The South Ayrshire Swim Team Para Squad has scooped an amazing medal tally in front of a home crowd for the West of Scotland Regional Swimming Championships for people with a disability.
Cerys McCrindle, Frances Smillie, Ellie McCreadie, Kayleigh Haggo, Fiona Dawson, Calum Munro, Darren Morrison, Jack Dickson, Ryan Sallens and Cameron Thomson all swam their hearts out at a packed Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr to take home an incredible 19 gold, six silver and four bronze medals.
The team – the largest ever team entry from the Para Squad – were all terrific ambassadors for South Ayrshire as they took on almost 200 swimmers from across the west of Scotland.
All the competitors from South Ayrshire have been through the Council’s Learn2 initiative which encourages people of all ages and abilities to try sport. Under Learn2, the medallists experienced the Scottish Swimming Pathway and this has led to several of the competitors also training to become swimming coaches.
The event marked the first time the Championships have been hosted outside of Glasgow and the Ayrshire atmosphere was electric as the team clocked up medals and personal bests throughout the day.
Coach Gary Craig said: “Our mantra is very much that it’s the taking part that counts, rather than winning, but the standard of swimming today was exceptional and the squad really raised the bar. More than anything else, the swimmers have done themselves incredibly proud and it’s a day we’ll all remember for a very long time.
“The squad is really going from strength to strength.”
“We are indebted to South Ayrshire Council for its continued support. We must also thank our sponsors, Hillhouse Quarry Group, who provided the squad with a fantastic new kit – which looked great – and the South Ayrshire Swim Technical Team who gave up their time to set up and run all of the electronic timing for the event.
“What a truly fantastic day and what a fantastic team – we were absolutely bursting with pride. Go Swim Team Paras!”
The medal winners now go forward to the Scottish Disability Sport National Championships for Physically & Sensory Impaired and Scottish Disability Sport National Championships for Learning Disabled. These events are due to take place in April and May.
Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: “What a brilliant achievement for the South Ayrshire team – especially to do so well in front of a home crowd. Our swimmers are all amazing athletes in their own right, but, together, there’s clearly no stopping them! I wish them all the very best for the national championships later in the year.
“I’m also very proud we’ve had the chance to showcase the excellent disabled facilities we have on offer in South Ayrshire and I have no doubt this will be the first of many prestigious events like this.
“It was a privilege to welcome so many talented athletes to South Ayrshire and I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from a number of them in the coming months and years.”