Why Milngavie & Bearsden Swimming Club won’t just have eyes on Gold Coast pool

Katie Archibald will be one of Scotland's main medal hopes at the Gold Coast
Katie Archibald will be one of Scotland's main medal hopes at the Gold Coast

Members of Milngavie and Bearsden ASC will have plenty to cheer in next month’s Commonwealth Games. And not just in the pool.

No fewer than five current or former club members have been called up for Team Scotland, across three different sports.

John Archibald thinks a swimming background has helped his development as a cyclist (pic by Jeff Holmes)

John Archibald thinks a swimming background has helped his development as a cyclist (pic by Jeff Holmes)

Swimmers Calum Tait and Jack Thorpe both came through the ranks at the club, which is based at the Allander Leisure Centre.

Cycling brother and sister Katie and John Archibald were also members of the club as youngsters - indeed John (above) is still involved with M and B’s Masters group in a coaching capacity.

And triathlete Beth Potter, brought up in Bearsden, was also a competitive swimmer at the club, before switching to athletics and then the triathlon.

Club head coach Adam Riley reckons the example of the Gold Coast quintet can help inspire the club’s current, and future, youngsters.

He said: “It sends out a message to the other swimmers in terms of ‘you might not end up being a swimmer but the background of being involved in our sport can have positive effects in leading into other sports’.

“Swimming’s tough but you get through it because you’re there as a group, all kinds are doing the same thing. I’m a definite believer in the life lessons you can get from being involved in a sport where you swim as an individual but yet you have to train as a team.

“When you look at John and his swimming, people coming from a cycling background can’t handle the amount of work that he does because he’s used to going above and beyond.

“Hopefully the other kids are going to see it and think ‘well why not me?’ - that’s why we want to make deal of this.

“All they’ve done is trained hard and picked up the right sport at the right time.”

Calum Tait, now based at Edinburgh University, says the club has played a huge part in development of both himself and fellow former Douglas Academy pupil Thorpe.

He said: “M and B was the reason why I stayed swimming and continued swimming and took me from the level of enjoying it mainly socially to be at the level where I could think about being competitive as a senior athlete.

“It was a huge part of getting me to the stage where I could commit to taking things more seriously.

“Jack’s almost exactly the same. He swam at Milngavie & Bearsden at the same time from primary school up to high school and we both moved to Edinburgh at the same time and have been at the same club ever since.”

John swam at the club for six years as a youngster and says it has helped him both in terms of team camaraderie and physically.

He said: “Physiologically I think swimming and cycling are very similar. I found that I was good in swimming at a four-minute event and when I came across cycling I was still good at a four-minute event.

“In cycling a lot of the training is on your own but at the club you can talk, be watching each other through sessions, racing through sessions, there’s a coach there that’s getting the best out of you - the set-up they have at Milngavie & Bearsden is really good.”