her best times in both of the 100m events. However, she made up for it by setting new PBs in the 50m and 200m backstroke, and improved on her seeding for the 200m by six places.

Aimee Watson was the club’s busiest and most successful swimmer of the weekend, competing in 10 events. As well as the three relay events, Aimee swam in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke; the 50m and 100m butterfly; the 50m freestyle and the 200m individual medley. Once again, Aimee showed her talent by making the A or B finals of all of her breaststroke events: she came 8th in the 50m and 10th in both the 100m and 200m with new PBs for each. She also made great improvements in her 100m butterfly time and improved on her seeding by a massive 16 places.

For the boys, Joe McCallion had a good result in the 100m backstroke, setting a new PB and improving on his seeding. Kian McNelis was competing in the 400m freestyle, matching his seeding, but just missing out on a new best time.

Thomas Cannon and Matthew Garrity both had a busy time competing in eight events each. Swimming in the 100m, 200m and 400m individual medley events, Thomas showed his consistency by setting three new PBs and improving on his seeding each time. He swam well in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, setting a new PB in the 100m, but finishing just outside his time in the 50m. There was no disappointment in the backstroke however, as he managed PBs in both the 50m and 100m.

Matthew also swam in all three individual medley events. He finished just outside his entry time for the 100m, but got impressive new PBs for the 200m and 400m events. He also achieved a new PB for the 400m freestyle. As a long course age group record holder, all eyes were on Matthew’s breaststroke performances. In the 100m he was just outside his entry time, but in the 200m, he managed an impressive new PB. However, his biggest result undoubtedly came in the 50m event. He swam a new PB and improved seven places on his seeding. His time of 30.86 seconds also beats the current 14-year olds short course West District record by 0.01seconds!

The girls’ relay team were in action in all three of the relay events. In Friday’s 4x50m medley relay they finished just outside their entry time, but moved up a place in the seedings. On Saturday, they competed in the 4x50m freestyle and were disappointed not to improve on their time. They made up for it in Sunday’s 4x100m freestyle event, however, by setting a massive new PB and moving up three places in the seedings.

The 4x100m freestyle was the only relay event for the boys and the were determined to match the girls’ achievement. They also set a fantastic new PB and moved up one place in the seedings.

Well done to all our swimmers!

Matthew is officially crowned best in the West

It’s official – IASC’s Matthew Garrity is the new West District long course (50m pool) record holder for the 100m and 200m breaststroke in the 13-year old boys age group.

Matthew was awarded his certificates following the West District’s AGM at the end of November, although he actually broke the records when he competed in the Scottish National Age Group championships (SNAGS) back in March.

Having been crowned the 12-year old West District record holder in the 200m breaststroke last year, the pressure was on to see if he could challenge for the 13-year olds record. Swimming in the prestigious SNAGS competition, Matthew won the 200m event to become Scottish champion and earned a brilliant silver medal in the 100m event. Both swims saw him smash his previous personal bests and claim the coveted new West District records.

Matthew said: “It was a nice surprise to be handed the certificates at the weekend. After getting the 200m record last year, I was really pleased to get them both this time around. My focus now is on the Scottish National short course championships in Edinburgh, where I’m hoping to PB in all my events and maybe challenge for the short course (25m pool) records.”

A look at the record holders for young age group swimmers makes for impressive reading – Scottish swimming superstar Duncan Scott still holds many of the West District’s fastest times. Being a freestyle, butterfly and medley swimmer, Duncan’s records aren’t going to be threatened by breaststroke specialist Matthew, but it’s powerful motivation and a great example of where talent and commitment can take you. The club’s Head Coach Shirley Reford said:

“Seeing his name in the record books alongside one of the greatest swimmers our country has ever produced really brings home just how special Matthew’s talent is. It motivates everyone in the club – other swimmers see his success and think ‘I want a piece of that’. Achievements that once seemed impossible for a small club like ours are now within reach and we have a superb coaching infrastructure in place to help our swimmers reach their goals. We are all incredibly proud of Matthew’s achievements.”

Juniors success at the West District Junior Age Group meet

It was the turn of the Inverclyde ASC junior swimmers to take to the pool at the weekend in the West District Junior Age Group meet. Like the recent Seniors event, the competition is held in Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow. The event is open to swimmers aged 11-13 who have achieved the tough qualifying times.

