SWIMMERS from across the Irvine community are celebrating a stunning weekend of success at the North Ayrshire Junior Meet, with the home team claiming an astonishing 105 medals.

The team, who train at The Portal, saw 27 of their swimmers getting onto the podium during the two days of competition at Auchenharvie against clubs from across the west of Scotland, with even more achieving top six placings and posting new Personal Bests.

The breakdown of the medals shows just how well they did with 46 of them being gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze.

“It was a smashing weekend,” said Junior Coach, Alan Dickson.

“We had a lot of younger swimmers who were having to compete at a higher standard than they’ve been used to, stepping up and taking on bigger events – things like 200m Backstroke and 200m IM – and doing really well. A lot of them have stretched themselves and learned a lot.”

Some of the most intense and competitive racing over the weekend was in the middle age groups, with sometimes as many as 18 swimmers in each category.

Eilidh Moore (11) from Irvine had a fabulous weekend, winning five medals, and all the more impressive for having been out of action earlier in the week with an infection, which left her on antibiotics. She claimed a trio of gold medals in the 100m back, and the 100m and 200m free as well as hard fought silver medal in the 200m breast and the 200m back.

Eilidh also chased elder team-mate Rachel McGuire in the 400m Free, setting a PB which was nearly 15 secs faster.

Younger sister Erin was in a tough grouping, but still took home a third in the 200m Free but had 6 other top six placings.

Lewis Gibson (10) from Kilwinning, had a weekend to remember with five medal-winning swims. taking gold in the 50m Breast and 200m Back, and second places in the 200m Breast, 50m Back and 200m Free.

Niamh Hamilton got her reward from a sometimes challenging weekend technically, with a third place in the 50m Breast.

Junior meets are not commonly held at Level 2 so for some swimmers, and parents, it was perhaps a surprise to see their strokes, turns and finishes being so closely scrutinised by the judges, but Alan Dickson believes it will have been a useful learning point for them.

He said: "There were a few comments about swimmers getting disqualified”, he says, “but that’s a positive thing because they can learn a lot from that happening to them.

“When we’re in training and I’m telling the swimmers that they have to perform a certain turn a certain way they may think it’s just hot air, but when they come to a meet and they don’t do it right and they end up getting disqualified, then it brings the message home that they’ve got to perform the strokes properly.”

Adam Currie, from Irvine, dominated in three events on Sunday, taking gold medals in the 100m Free, 200m IM and 100m Fly for 11 year olds.

Cameron McDonald (12) from Kilwinning, was very strong in his breaststroke events, taking silver medals in the 100m and 200m distances, while Robyn Cotter took third places in the 100m Back and 200m IM in the 14-year-olds section.

Alan was delighted to see so many swimmers stepping on the podium: “It’s good to see us well represented in all age groups, I think nearly everyone was getting placed or medals with some really impressive swims and big PBs, and one or two of them who’ve threatened to post some big times for a while stepped up this weekend and brought their racing mindset along.

“There’s been a really positive attitude towards racing as well as just making it look good.”

For Head Coach Ross Douglas, the weekend wasn’t so much about the race results but how the races were swum.

He said: “For the younger end of the seniors, those who are starting to compete at national level, who were in action this weekend, it was about using it for race practice,” he explains.

“We’ve got the Glasgow International coming at the end of the month which is our big focus at the moment, so for me it was about seeing where we are positioned.

“It was about giving them points to think about. There were a few things they did well and others that we need to work on. I made them aware that for some of them the only competition this weekend was themselves and the more you can learn to set the tone of your own race the better because you won’t always have people pushing you, sometimes you have to do that yourself.

Ross was also delighted to see such strong support from the swimmers’ families.

“The levels of voluntary support from parents, and those who come along as officials, is amazing,” he says.

“We’re seeing new faces, parents that have never helped before and it adds to the spirit.

“We’ve got a good thing going here – long may it continue. And it’s reflected in the kids, they respond to that.

"There are more of them entering and there are more of them wanting to race and it’s all positive and a testament to the environment we’re creating at North Ayrshire.”