Nine Fins swimmers were at the Excite Centre in Bathgate last weekend, 14/15 October 2023, to compete in the Swim West Lothian Distance Meet, and did so very successfully, both in terms of achievement and performance.

The swimmers competed in 16 swims, achieving five 1st, two 2nd, five 4th, two 5th, one 10th, and one 14th places. The 16 swims also resulted in 12 PBs.

back row L to R – Wiktor, Steven, Erin, Kristin; front row L to R – Ethan, Caleb, Lilian, Irys, and Eva

Kristin Mackay, 14 years girls, led the way with two wins and one second place.

Ethan Pate, 11/12 boys, had two wins

Erin Taylor, 15/O girls, had one win

Caleb Gray, 11/12 boys, had one second place

Lilian Blair, 11/12 girls, but still 11, two 4th, and one 5th places

Irys Blair, 13 girls, had one 4th and one 5th places.

Eva Watson, 11/12 girls had one 4th place

Steve Pate, 15/O boys had one 4th place

Wiktor Bak 15/O boys had one 10th place and a 14th place.


However, it was some of the performances that proved to be the most exciting aspect of the weekend.


Ethan – recorded the largest PB of the weekend, his 1500m freestyle, by 1 minute 19.26 seconds, with his previous best being set just four months previously. Ethan’s time of 20 minutes 14.10 seconds is officially ranked 1st 12 year old in Scotland, 15th in Britain.

Ethan also recorded the 4th largest PB, this time in the 800m freestyle, by 36.54 seconds, and again his time of 10 minutes 31.90 seconds officially ranks him 1st in Scotland, 29th in Britain.


Eva – recorded the second largest PB, in her 800m freestyle swim, of 53.50 seconds, again beating her previous best set only four months earlier. Eva’s time of 10 minutes 52.81 seconds officially ranks her 11th 12 year old in Scotland. Bearing in mind the size of her PB at the weekend she is less than 25 seconds off the top spot.


Caleb – recorded the third largest PB, reducing his 800m freestyle time by 47.40 seconds. Caleb’s time of 11 minutes 6.42 seconds officially ranks him 4th 12 year old in Scotland


Lillian Blair – recorded the fifth largest PB, reducing her 200m breaststroke time by 9.16 seconds. Although Lilian finished 4th and 5th in her swims, she is an 11 year old up against 12 year olds and her 200m breaststroke time of 3 minutes 18.35 seconds ranks her 3rd in Scotland, 50th in Britain.

Lillian also reduced her 200m freestyle by 0.76 seconds and her time of 2 minutes 41.62 seconds ranks her 6th in Scotland.

Although Lilian recorded a time of 2 minutes 52.50 seconds at the East District Time Trials, earlier this month, times were not submitted to British Swimming. Therefore, her time of  2 minutes 57.08, recorded at Bathgate is her official time and ranks her 5th 11 year old in the Scottish Rankings.


Kristen – had the 6th largest PB, reducing her 1500m freestyle time by 9.07 seconds. Kristen’s time of 18 minutes 56.16 seconds ranks her 5th 15 year old in Scotland. NB the meet at the weekend was age on date of event and while Kristen swam in the 14 years girls age group, she still has a birthday before the 31st December and is therefore classed as a fifteen year old in the rankings.

Kristen also recorded a 3.58 second PB in her 800m freestyle, and her time of 9 minutes 50.16 seconds ranks her 4th in Scotland.

Kirsten had a further PB of 0.01 seconds in her 400m individual medley, and her time of 5 minutes26.13 seconds ranks her in 10th place in Scotland.


Steven – is now making steady progress and a 3.72 second PB in his 200m breaststroke, with a time of 2 minutes 39. 20 seconds moves him up nine places in the Scottish 16 year old rankings to 18th.


I think the above performances show how a pathway to the top works. But where is the top?


Taking Ethan as an example, he has reached the top of Scottish Age Group Swimming in two events, which is quite an achievement, but it is just a step on the way to the top. He and Lilian have made the top 50 in the British rankings.

Apart from Erin, who is in the final year where the rankings are recorded by single year age groups, Ethan is the highest ranked in his age group in the British 12 year olds 1500m freestyle rankings, so his objective now should be to try to get to the top of the British rankings, not easy, but possible.

For all the other swimmers the objective should be to get to the top of the Scottish rankings in their own age group, and as far up the British rankings that they can.


Pathway to the Top is based initially on Fins all time rankings, no age groups, so it is biased to the older swimmer. It is therefore good to see that younger swimmers are starting to make an impact and from the results from the weekend. The following changes have occurred:


Again, apart from Erin, Kristin has moved to the highest point from the current squads having moved up one place from 4th to 3rd in the 1500m freestyle, and up two places from 10th to 8th in the 800m freestyle.

Ethan has moved up one place in the 800m freestyle from 17th to 16th, and up 3 places from 36th to 33rd in the 1500m freestyle.

Caleb moves up three places in the 800m freestyle from 21st to 18th.

Steven moves up seven places in the 200m breaststroke from 28th to 21st.

Ava moved up the greatest number of places in the 800m freestyle from 48th to 39th.


Keep up the good work, along with your coaches, and remember do not expect to achieve a PB in every swim you swim, especially as you reach a higher level, but if you don’t achieve a PB discuss it with you coach. There could be several reasons why it didn’t happen for you. And please remember the only person you are trying to beat is yourself. Don’t let any other swimmers affect how you swim a race, just focus on the one lane in front of you. Remember the hard work is already done at training, all you have to do is apply what you have been asked to do. Simple. Eh?


Ken White

Club Press Officer