TEENAGER Evan Clark bagged the first medal of 2018 for the North Ayrshire Amateur Swimming as they celebrated a successful weekend at the West District Long Course Age Group Meet in East Kilbride.

Evan (15) from Stevenston, set the second fastest time in the 100m breast stroke, winning his heat in a time of 1:13.31, taking two and a half seconds off his entry time.

It began a medal rush for the NAASC team at the Dollan Aquatics Centre on January 13 and 14, with Glengarnock swimmer Rory Dickson taking second in the 400m freestyle and claiming third spot in the 50m freestyle.

Head Coach Ross Douglas praised the teenagers’ performances and said: “I’m really happy for Evan, he’s a real worker. He very rarely misses a session, and to see him have his moment getting his medal was a real highlight when you see someone do what they didn’t expect to, and he achieved a couple of times for the Scottish National Age Group championships towards the end of March.

"Off the back of the weekend performances Rory Dickson has not got himself some consideration times for British Swimming Championships which are going to be held in Edinburgh at the start of March which is an amazing achievement for him at the age of 16 to be able to compete at that level.”

The Three Towns and Garnock Valley were well represented at the meet, which was a special event being held to give the fastest young swimmers in the west of Scotland a shot of qualifying for the British Championships.

Just to compete in East Kilbride the swimmers needed to have much faster personal best times than for regular West District events.

Gavin Friels (11) from Dalry was among the young swimmers taking part, qualifying for three events, while Calum Reid (15) swam the 100m backstroke and the 400m freestyle.

Coach Ross Douglas made special mention of the performance of another 11-year-old, Rachel McGuire from Saltcoats.

“In some events Rachel was the fastest 12-year-old in the 11-13 age group and it’s promising that these kids are ahead of the curve. For me it’s important when the older ones move on to university we have the new wave coming through so it’s exciting and really, really positive. It’s only going to get better," he said.