Dec 12 2012 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Talented Monklands swimmers made a splash at North Lanarkshire’s annual schools’ championships.
The event, which took place at the Sir Matt Busby Sports Centre in Bellshill, attracted 300 kids from 86 schools across the county.
A number of personal best times were set in different age categories with the youngsters also looking to book their spot at next month’s Scottish schools’ swimming finals in East Kilbride.
St Andrew’s High School pupil Lucy McGhee was in top form, winning the 200 metres individual medley, backstroke and freestyle races.
The 14-year-old was also joint-winner of the 100m freestyle with Greenfaulds High’s Jane Wright and took second place in the 100m backstroke.
Fellow St Andrew’s High swimmer Lucy Rankin (17) notched up victories in the 100m and 200m backstrokes and finished runner-up in the 100m butterfly behind St Margaret’s High’s Rebecca Rieley.
Rieley (17) came third in the 200m backstroke as well.
Four second-place finishes were recorded by Chryston High’s Heather Lees (14) in the 100m backstroke and butterfly events and 200m breaststroke and butterfly races.
Jennifer McKinlay (17) grabbed a pair of runners-up spots in the 100m freestyle and backstroke events.
Other notable performers were 17-year-old James Reilly (St Margaret’s High) who was second in the 200m individual medley and Coatbridge High’s Amy Morrison (18), a runner-up in the 200m backstroke.
Andrew MacDonald (15), of Chryston High, finished in second place in the 400m individual medley with team-mate Nathan Paton (16) a 200m backstroke runner-up.
Airdrie Academy’s David Pearson (14) was a 100m backstroke runner-up with Chryston Primary’s Ellie Watson (12) second in the 50m breaststroke.
In the girls’ 200m freestyle relay, St Andrew’s Primary were runners-up.
Third-placed finishes were claimed by Natasha Smith (St Ambrose High), Crae Stevenson and Calum Turnbull (Caldervale High), Lauren McKane (Airdrie Academy) and Joshua Burke (St Patrick’s Primary).
Jim Logue, chair of North Lanarkshire Leisure, said: “The number of swimmers continues to increase as does the number of schools represented.”
NLL chief executive, Blane Dodds, was delighted with the quality of the championships.
He added: “The organisation and structure of the event provided an opportunity for elite swimmers and the many unattached swimmers at the grass-roots level.”