Pretty frosty when I got up awoken by my snowman alarm clock reminding me that the reindeer were needing fed (well the car needed some leaded petrol). Pulled along at a fair pace we slid unnoticed into the car park awaiting arrival of the elves to commence the Xmas gala.

It is amazing what a carrot and stick approach will do as the elves representing the team were informed by another coach from Lapland that if they had a personal best for any swims then they were to grab something from Santa’s hat stuck on the wall.I don’t think Tom the coach from fauldhouse who kindly stocked the hat with sweets bargained for the number of our team who managed personal bests. A constant pathway through the snow towards this magic hat was the order of the day for most of the gala.

The referee in Lapland for the day was kitted out in a variety of costumes ranging from the Loch Ness monster to a woman cabaret artist. John Sluman is now appearing in an updated version of Aladdin at the Lyceum theatre in Glasgow. Tickets for the panto are £10 pounds for adults and £3 for children all money raised from ticket sales goes to buying more ludicrous outfits for John to wear and to help in his rehabilitation therapy lessons lol.

Susan distributed the Xmas crackers (legally acquired she informed me) at the coaches Xmas lunch held in Santa’s grotto whilst in my case having eaten too much turkey managed to cluck my way down to poolside hoping to have a small nap.

The morning session consisted of 8 of Santa’s little helpers swimming however it would not be fair of me to single out all the baubles on the Xmas tree. I say this because the number of great swims would mean me having to convert this report from paperback to hardback. It was also a battle to see the results which were posted on three billboards just outside Epping (ie the changing rooms). I do however think it is worth pointing out that Jessica who has not long joined scorpions continued throughout the morning to smash all her times out of sight. The after Xmas pudding entertainment was provided in the form of relays x 2 and as usual we produced some great swims. It was at this stage that I declined the Cadbury’s after eight mints on the grounds that to have packed more into my belly there was a slight chance of self combustion. I would also like to dispel the rumour that if you eat loads of Brussels sprouts passing wind during an IM swim will not help you go faster.

The afternoon saw more tremendous swims culminating in Thomas and Elliot on 100 free who were to quote a famous Xmas advert “flying through the air looking for a place to land” 1 14 for Thomas 1 13 for Elliot. Jasper without any false starts this time pulled off an incredible 1 19 for his 100 free so we’ll done Jasper

Can I just say that it is very very difficult to produce personal bests all the time it’s a wee bit like you asking for something special and maybe having to wait and save up. Having said that whilst nothing is guaranteed I for one can honestly say that anyone who did not record a personal best will do so as long as they keep up the hard training and listening to what is taught.

If there were any club records broken at this gala then they will be updated on the advent callander website soon.

Elves at the gala


Proud of all who took part at this gala and please remember there are a number of factors that need to all come together before you might smash your times. I for one know that we are heading in the right direction ie to the. North Pole lol

I am away to have a rest eating some more turkey and falling asleep to the renditions of the great escape on the tv for the 45 th time lol.

Keep up the good work and when the Xmas break comes keep the fitness levels up.

Colin Galbraith
(Winter is coming game of thrones)

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on TRANENT XMAS GALA 01/12/2018


As you all probably know it takes an enormous amount of effort and time to sort out entries for galas. In this regard can I please remind everyone that you must let Susan know without delay whether or not your son/s or daughter/s are or are not available for any galas. Susan always sends e mail messages re dates of competitions well in advance however you will appreciate that if there is any delay coming back to Susan then we cannot guarantee acceptance for competitions.

It is worth pointing this out as all swimmers have to try and bring their times down in competitions where entry is gained on times posted. In this increasingly competitive sport it is becoming more and more imperative that their times are constantly improving thus making the criteria for up and coming galas.

Colin Galbraith
Scorpion Swim Team

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on COMPETITION ENTRIES


You can never fault our swimmers for lack of effort and whilst not all set personal bests those that didn’t were not far off the mark.
Congratulations to Maggie winning gold in the 50 breaststroke, Jasper on making the 100 Free and 100 Breaststroke finals. Sammy  also made the 50 Fly final.

There were some outstanding swims however we must remember to stay still on the blocks as both Rachel and Jasper moved before the last beep and unfortunately were disqualified.

Jasper in particular was gutted as he went 1 25 in the heats of the 100 free and although disqualified for starting before the signal went an incredible 1.19 astonishing time in the final.

Alice, Aimee, Sammy, Thomas and Kara all had personal bests and it was pleasing that Elliot and Thomas are now back to best form.

As for the Pom Pom girls is there any end to their repartee?!?!?!.

