Trials and celebrations for swimming club members

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Oban Otters have been making waves in national and domestic swimming.

Performance athletes Sam Coates, 16, and Kai Mackechnie, 11, are focused on qualifying for the Scottish National Age Group Championships (SNAG) and tested the water at the Scottish Schools Championships two weeks ago.

Both performed well at the event, at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, with Kai knocking another two seconds off his personal best time in the 50 metres backstroke.

‘It was a great experience racing against people from all over Scotland,’ said Kai.

Sam added: ‘Both Kai and myself competed in SNAG time trials and although we didn’t quite make the qualifying times, we still have some opportunities to go through.

‘We will now be focusing on starts and turns ahead of the next one.’

Both boys are quietly confident of making the finals at Tollcross from Wednesday March 27 to Sunday March 31.

More than 1,000 of the best age group swimmers representing more than 90 clubs from across the UK will compete in the SNAG championships. For many the event will provide an opportunity to win their first national championships medal, make a final or score points for their club in the Top Team competition.

The meet also allows athletes to gain ranking positions for the British Summer Nationals and the Scottish Summer Meet in July.

If they qualify, this would be Kai’s first SNAG event while Sam would be competing at under 17 level for the first time.

Last summer Sam and performance teammate Ella Mackechnie represented the Otters at the European Championships when they were medal bearers at the event in Glasgow.

‘It was fantastic just to be in among all those great swimmers and to see them perform,’ said Ella, who is also a Sports Ambassador at Oban High School.

Ella is a great supporter of Scottish individual medley specialist Hannah Miley, while Sam and Kai both hope to follow in the wake of 100 metres breastroke world record holder Adam Peaty.

All three Oban Otters’ performance swimmers are long term members of the Oban club and enjoy the range of activities it offers.

Speaking before last week’s sponsored pyjama swim, Kai said: ‘Oban Otters is a great club to be involved with.

‘As well as improving our competitive swimming, there are also lots of other things happening such as fundraising and social events.’

See page 53 for more on the club’s sponsored pyjama swim.

Oban Otters Amateur Swimming Club, for children 17 and under who have Swim Skills 4 or equivalent, meets in Atlantis Community Leisure Centre. The club is run by a volunteer committee and all classes are taught by UK CC Level 1 and 2 teachers.

For more information contact obanotters@gmail.com.