Motivated by the success of their senior clubmates, seven swimmers competed for IASC over the two days, and they did themselves and the club proud. Every swimmer achieved a new personal best time and made the finals in at least one of their events.

Coach Andrew Hemphill commented, “In a busy period of competitions, it’s really difficult to keep achieving personal bests in such a short space of time, but our swimmers managed this again at the West District event. It was also great to see so many swimmers challenging themselves by swimming in different events than they are used to – both different strokes and different distances – especially at such a high level of competition”.

There were three females in action for IASC, all of whom had a very successful meet. Lucy Campbell came 10th and 12th in the 800m freestyle and 200m breaststroke finals respectively, achieving great new personal bests in each event.

April Craynor came 8th in the 100m butterfly final and got new best times in the breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle 100m events. Betty Fischer-Keogh, the club’s youngest female swimmer competing, swam her fastest time to date to come 7th in the 100m freestyle and also placed 10th in the 100m breaststroke.

For the boys, Alistair Currie came 11th in the 200m freestyle final and Peter Maloney came 6th in the 200m backstroke with both boys achieving faster personal best times. Jay Keith, was equally impressive – coming 5th in the 200m butterfly and 8th in the 400m individual medley finals. He narrowly missed out on a finals place for the 100m backstroke, but still recorded huge personal bests in all three events.

The standout performance of the weekend undoubtedly came from 11-year old Luke Garrity. The Moorfoot Primary pupil swam in seven events over the weekend, making the finals and new best times in all but one event. Luke achieved a 10th place in the 200m backstroke, 5th place in the 200m individual medley and 4th place in the 400m freestyle. As a fitting reward for his long weekend of competition, Luke took home a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley and two silver medals for the 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Club coach Kyara Finlay was delighted with the team, commenting that “it was a fantastic weekend of swimming with brilliant results against some of the toughest competition in the district”.

The swimmers attention now switches to the annual IASC club championships at the Waterfront in mid-December, and Kyara had some extra words of advice: “Remember the importance of your fly kick off the wall – especially over longer distance events. It can provide that extra little boost to help increase your speed”. It sounds like the club championships are shaping up to be one of the club’s most exciting and competitive championships yet.

Back to basics for more Back Home Boxes

Away from the pool, IASC swimmers have been busy once more with collecting for Back Home Boxes – the highly successful scheme run by Compassionate Inverclyde.

The idea behind the boxes is simple – to provide everyday essentials to people who are discharged from hospital and live alone. The boxes enable patients to settle in at home without the pressure of having to get to the shops in the first couple of days.

Compassionate Inverclyde was selected as the club’s charity of the year, and to date, over 80 crates worth of donations have been supplied by the club. In between training sessions the swimmers helped to package up the latest 20 crates of donations, which was handed over to the charity in early November.

Compassionate Inverclyde commented, “We are very grateful for the continued support of Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club members, coaches and families. They have donated items to us three times in the last few months, a vast amount that has kept our Back Home Boxes going for weeks. It is also a lovely touch to include the cards with your logo for inclusion in the boxes as well. We hope your celebrations are going well on your big anniversary year. Best wishes and since re thanks from everyone here at Compassionate Inverclyde.”

IASC would like to say a massive congratulations to Compassionate Inverclyde who were recently voted the CVS Voluntary Organisation of the Year, in recognition of the pioneering work they do in the Inverclyde community. We are proud to support you!

Seniors success at the West District Senior Age Group meet

Inverclyde ASC swimmers were in action recently at the West District Senior Age Group meet, and once again it was a successful weekend. Held in Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, this is a competition for 14 year olds and upwards, who must achieve qualification times to be able to enter. Nine swimmers represented the club over the 2-day event, clocking up an impressive nine medals.

There were two golds each for Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Matthew added another two silver medals to his collection, coming second in the 200m and the 400m freestyle. Aimee won silver in the 100m butterfly, and club captain Thomas Cannon picked up a silver in the 400m individual medley. Kian McNelis also won a bronze medal in the gruelling 1500m freestyle.

Molly Cannon, Cammi Kerr, Ben Skinner, Lyall Black and Adam Brooks all gave excellent performances, with everyone beating their previous best times in at least one event.