Another very good gala performance wise and the hard work is definitely paying off.

Colin Galbraith
Scorpion Swim Team

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on LOTHIAN REGION MEET 10/11/2018

Faulhouse Penguins Age Group Meet 03/11/2018 aka the fight at the Coluseum

This meet holds very special memories for both Susan and myself so it was with immense pleasure that we were able to compete at this gala. Ian Prentice used to be headcoach of Faulhouse Penguins and sadly passed away a few years ago, way before his time, and was a great coach and personal friend to both of us.We promised him that if we could attend the Faudhouse gala we would and am so glad we did.

I arrived at the Coluseum at 8 am sharp and proceeded toward the catacombs(changing rooms) forgetting that when in Rome the fierce heat just saps all of your energy.
Our adoring fans who had bartered a lot of sheep and cattle at the Roman market obtained front row seats in the first tier of the auditorium and were excited at the thought of the battles ahead. In the stifling heat the thought of sending our battle hardened team in for a warm up was preying on my mind. In particular all five of the combatants had been running around daft before the start of festivities honing their fighting skills. The five gladiators were magnificent and performed brilliantly throughout the mornings events .At one point I did want to shout to the opposition in the upper tier “ Are you not entertained!”
The Romans being clever architects had flooded the basement of the Colluseum with water so that the fighting could take place as a swimming event and our five combatants all produced personal bests to the delight of the crowd. Typical of the romans each lane was a straight road consisting of equal lengths six in total (missing trees at either side of course). The main highlight of the mornings entertainment sanctioned by the scenat was a chariots of fire relay race to the death (well to the winning post).
Despite the five members of the team being shackled in chains attached to the poolside the enthusiasm to compete was so great that the chains melted (probably due to the heat) and they were more than ready to do battle. The event involved four members of each team covering one circuit of the arena. The four scorpions smashed the opposition barbarian hoards whose chariot wheels fell off on the last circuit and landed in the car park narrowly missing the front end of my chariot.
After throwing red petals into the water to the annoyance of the organizers the crowds all gave a thumbs up and started to disperse for a well earned feast. Well those that had not been carted off with heat exhaustion. Supporters of all teams wore a vast array of brightly coloured togas and the most striking headgear of the competitors was the black hats with a vicious scorpion logo on the side. There is no truth in the rumour that this team was sponsored by Ceasar himself. The gladiators ate heartily before combat however when Darcy was asked if she had eaten some haribo eggs replied “ett two brutus” lol. Due to the five gladiators performing so well they have gained their freedom but only till the next training session.
Before detailing the various highlights A special mention goes to a new gladiator in the team Cambelle Shand who was competing for the first time on 50 breastroke and 50 free and did brilliantly so well done indeed especially as she has only been with us a short period of time. Now to the details of the fighting team.
Ellie Watt
Kirsty Sievwright
Dacrcy Curtis
Emma Thomson
Cambelle Shand

Ellie took the 50 back and 200 free club record for 9 year olds
Darcey took 15 seconds off her swims in total and set a new personal best on 200 free
Kirsty and Emma both took 6 seconds off their swims and set new personal bests for 200 free
Ellie. Took 9 seconds in total off her swims and set a new 200 free style personal best.
Cambelle two personal bests on her 50 breaststroke and free swims
The relay consisting of Darcy Kirsty Emma and Ellie set a new team club record.

Can I just say that in the thirty odd years of coaching swimming I have only really been reduced to tears of joy once before this meet when coaching a relay team to an outstanding east district record. At this meet seeing the girls doing 200 freestyle for the first time and that relay at the end brought back some vivid memories and was quite emotional for me and I am sure the parents as well.

I would like to personally thank the Colliseum (Fauldhouse Penguins) and all officials some of whom were threatened with being fed to the lions (only joking) for a successfully run meet. Bearing in mind that results were pinned to the Colluseum walls by elaborate parchment and arrived by messenger who had ridden a horse for four days from the far flung distant corner of the Roman Empire.

I am now being dragged away for a lie down in Elysium with a bunch of grapes,some red wine and a chicken leg. I now have a meeting with the privy council, the scenat and the people of Rome to discuss how to defeat Attila the Hun and the Persian Empire. Actually I just need a gallon of water lol.

