As the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships got underway in Glasgow this week, hundreds of youngsters from across the city are set to be at the heart of this world-class event taking place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre 4-8 December.
More than 900 of the city’s school children have been given the opportunity to get a taste of the action attending the heats sessions, where they will be treated to fast and furious racing from Europe’s finest.
Complete with ‘Thundersticks’, the primary aged pupils will play their part in creating a great warm Scottish welcome for the athletes from 49 countries across Europe.
Whitehill Secondary from Dennistoun are a swimming mad school, and lucky enough to have their own pool on site, so they jumped at the chance when they were invited to supply kit carriers for the Championships, along with pupils from Hutcheson’s Grammar School.
33 pupils aged 14-16 years are helping to swiftly maneuver the athletes’ kit from the start line to the pick-up point to enable the swimmers to quickly get dressed and keep warm.
With 38 races in this morning’s session everyone was kept busy and got their daily steps done in the process.
After the session, event mascot Bonnie the Seal and GB team member Scott McLay took time out to meet the youngsters and thank them for their support.
Also fulfilling this function in the evenings and at the weekend are groups of youngsters from City of Glasgow, Lanark, Larkhall, Milngavie and Bearsden Amateur Swimming Clubs as well as individuals from a range of clubs across the country.
In total 108 young people will be helping out with this important task, whilst having the opportunity to watch many of those destined for success at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
A further eight sports leaders aged 16 -18 years from Hillhead High School will have the honour of carrying the medals to the presentation podium during the evening finals sessions.
To delight of the home crowd, mascot Bonnie the Seal is back and in the thick of it, thanks to seven young people recruited to the Glasgow Physical Education, Physical Activity and School Sport team as Modern Apprentices.
They have been gaining valuable work experience over the last three months working alongside Glasgow Life staff in the delivery of the mascot programme and today they got their opportunity to take centre stage at the Championships.
Billy Garrett, Director of Sport and Events at Glasgow Life and Co-Chair of the Glasgow 2019 Steering Committee, said: “Glasgow is currently one of the top five ultimate sporting cities in the world, and identified as amongst the best for legacy.
“Events like the European Short Course Swimming Championships are what help us gain these accolades, and by staging major events, we can also ensure we continue to inspire the next generation, and deliver a sound grassroots sport programme for young people across the city.
“We are delighted that so many young people will either have the chance to experience the world-class swimming first hand, or take an active part in delivering the event, and I am sure they will have a memorable experience up close to the action.”
Tickets for the event are still available HERE and from the Tollcross box office.