Club coaches Shirley Reford and Andrew Dyer were delighted with the performance of the team, and were particularly pleased to see medals and personal bests being achieved across different strokes. Andrew said,

“The West District senior age group meet is an important milestone in the season and an excellent opportunity for our swimmers to compete at a high level in one of Scotland’s best pools. The weekend saw some fantastic times achieved by each swimmer and the benefits of the recent training camp at Club La Santa in Lanzarote were clearly evident. Out of the pool, the support and encouragement shown for each other was also great to see.”

The success of the senior swimmers has proved to be great motivation for their junior counterparts. The Junior Age Group meet – for 11-13 year olds – is coming up on the 17th-18th November and they are more determined than ever to continue the winning streak. The challenge is on!

Swimmer of the month – October 2018

Congratulations to our swimmer of the month for October – Cammi Kerr.

Cammi was selected by the coaches because of the increased focus he has shown in his training recently. Since the Lanzarote training camp, the coaches have noticed a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to training, which has resulted in breakthrough performances.

Well done Cammi, it sounds like exciting times ahead for you. Keep up the good work!

The nifty fifties

Our first trip to the Aberdeen Nifty Fifties didn’t disappoint with many new PB’s and impressive swimming all round.

In the morning session we had Matthew Garrity in the finals for the 50m fly and skins, and Lauren Macleay in the 50m free. Our 14 years and under boys team of Darren Macleay, Matthew Garrity, Jay Keith and Ben Skinner also made the final of the medley relay and bagged an impressive second place.

The afternoon session brought further success, with final places for Lauren Macleay in the 50m back, Ben Skinner in the 50m breast, Matthew Garrity in the 50m free and Ashleigh Blyth with first reserve place for the 50m fly. Matthew also made the final for the 50m breast, winning the race outright. To finish the day off, our boys team were back in action again – this time in the freestyle relay – and they matched their earlier performance with a brilliant second place.

This was our club’s first overnight trip for a competition and we couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of young adults, or better ambassadors for our club. Well done to all our swimmers today: Lauren Macleay, Anna McClafferty, Ashleigh Blyth, Cammi Kerr, Darren Macleay, Lewis Gray, Aaron Gray, Jay Keith, Kian McNelis, Ben Skinner and Matthew Garrity. And a big thank you to Head Coach Shirley Reford and our parent helpers who made attending the event possible.

IASC duo help Scotland West to best ever result at National County Championships

IASC swimmers Aimee Watson and Matthew Garrity were part of the Scotland West swimming team which came second in the recent National County Team Championships just behind Yorkshire – the best ever result by a Scottish team.

The National County Team Championships is a UK wide event for regional swimming teams. This year’s event was held in Sheffield on October 7th with 36 counties and more than 900 swimmers taking part. The Scotland West team, which is made up of swimmers from clubs as far afield as Oban and Stranraer, were predicted to finish in 11th place with 332 points. But our coaches and swimmers had other ideas, racking up 431 points and 16 top 10 finishes to secure that second place.

Hopes were high for a good performance from Aimee and Matthew in the 100m breaststroke, but few were expecting the massive personal bests they achieved. At just 14 years old, both are at the younger end of the 14/15 age group that they are eligible to swim in. Just being selected over older swimmers was a great achievement, and a testament to how talented they are. Aimee finished 4th in her event in a time of 1.11.86 – a massive 4.21 seconds off her previous best. Matthew swam in a time of 1.06.69 to finish 6th with an equally impressive 2.84 seconds off his PB. Aimee also swam the 50m breaststroke for the 14/15 girls medley, securing another 4th place.

Our Head Coach Shirley Redford was part of the coaching team for the competition. She said, “The atmosphere poolside was electric and I felt privileged to be part of the Scotland West team. The team ethos and spirit were superb throughout the whole competition. I was especially proud to see our two IASC swimmers showcasing their talent alongside the best young swimmers in Great Britain. They both rose to the occasion and produced amazing performances and great personal bests.”

Their selection for the Scotland West team came off the back of months of successes from the pair. Both became Scottish National Age Group champions in March. Aimee won gold in the 50m breaststroke and Matthew in the 200m breaststroke. Both then went on to win silver in their 100m breaststroke events. And just a few months later, both competed in the British championships. Aimee came 5th in her age group for the 50m breaststroke and Matthew came 6th in the 100m breaststroke.