Film report by Maximus Desimus Merrilius
Commander of the Armies of the North and leader of the Felix legions
Loyal servant to the true emporer Marcus Orrilieus

on my command unleash hell (swim fast lol)
Colin Galbraith (posing as a better looking Russell Crow)
head coach
Scorpion Swim Team

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Faulhouse Penguins Age Group Meet 03/11/2018 aka the fight at the Coluseum

Lessons to be learned from Aquanauts meet

I have always said that coaching swimmers is a very difficult task as there are so many different aspects which have to be dealt with. This can range from a swimmer being frightened of tackling swims not within their comfort zone (ie not on their favourite stroke) to making an error of judgment in the water,  even extending to not breaking through on their personal bests for some considerable time. On top of all this there are very strict rules on what determines whether or not a swimmer is disqualified or not and swimmers need to take this on board if spoken to by any referee or technical official about an infringement of the rule for the stroke. We were fortunate in a few cases that this Meet was a Level 3 license where fewer disqualifications were made than would have been at a level 2.  However any issues on this subject will be addressed in training. I would however say that all of the issues raised at this Meet by officials have already been pointed out to you all in training. So please listen and take on board what you are taught by myself and Susan in order to avoid being disqualified in other meets.

Despite all the trials and tribulations most (but not all) swimmers come through the other side despite having gone through weeks/ months of striving to get to where they want to be. There is no Harry Potter magic wand but there are a few spells which can help

1 Listen to what you are taught in training
2 Tackle swims that you know are going to be difficult
3 Learn from mistakes made in the water
4 Don’t add too much pressure to yourself as you will slip water by trying too hard it’s power and technique you need.

I had a lot of admiration for all the younger swimmers tackling 100 metre swims at this Meet and we even had Darcey swimming a very creditable time for a 200 IM at her age that is some achievement.

I think in a previous report mention was made of a recurring nightmare I have on a swimmer coming to a gala and missing their swim. At this Meet there was nearly an example of this which was averted due to quick thinking and sorting out by myself and Susan. Please listen and pay attention at the marshaling area for your name to be called. I cannot think of anything worse than parents having travelled a fair distance to watch their son or daughter swim only to see nobody appear on the starting block. I know if it was me as a parent and that happened I would be extremely angry and upset.

Finishing on a more positive note we are a force to be reckoned with as several other coaches from other clubs have commented on how well our swimmers are performing and how all our swimmers are desperate to give 100 per cent.

Well done to all and it’s back to hard training Monday lol

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Lessons to be learned from Aquanauts meet

Aquanauts Meet 08/09/2018

This was a big test for the younger swimmers who have not had the chance to swim 100 metre swims and quite a test given that there were in some instances not much recovery time between swims. That having been said I was well impressed by the attitude shown which resulted in the following medal haul:-

17 medals won
Thomas 2 bronze three silver
Elliot 4 silver 2 gold
Maggie 2 silver
Sammy 4 bronze

Several club records were also achieved at this Meet as follows :-

Kara – new records set for 100 breast and 200 IM and she also took the record for 100 free
Darcey – new record for 200 IM
Elliot took his own 200 IM
Alice – new record for 100 Fly
Thomas took his own 100 Fly
Sammy – new record for 100 back
Rachel – new records for 100 fly and 100 back
Ellie – new record for 100 free and took her own 50 back record

As you will know due to technical issues with the start system the morning session times were all manual and whilst we do not normally accept manual times for club records due to all swimmers in the same position we are relaxing the criteria but only as a one off.

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Aquanauts Meet 08/09/2018

Dunedin Swim Meet 25th and 26th August 2018

We entered the swimmers into this Meet to act  as a benchmark for us as to where our training was so early in the season after the holiday break.

To all the swimmers who took part over the weekend please do not be disheartened if your times were in fact not near your personal bests as this was to be expected. There were however, despite being very early in the training cycle several great swims not least of which was Alice Henderson taking the 9 year old 100 IM record.

I would also like to point out that the majority of swimmers on the 50 metre swims held their times very well and the longer distance swims were always going to be difficult to master at this early stage.

It was a very long weekend for those who took part both days but I was still very impressed with the effort shown and as usual the spirit we have in the club is fantastic.

With the training lanes now amended for the next four weeks there will be heavier training sets but don’t worry it’s nothing that you cant handle.

Swimming is not an exact science and there will be periods in your swimming where it becomes increasingly more difficult to smash your personal bests. It is a case of hanging tough and you will break through the barriers that you thought were not possible. It does however take hard training and as always listening to what you are taught.

I have no hesitation in saying that if you put the effort in to your training then you will be rewarded with personal bests as you only get out of swimming what you put in.

Overall this was a gala which all of you should look to as a learning experience but very very much in a positive rather than negative way. This early benchmark will be vastly improved upon with hard work using the skill sets you have and coupled with the heavier training sets given to you.

