FOUR Helensburgh Amateur Swimming club youngsters competed at the 2019 West District Short Course Senior and Junior age group championships at Tollcross International Swimming Centre over two separate weekends.

Four swimmers met stringent qualification times to qualify at this very challenging regional event. All four returned very strong performances securing 10 personal best times over 12 events and smashing seven club records in the process.

Owen Lyell and Fergus McEwan swam in the 11 year age group.

Owen’s best performance of the day was in the gruelling 1500m freestyle which he was swimming for the first time in a competitive environment. He secured fifth place, setting a time of 22:31.44, which broke the record of 22:52.93 set by Alex Johnson on May 27, 2014.

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Owen also secured eighth place and improved on his personal best by a massive 74.63 seconds in the 400m freestyle, setting a time of 5:42.65 and breaking another of Alex Johnson’s records in the process – this one a time of 5:48.00 set on February 25, 2014.

Owen’s final event was the 100m freestyle, in which he recorded a new PB in the heats, 12.53 seconds faster than his previous best; that secured him a place in the final, and he inproved on his PB by a further 0.62 seconds on his way to an eighth place finish.

Fergus McEwan also had a very successful day securing strong personal best times in all three of his events, all over a 100m distance.

In the freestyle he secured 22nd place and improved on his PB by 3.67secs, in the backstroke he finished 19th with a PB of 2.12secs, and in the breaststroke he secured 16th place and a PB of 3.69secs.

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Alex Johnson, meanwhile, swimming in the 16 and over age category, had a fantastic weekend of swimming, securing three fourth places, a sixth and a ninth, setting four new PBs in his five events – and making up for losing two junior club records by smashing five more.

Alex secured two fourth places and one sixth place in the three of his events that were heat declared winners – the 400m and 200m freestyle and the 200m butterfly.

He qualified for the final in the remaining two events, the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle, finishing in fourth and ninth respectively in the two finals.

Alex broke three Helensburgh club records he had previously set himself – in the 200m freestyle his 1:58.35 broke the previous best of 2:00.98 set on October 27, 2018, and in the 100m butterfly his new record of 59.86secs was a second and a half better than the 1:01.36 he set on February 22 this year.

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In his third event, the 400m freestyle, he set a new club record of 4:10.07, taking more than five seconds off the 4:16.49 time set on October 27, 2018.

Alex also smashed two club record times previously held by others; in the 100m freestyle he set a new time of 54.66, which broke the record of 55.58 set on January 23, 2015 by Marcus Hills, and he also broke the 200m butterfly record of 2:24.45, set by Jon Law on October 29, 2016, with a new record time of 2:13.36.

Rounding off the weekend, Michael Payne, swimming in the 14 year age group, secured a strong PB of 1.28s in the 100m backstroke in which he also took 17th place – completing a fantastic set of performances by the Helensburgh swimmers.

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