So just what is it about Aimee and Matthew that makes them such an exciting prospect for Scottish swimming? Shirley puts their success down to a mix of natural talent and a lot of hard work and dedication. She said, “Swimmers at the top level of our club train 7 days a week, often twice a day, balancing swimming with gym work. We try to make the training as varied as possible to keep the swimmers motivated and challenge their fitness. But to be a top swimmer, there’s just no getting away from those early morning training sessions. Several mornings a week, our swimmers are training hard while most people are still fast asleep! Talent will only get you so far – it’s the commitment to training that really turns potential into success.”

Since returning from Sheffield, there hasn’t been much time for Shirley and the dynamic duo to celebrate their success. All three are preparing to fly out to Lanzarote for the club’s annual training camp at the fabulous La Santa resort. I’m sure they all feel like they’ve earned a holiday, but if Shirley has her way, rest is the last thing they’ll be getting!

50/50 fundraising draw


Congratulations to the lucky winner of our 50/50 draw… Mrs Helen McEwan.

Helen’s was the lucky number scratched off in the live reveal on Sunday morning via our club’s Facebook group. Her grandchildren Kian and Mya both swim in the club, and she bought two numbers as she loved the idea of having a chance to win big while supporting the club at the same time.

Helen was over the moon to find out she had won. It was a bit of much needed good luck as she recently fractured her hip and had to cancel her holiday to Turkey. She plans to spend some of it on her grandchildren and will treat herself to a new outfit for some up-coming nights out.

It was our first time trying the 50/50 draw as a fundraiser, and what a huge success it was! All 100 numbers were sold within 24 hours, thanks to the enthusiasm of our fundraising team and the generosity of all our family and friends. Helen is £250 richer and the club has vital money to put towards training and development. I think we might need to do it again!

Thank you to everyone who took part and supported the club. Enjoy spending your money Helen – you’re a deserving winner!


Swimmer of the month – September 2018

Congratulations to our September swimmers of the month – Lucy Campbell and Charlotte Jones.

Lucy won the award for her determination and resilience in working consistently on her skills. The coaches think Lucy has shown great improvement and produced some great results recently.

Charlotte won the award because the coaches agreed that she has worked hard and shown a great attitude which has improved her swimming skills.

Both this month’s winners prefer breaststroke and their favourite part of swimming is competing as part of a team for the club. Charlotte swims for the club in mini league and Lucy now swims in the winter league having swum in mini league when she was younger.

Well done girls – the club is very proud of you both!

Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club makes bumper donation to Compassionate Inverclyde

During the summer, Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club organised a collection for the Back Home Boxes project run by Compassionate Inverclyde.
The idea behind the project is simple – to provide everyday essentials to people who are discharged from hospital and live alone. The boxes enable patients to settle in at home without the pressure of having to get to the shops in the first couple of days.
The decision to support the project was driven by the club’s committee, many of whom work in the NHS and see first-hand the positive impact the project has. All swimmers were invited to donate an item or two from the prescribed list to enable the boxes to be made up.
The response was so amazing that Compassionate Inverclyde needed a van to collect everything that was donated! Compassionate Inverclyde commented, “Thank you to all your hard-working members for the fantastic donation from all of us here at Compassionate Inverclyde. Good luck in your club’s 40th anniversary year and thanks for the very special touch for the cards with your logo to go into the boxes.”
When asked about the club’s decision to get involved, Club President and local NHS pharmacist Jennifer Garrity said, “To succeed in swimming you need a support network of relatives and friends, which our swimmers are lucky enough to have. However, through our day-to-day roles in the NHS, we see so many people who don’t have that. As a club, we try to give back to our local community as much as possible, and Back Home Boxes was the perfect way to do that.
“We thought our appeal might be popular, but we were completely blown away by the generosity of our swimmers and families. It was a special moment to be able to hand over so many donations, knowing they would make life a little bit easier for people who really it. We are incredibly proud of all our young swimmers.”
Following on from this success, another collection is being planned for the Club in the next few weeks. Better get another van booked…!

Team Success in Round 2 of 2018 Clyde Coast Mini League

On Saturday 28th April 2018 our Team travelled to Larkhall Leisure Centre to compete in Round 2 of the 2018 Clyde Coast mini league. They were competing against Rutherglen, North Ayrshire and Kintyre. The team finished in first place and are well placed in the league going into the 3rd and final round. Read the full meet report here