Mercat Gait Pool in Prestonpans, East Lothian was the venue for this year's Lothian Disability Sport Autumn Swim Gala , providing swimmers from across the region and further afield the opportunity to try and better times and performances in the pool. Lothian were extremely well represented through local clubs Lothian Racers, Lothian Waves, Livingston & District Dolphins, Loanhead Swim Team, ELST, Enjoy ASC and Mercat Greats. Additionally, LDS welcomed other branches from across the country with the Borders (Borders Baracudas) and Stirling (Arion Swim Club, Stirling Swim & Stirling SC) completing the 75 swimmer strong entry.
The gala was able to provide some further competition for athletes who had just returned from the CPISRA World Games in Nottingham (Stirling athletes Mairin Savage and Sam Agnew) and the Special Olympic World Games in LA (Loanhead swimmer Michelle Moran) - all three athletes were able to medal at their respective Championships, with Michelle Moran claiming the first medal of the games for the Great British Team. In addition to these established swimmers, the competition provided a first step into disability swimming for many young people - highlighting the good work that clubs, local leisure organisations and Scottish Disability Sport have been doing recently through the facilitation of development days in East and West Lothian. Enjoy Leisure (East Lothian) held a development day back in June, which has helped boost the number of swimmers from 5 to 17 in just six months at their ASN session on a Tuesday evening at Musselburgh Sports Centre. There is lots of excellent work being done by clubs throughout the region and this is now being reflected by the number of swimmers accessing competitive opportunities.
Another swimmer who has recently made big strides in the pool is East Lothian Swim Team's (ELST) Christian Buchanan. The youngster from Tranent has worked extremely hard over the previous 12 months making the transition from Musselburgh Amateur Swim Squad and Lothian Racers to the ELST and is now completing 17 hours training per week - in addition to making the difficult step from primary to secondary school. Christian has also recently been included in the Scottish Swimming Talent Programme 2015/2016 and will travel to Manchester next month for the Sainsbury's School Games. A great year for the East Lothian swimmer and for this reason, Christian was chosen as the recipient of the Mark Headden Memorial Trophy for the most improved swimmer over the last 12 months.