Monday, October 9, 2017

Successful weekend for Scottish Open Water Swimming Squad at Cyprus Marathon

Keanna MacInnes: “Medalling in all three races was really unexpected and it was really nice to be on the podium with my teammate Daisy Hill all three times."

Jamie McCaffrey and Keanna MacInnes swam their way to three victories between them as the Scottish Swimming team produced a successful weekend at the 13th Cyprus Open Water Marathon.

McCaffrey and MacInnes, along with fellow swimmers Daisy Hill, Marshall Illingworth and Scott Deans secured top-five finishes in every race at the event held at Finikoudes Beach in Larnaca.

MacInnes touched home first in the 1.25k and 2.5k distances, with teammate Hill in second on both occasions. In the longer 5k distance, Hill – who was touched out by the winner by only 0.4 seconds, beat third-placed MacInnes in a photo finish, displaying the close competition in this team.

Coach Richard Collins said the team exceeded his expectations. “We did a lot more structured coaching, a lot more tactical work with the swimmers to give them the opportunity to get out there and experience that and against the field they were able to put those tactics into practice and they came to fruition.

“All three races for the women went down to the final 200m so it meant they had to show that grit and determination to fight and get the places.”

MacInnes, who was recently selected to Team Scotland for the 2018 Commonwelth Games, believes the event was an excellent experience for her and the team. She said: “This competition was perfect for putting to practice some of the race skills we are trying to develop in Scotland with some more challenging competition but without it being too violent.

“Going away and experiencing racing against new people is an important part in developing tactical knowledge and awareness.

“It gives us the opportunity to race at a point in the year where we wouldn’t be able to otherwise – and it’s also nice to have a top up on vitamin D.

“Medalling in all three races was really unexpected and it was really nice to be on the podium with my teammate Daisy Hill all three times.”

On the men’s side, the going was certainly tougher. McCaffrey was the only man to secure top spot on the podium across the weekend in the 1.25k race but was joined there by Deans, with Illingworth fourth. There were still strong performances, particularly in the 5k distance where Deans came home third, Illingworth fourth and McCaffrey fifth. On Day Two in the 2.5k contest, Illingworth finished as high as fourth, with Deans seventh and McCaffrey in eighth.

“For the guys, they were competing against South Africans, Greeks, Cypriots and other top swimmers so it was a real fight,” Collins said. From the word go there was no clear cut winners and the leads changed with every lap. The only clean one was Jamie in the 1.25k as he was home and dry with 200m to go.” 

Collins was full of praise for the event in general, and said the team are already planning for attending next year.

“The conditions were perfect, warm waters and clear skies. And the race venue was only 100m from our hotel so it was just a quick walk away to the beach. We’re looking to attend next year and to also take a few of our Development Squad out there.”