Mercat Gait played host to the annual Lothian Disability Sport Swimming Gala, with swimmers turning out in huge numbers; many aiming to improve personal best times while others were experiencing the event for the very first time.
A total of 91 swimmers had registered to enter, however that number was reduced after a number of withdrawals on the morning of the event. Local clubs have been working tremendously well over the previous few months and this is clearly evident from the huge number of swimmers now accessing the opportunity. Experienced clubs Lothian Racers, Lothian Waves, Loanhead Swim Team and Livingston & District Dolphins (Rainbow Squad) were able to enter a number of experienced swimmers while also promoting some of their younger swimmers to attend their first gala. Other clubs like Mercat Greats and Enjoy Leisure continue to develop their weekly sessions and the young people now accessing the competition has increased significantly over the last 12 months, testament to the swimming development work being undertaken in the East Lothian region. This event also continues to attract some of the region’s most promising swimmers as east regional squad members Christian Buchanan and Shannon Crosbie were in attendance aiming to continue their development and record new PB’s. The region also welcomed entrants from additional local authorities, as Jenna Brus (Borders Barracuda’s), Jill Hendy (Stirling Swimming) & Mairin Savage (Stirling Swim) came from slightly further afield to swim in East Lothian.
Edinburgh school Braidburn were also present and entered four swimmers who were looking to better their swim times from the school swim qualifier held last October. The staff from the school supported their swimmers superbly throughout and provided the opportunity for their pupils to access this event which is of course, held out with the school week.
Further support was provided from a whole band of officials, time keepers and volunteers who kindly give up their time to ensure the event runs smoothly and gives the swimmers the best experience possible. Special thank you goes to John Sluman for organising such a large group of enthusiastic officials and John Brodie for continuing to plan / coordinate the programme prior and on the day of the event. Jim Anderson OBE was on hand to present the medals to all swimmers and provide all attendees the chance to purchase his recently released book, Jim the Swim.