Five young swimmers, who will represent Team Scotland at the Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in July, begin their globe-trotting summer schedule as they pull on Great Britain colours for the LEN European Junior Swimming Championships, which start today in Netanya, Israel.
The full Scottish contingent in Israel will be six, as Team Scotland Youth Games athletes Scott McLay (Perth City), Luke Robins, Isabel Jones (Millfield), Tom Beeley (University of Aberdeen Performance) and Anna Fleming (City of Glasgow Swim Team) are joined by FIRST swimmer Ryan Retson in a team of 37 athletes who will compete at the European Junior event from 28 June to 2 July.
The selections come on the back of strong performances at April’s British Junior Championships where the highlights were Scott McLay’s gold in the 50m Backstroke, adding silver in the 50 Freestyle and bronze in the 100m Backstroke to complete his set of medals, and double bronze for Tom Beeley, reaching the podium in both the 100m and 200m Butterfly.
The British team have spent a few days in Netanya honing their final preparation and British Swimming Head of Elite Development, Tim Jones, hopes the event will inspire these swimmers at a crucial point in their careers.
“This is a great opportunity for this group of athletes. We are at the beginning of an Olympic cycle and there is no reason why this talented group can’t put themselves into contention for the Tokyo Games in 2020,” said Jones.
“I’m looking for the hidden gems within the programme and this event offers a great opportunity to unearth these. I want athletes to embrace what this important event has to offer and to use it to take their sport to the next level.”
For inspiration, these young swimmers need look no further than Stirling University star Duncan Scott, who won two gold and a bronze at the 2014 European Junior Championships, before going on to win medals at both the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Following the European Juniors, the Youth Games swimmers will have just 12 days before they join their team mates on the plane to Bahamas 2017 – ready to gather even more international experience.