A FAB four of talented young swimmers showed a stroke of genius to win a remarkable haul of 17 medals at a major national championship.
Archie McArthur, Aimee Watson, Matthew Garrity and Lewis Gray were deep in the Scottish National Age Group Championships after not being able to compete for two years due to Covid.
The four teenagers from Inverclyde Amateur Swimming Club put in a “record” performance during the five-day competition, winning seven gold, five silver and five bronze between them.
Shirley Reford, the club’s coach since 2010, says it was well deserved for a group that trains hard all year round.
Shirley said: “I felt immense pride watching them perform at a high profile event and seeing them break their personal bests as well.
“It was one of the best ever performances from Inverclyde athletes and the first time we had swimmers in every event.
“It shows how much the club has grown in strength and depth over the years.
“This couldn’t have happened without all the hard work of our coaches and volunteers who run the club.”
The competition, which takes place in a 50m pool, is a major event in the Scottish swimming calendar with just under 100 different teams attending.
Swimmers must show their skills in breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly in the 50m, 100m and 200m, as well as compete in freestyle races over various distances and individual medley competitions.
Shirley added: “The atmosphere was great and the kids managed their nerves well.
“Some had a tough time during the shutdowns and that made their efforts even more remarkable.”
Clare Beck, who has two children at IASC and was there to cheer everyone on, said the event was long overdue for all the youngsters competing.
Sixteen children from the IASC participated and four others qualified for the finals.
She said: “Swimming has been one of the hardest hit sports during Covid.
“The swimming pools have been closed for months.
“Some of the kids who took part in this competition had already qualified two years ago and it was great to see so much talent finally get the chance to shine.
“Not only did they all perform incredibly well, but they also supported each other along the way.
“Swimming may be an individual sport, but everyone was always cheering on someone else.”