On Saturday, 25 boys and girls from 5 companies took part in the annual Swimming Gala in a joint event with Juniors & Company Section.
There were individual races for Freestyle, Breaststroke and Backstroke, as well as team Freestyle relays. Juniors races were 25m (1 length) and Company Section race over 50m (2 lengths). Juniors were split into races for P4, P5 & P6, while Company Section were split P7 to S2 and S3 to S6.
For the parents and leaders watching there was a good standard of racing to be enjoyed. Although some were not competing at the top end of the race, it was great to see others on the side encouraging them through to the finish.
Heading into the final set of races in the Juniors competition, there was a 3 way tie on 6 points with Andrew Robertson (1st Kinross), Ben Harris & Alex Dormer (both 3rd Perth). With all 3 boys in different age groups it meant that they would have to wait until all the races were done to know the final result. For the team prize the 2 companies were also fighting it out going into the last set of races, with 3rd Perth leading on 14 points and 1st Kinross on 11 points.
The Company Section had 2 clear head-to-heads in the 2 age ranges. In the younger section, Frazer Stewart (2nd Blairgowrie) and Lewis Thomson (3rd Perth) had 1 win and 1 2nd place in their 2 races each (giving them 5 points each). In the older section, Jack Watson (1st Kinross) and Callum Stewart (2nd Blairgowrie), Jack had won the 2 opening races (6 points) but had on both occasions been pushed very close by Callum (4 points). Going into the final race Callum looked unlikely to have a be able to get enough points to win the title, but he could certainly try to give his younger brother a chance to catch Jack!
In the race for the Company Section team prize 2nd Blairgowrie sat on 9 points with the 3rd Perth chasing them on 7 points, so there was still all the play for on that front also. 1st Kinross sat on 6 points but with no racers in the P7 to S2 section it meant at most they would be able to get to 9 points and the other 2 companies were guaranteed 3 points each as long as their racers finished.
The backstroke was the final set of individual races. Andrew Robertson was first up in the P4 final and finished over 9 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and secured himself a maximum of 9 points. Ben Harris was next up in the P5 final, needing to win to match Andrew. Unfortunately for Ben, he could not replicate his earlier successes and finished outside the points with Martha Harvey (1st Kinross) picking up the win. Alex Dormer, like his team mate, had to win to match Andrew. In the heats he finished 2 seconds slower than the fastest qualifier Fergus McQueen (2nd Blairgowrie), so he to find something extra for the final. The P6 final would take place after the Company Section races.
Lewis Thomson and Frazer Stewart were the first 2 in the hunt up in the Company Section finals. At the end of the first length Frazer was ahead, however, Lewis had shown his ability to tumble turn had gain him some time in the previous races. Even without the tumble turn Frazer was able to continue to pull away and win the race. Giving him 8 points and Lewis finished on 7. Jack Watson knew that at least 2nd place would see his name on the shield, but after sharing it last year he would have been hungry to win it outright. In the end Jack finished the race off with a comfortable win to secure himself the maximum 9 points and win the Norrie-Millar Shield.
The P6 racers then came back out for the last individual and their backstroke final. Alex Dormer needing to win to match Andrew Robertson on 9 points, but would need to pick up time on Fergus McQueen who had finished runner-up to Alex twice so far and would be looking to pick up a victory for himself to end on a high. The 2 boys were neck and neck all the way down the pool. Certainly from poolside it was near impossible to tell who was ahead or not. They both touched and we would have to wait for confirmation from the timekeepers to see who won. Fergus finished in 25.16 seconds beating Alex by a mere 0.04 seconds, who finished in 25.20 seconds. This meant Andrew would lift the MacGreggor Shield by himself.
With all the finals complete we also knew the standings for the team awards. In the Juniors, 1st Kinross managed a 4 point swing on the 3rd Perth and won the Ritchie Shield with 18 points, winning by 1 point. The Company Section were competing for the Team Cup. 2nd Blairgowrie retained their lead and finished on 14 points to take the crown, 3rd Perth finished on 10 and 1st Kinross on 9.
After a good finish to the individual races, we were over to the relays. 4 x 25m Freestyle for the Juniors, 4 x 50m Freestyle for the Company Section.
2 companies (3rd Perth and 1st Kinross) were able to field an individual team for the Juniors, but all racers took part as there were 2 joint teams. 3rd Perth finished ahead of the 1st Kinross by 5 seconds to take the Ian E Brown Trophy.
For the Company Section, there were 3 teams, with 3rd Perth and 1st Kinross needing some Juniors to make up numbers. 2nd Blairgowrie quite uniquely had a team of 4 brothers. Allan, Callum, Frazer and Graeme are all from the same, Stewart, family. The brothers had clearly been practising as they won the race ahead of 1st Kinross to add the Pullar Inkstand to their haul for the day.
Thank you to all who were involved in making the event happen.