SWIMMING star Kirstin McKinley has secured a place on a pioneering new sponsorship programme which will give her a major boost in her bid to compete in the Commonwealth Games when they come to Glasgow in 2014.
The Bearsden teenager (16) is a member of Milngavie and Bearsden Amateur Swimming Club and now part of the Scotland wide ‘Back a Rising Star’ which enables individuals, community groups and companies to donate funds of up to £10,000 a year that can be accessed by swimmers for training and travel costs.
In 2014 Kirstin will be 19, the ideal age to compete in the games.
The Boclair Academy pupil, who is about to start her Highers, said: “This funding would really help me with the travel cost to get to competitions and also to buy racing swim suits.
“I was in the Youth Commonwealth Games last year and won bronze. Even though the Commonwealth Games is not for a few years I think I’m on track.”
Kirstin’s coach Craig Houston, who won a bronze in the 4x100m medley at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, said: “Kirstin definitely has a chance for selection. She is focused and in the top five or six in the relay squad, but there are a lot of competitions between now and the selection for the Games.”
Craig added that some of the Back a Rising Star funding would go to the club which, despite having less than half the membership of clubs like Glasgow Swimming Club, finished seventh in the National Championships in April. Glasgow finished 16th.
Kirstin’s outstanding performances over the last season also included a first senior national title, and double individual gold at the Nationals.
In last year’s Youth Commonwealth Games Kirstin also competed in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle with personal best times in all finishing 13th, seventh and sixth respectively.
In the two other team races she helped the Scottish squad to finish fourth in both the 4x100m Freestyle and 4x100m Medley Relays.