Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Warrender youngster Coertze secures special double on opening day of SNAGS

The Scottish National Age Group Championships kicked off today at Tollcross, with a day of fast racing, after the competition’s three-year Covid hiatus.

The Championships end on Easter Sunday (April), and give swimmers aged 11-18 the chance to impress – and it was 14-year-old Warrender swimmer Kianna Coertze who did just that with an impressive double age group victory in the 200m Backstroke and the 100m Freestyle, as well as a bronze as part of the 4x100m Mixed Medley relay.

Coertze’s performance in the 200 Back caught the eye as the swimmer finished 10 seconds ahead of second placed Coco Croxford (City of Glasgow), in a time of 2:18.76. It was a time which would have earned her a second place in the 17-18 age group final – an impressive feat for a 14-year-old.

Kianna said:

“I’m very happy, especially after coming back from British last week. It was good to get back to Scotland and race.

“I felt very good. Right now, I’ve been focussing a lot on my 200 back, so I really enjoy racing it. It went well last week at the British Championships, where I got a PB, and I matched the time coming back here to SNAGS, so I’m happy.”

The youngster didn’t stop at just one gold medal – with a second coming quickly in the 100 Free, where she finished two seconds ahead of Warrender teammate Pheobe Arbuckle, and City of Glasgow’s Freya Beaton.

Kianna, who touched home in a time of 1:00.76, said:

“My first 50 I tried to set a solid pace but, honestly, I just went for it the whole time, because why not?”.

After spending last week in Sheffield at the British Championships, Kianna explains that it was an invaluable learning experience.

“Because I’m quite young I went mainly for the experience and my races turned out well so I’m very happy with the way I performed, especially in the 200 Back. That was a highlight, one of my biggest highlights so far.

“It was amazing seeing the likes of Kathleen Dawson and Cassie Wild race. You watch them on TV and you think, ‘oh my goodness, I want to be like them.’ To be able to be at the same competition, competing in the same races, it’s pretty special.”

Kianna’s Warrender teammate, Anna Green, also secured a title in the 200 Back, with victory in the 17-18 age group, in a time of 2:18.23. Hannah Mills (City of Peterborough) and Scarlett Ferris (Perth City) placed second and third respectively.

Speaking of her victory, Anna said:

“It’s weird, honestly, it’s always been one of those things like ‘oh you want to win SNAGS, you want to win something there’ and to be able to do it is just great.”

“To be able to put the work in and give it my all, making sure at each turn I could see the others but to just keep going and push it on.”

“It was an amazing opportunity to be in Sheffield last week and be there alongside such big names, like Kathleen Dawson and Cassie Wild. It’s insane what they can do and I aspire to be like that I really do. It was an amazing experience.

“I look at what they’re doing and put it into my own work, see how hard they try even in a warm up, see what they focus on and put that in my own swimming I guess.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the 5-day meet, Anna said:

“I’m hoping to get another gold in the 100m back, that would be very nice, and maybe in the 50 too. I’m mixing it up here, doing a few unusual events for me, we’ll see how they go.”

“I’m just looking to keep pushing, keep PBing and get further and further with my swimming and push it as far as I can.”

Evan Davidson, of Perth City Swim Club also impressed, becoming National Age-Group Champion in the 200m Breaststroke in a time of 2:30.87. He also placed second in the 50m Fly final, clocking a time of 26.71.

The 15-year-old said:

“That was really nice, it’s the first time I’ve ever been National Champion so it’s a big honour. My last SNAGS was in 2019 so to come back three years later and win is a good achievement.

“I knew the boy next to me would go out pretty fast on the first 100 so I kind of wanted to just stay with him and push through on that third 50 and hopefully hold on the last.

“For the rest of this meet I’m hoping to win as many events as possible and make a big impact.”

Evan was another swimmer who spent last week at the British Champs:

“It was probably the biggest meet I’ve done in my career so far. It was a really good experience, and it was good seeing some top athletes swimming and racing and I was fortunate enough to make two junior finals, which was unexpected, but I was really happy to be in the evening swims and do well.”

Elsewhere, 16-year-old East Lothian athlete Stefan Krawiec, matched the Age Group Record in the 50m Fly – with a time of 25.67. It was a record which hadn’t been matched since 2013.

Earlier in the day, Krawiec was part of another record as the East Lothian Swim Team smashed the Scottish Junior Club Record for 4x200m freestyle by over seven seconds. The quartet of Luke Hornsey, Zach Slater, Calum Peebles and Krawiec stormed home in 8:00.71.

Other stand-outs included Andrew Bertoli’s narrow win in the 17-18 200m Breaststroke – coming back with a strong last 50 over Emil Morawski of Warrender, and 13-year-old Zara Krawiec (East Lothian Swim Team) who placed first in the 50m Breaststroke, and secured silver in the 100 Free.

Ally Whike, Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics was delighted to see the return of SNAGS.

He said:

“It’s absolutely fantastic to be back here at Tollcross for the Scottish National Age Groups. It was a great feeling walking in this morning with so many people inside the venue, some of the youngsters looking forward to having their first race in an age groups in three years. And when that first race went off this morning it really was great to see the young swimmers getting back in and racing each other.

“First and foremost, I’m looking for swimmers to have a great time, it’s been so long coming and they’ve all been working extremely hard to get back in here and race. I think that’s probably the priority in all of this.

“However, there is a great opportunity to race hard, to challenge for some Scottish Age Group titles and to try and swim some PBs at the same time. And to also support your team as well. We always have a team competition that goes alongside the age groups. You could see today in some of the relays how enthusiastic all the swimmers are about supporting their teams and doing the best for their team-mates.”


SNAGS is running from 13-17 April at Tollcross International Swimming Centre

Full Results can be found here