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REPORT Hearts Premier and National County Team Championships 7th & 8th October 2017

Hosts’ hearts won, and rivals’ hearts broken!

The first weekend in October witnessed swimmers from Team GAW stretched across two nations. A team of 24 swimmers from different squads took on some of the best age group swimmers Scotland has to offer, while Team GAW’s rising national star Ryan Zhao, in the County Team Champs, pitted his wits against the best swimmers in the UK.

At the Hearts Premier Age Group Open, just outside Edinburgh, a team of GAW swimmers represented the club admirably, demonstrating great skills and competitiveness. In what was a lot of swimmer’s first experience of a stay-away (parent free) gala, the team put in some fantastic individual performances. It was, however, the collective performance that was most impressive. In what were difficult conditions, swimmers competing in multiple events with no swim-down facilities, the team performed fantastically well, posting a collective 125 personal best times and collecting almost as many medals! Behaviour throughout the trip was exemplary and both swimmers attitude and skills were positively commented on by officials and rival coaches alike.

Everyone performed to their best but a few individual performances were noteworthy. Birthday weekend twins Laura and Jessica Cottee smashed meet records in the 12yrs 100m/200m breaststroke events, taking a gold and silver in the 100m brs. Jessica’s 200m brs time of 2:51.80 placed her in the top 15 in Britain. 12yr old Adam Barrett set an incredible 10 meet records from 10 swims and his 200m bk time of 2:20.06 placed him in the top 5 in the British 13yrs rankings. Individual honours included Angelo Contini, Adam Barrett, and Adam Strickland picking up ‘Top Boy’ trophies for the 11, 12, and 13yr age groups respectively. Not to be outdone, team GAW’s girls picked up two ‘Top Girl’ awards in the shape of Ellie Houghton (12yrs) and Hannah Brown (13yrs).
And to the coveted ‘Top Club’ award….Team GAW romped to victory, adding yet another trophy to our bulging (though entirely metaphorical) cabinet.

Well done to all involved, you did us proud!

There’s a gallery of photos from the event here HPAG Gallery 


County Star, Ryan Zhao

Some 250 miles away from his team mates in Edinburgh, team GAW’s Ryan Zhao was representing N&D in the ‘National County Teams Championships’. The competition involved 40 counties from across the UK in two divisions and pitted each county’s top 12-13yr, 14-15yr, and 16-17yrs swimmers against each other. N&D competed in Division 1.

Ryan was selected as N&D’s representative in two individual events (the maximum allowed) and excelled himself in both. In Ryan’s first race, the 100m breaststroke, he exceeded all expectations, taking top spot in an unbelievable 1:09.06, as he took home the maximum 20 points for his team. Ryan repeated the feat in his more favoured event, the 100m backstroke, in which, going in fastest, he blitzed the field and recorded a time of 1:01.45. Both times saw Ryan scale the national rankings at this early point in the season. He also competed in the 4×50m medley event, leading his team out to an impressive 2nd place overall.

The county finished in 5th place overall, jumping a massive 11 places from last year’s position.  Massive congratulations to Ryan and the N&D team as a whole.


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