Saturday, May 28, 2022

Scottish Juniors making the most of racing opportunity in Glasgow

While the Glasgow International Swim Meet may not be deemed a ‘peak’ meet in 2022, athletes were certainly making the most of the racing opportunity ahead of the remainder of the domestic and international calendar.

With a National Junior Team camp running alongside a camp for Scotland’s senior athletes, a number of Scottish swimmers heading to European Junior Championships in Bucharest in July put in strong performances and are taking the opportunity to learn as much as possible from the more experienced athletes.

Holly McGill (Heart of Midlothian) is one such athlete who raced in both the finals of the 400m IM and the 50m backstroke. With a solid medley swim, which saw her finish fourth, she said,

“I’m happy with it. I’ve been in hard training so getting within five seconds of my PB in such a hard event, I’ve got to be happy with that. I’m not rested for this event so this weekend is about working on all the little details, the turns and all the skills. If you try and do your best off them, and if you get even one of those things right, it makes it easier for when you race properly tapered.”

 Speaking about making her GBR debut at the European Junior Championships, McGill said

“I’m really excited about competing at the European Juniors and this is the last proper competition before that. I’m still swimming pretty well considering the hard training, so I’m feeling confident for it. It’s my first time on that team and I am really excited.”

When asked about the National Junior Camp and what she’s learning from being in and around some of Scotland’s senior athletes, McGill said,

“It’s great being able to shadow the likes of Katie (Shanahan) and Cassie (Wild). Katie’s my age and Cassie has so much experience from going to the Olympics last summer. They’ve been competing for so long and I’m watching everything, the way they prepare, the way they recover.  I’m trying to learn anything and everything I can to help me in the future.”

Matthew Ward (Mount Kelly) also put in a strong performance in the final of his 400m IM finishing third behind Charlie Hutchison (Loughborough University) and Tom Robinson (University of Aberdeen Performance); he said of his race:

“I knew Charlie (Hutchison) in the lane beside me was going to go out fast for a PB, so I was looking to stay on him until the 100 fly leg, then swim my own race. When I got onto the backstroke, which is my forte, I tried to use that to my advantage and do the best I could to get me a lead on the breaststroke against the others, as the breaststroke is my weak point. And when I turned and saw that I had a pretty decent gap, I was like let’s just focus, keep it together and work as hard as I can before turning to my legs and giving it everything I could into the wall.

“I won’t be swimming the 400m IM at the Euro Juniors but I will be swimming it at the British Summer Championships so for me this is another great opportunity to practice. We’re in a hard point in our training and considering that time was only a second off my PB I’m really happy with how that went.

“Posting a good time is always a bonus but you approach a meet like this by wanting to execute your race skills, your underwater phase, your turns etc. so that if you can nail those when your tired then when you get into a race where you’re suited up, tapered, shaved, it will hopefully come through and set you up for a nice swim.”

Anna Green (Warrender Baths Club) who is will also make her GBR debut at the European Junior Championships was equally determined to make the most of racing against her senior counterparts. Following her 50m backstroke final she said,

“That was a really nice way to finish off the day. It’s a splash and dash with the 50m event but you still have to keep up your stroke rate and use the girls in the lanes next to you to keep your momentum up. And when the girls next to you include the likes of Cassie Wild and Emily Grant, who are so good at what they do and so nice along with it, you just want to do well.”

The Glasgow International Swim Meet is taking place from 27-29 May, at Tollcross International Swimming Centre. All sessions can be watched live here

Full results can be found here