It is also worth remembering that to swim well and fast you need to be relaxed because if you try too hard the inevitable happens and you slip water. This leads to tension in your stroke and in many cases your stroke technique flies out the window. It’s amazing the difference when you concentrate and also when you cut out any silly errors which are frustrating for both you in the water and for your coaches. I used to have a full head of hair by the way lol

Goes without saying very proud of all the swimmers who swam over this weekend.

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Dunedin Swim Meet 25th and 26th August 2018

Lothian Leagues Round 3 02/06/2018

Another very busy day of swims and many personal bests which is always great to see.
Rather than highlight individual swimmers I have listed all the counting swims as follows:-

200 free –  Sam   3:31.63
200 free – Vilara   3:37.14
50 back – Ellie    49.89
100 IM – Kara    1:39.39
100 IM – Maggi    1:41.67
50 breast – Emma   1:21.95
50 back – Kara    47.61
50 back – Elise   54.23
50 free – Darcey   52.44
50 free – Ellie  42.54
50 fly – Rachel   46.72
50 breast – Maggi   49.46
50 breast – Elise  1:00.79
50 breast – Sam  1:02.61
50 fly –  Kirsty   1:00.45
50 fly -Darcey   1:00.80
50 free – (relay lead) Kara 38.67
200 free – Elliot   2:45.05
200 free – Thomas   2:49.55
200 IM – Jasper   3:41.94
100 back – Elliot  1:24.06
100 fly – Thomas  1:34.41

Of the above swims Ellie Watt broke her own club record for 50 free and three other club records were set Thomas for his 200 free and 100 fly and Jasper broke his own 200 IM. A special mention to Emma for sticking at her breaststroke. She is still working on her stroke and competed for the first time on this today. She also went like a rocket in the free relay.

Congratulations to all the swimmers for the hard work in training which is paying off however this is a lot still to be done so keep it up.

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Lothian Leagues Round 3 02/06/2018

Prestonpans Leagues Round 2

Another tremendous effort by all the swimmers showing that the hard graft in training is making a major difference to the level of performances.
A huge congratulations goes to Kirsty, Ellie, Alice, and Vilara for the effort and times posted for their swims. Vilara was competing in her first 200free and gave it everything. All four posted personal bests in their swims. I would also like to congratulate Elise who is improving all the time and her split time in the relay was excellent so well done.

Despite carrying a slight injury Abby competed really well as did Annabella, Rachel, Thomas, Maggie, Aimee and Kara. Elliot was clearly not feeling 100 per cent but credit to him for not missing any of his swims which says a lot for his determination.

The day produced some outstanding performances not least of which was Kara’s 200 Free. The meet produced no fewer than seven club records as follows

Elliot Furniss 200 IM 3.09.11
Ellie. Watt 50 back. 49.07
Ellie. Watt 50 Free. 43.10
Aimee Henderson 200 Free. 2.51.48
Thomas Henderson. 200IM. 3.11.96
Kara Armstrong. 200 Free. 3.20.05
Abby Rutherford. 200 I’m. 3.06.71

All times will be shown on swim scotland website in due course. In addition for archive purposes the club records broken at a previous meet have now been added to the Hogwarts report (am getting writers cramp with all these new records lol).
As usual if I have missed anyone out please accept my apologies in advance. Keep up the hard training and I have to say that the enthusiasm shown as a swim team is second to none so a big thanks from me and Susan.

I would also like to thank Thomas for helping me out poolside and also to confirm with Alice that despite over twenty games of Rock Paper Scissors I am still the reigning world champ lol.

Next on the agenda amongst other training sessions is our starts and more importantly our turns on all strokes which I feel can be improved upon.

Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Prestonpans Leagues Round 2

Fifty sprints at (Hogwarts) Prestonpans

I never sleep well before a gala and this was no exception having arrived in Hogwarts car park narrowly missing the crimson  Ford Angelia stuck up the tree in the corner of the cricket ground

Being a bit tired I picked up my bags and headed at a great rate of knots to the entrance to platform 9 3/4 only to bounce off the automatic doors. This was going to be a day to remember especially for the parents of the swimmers as the dementors had already encircled the balcony and cast a spell on the level of heat which was nearly unbearable. The paintings on the walls for the revolving staircase up to the balcony depicted people in swim suits and fanning themselves with one picture showing a fireman and water spouting out of the frame to cool people as they passed.

After the owls had delivered the programme for the day the sorting hat (start list) was issued and the quest for as many horcruxes (medals) began.

There were far too may excellent swims and personal bests to mention all the times mainly for fear of me missing a pupils pb out from  all of the four houses (Slythern, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff)

Alice, Ellie. Emma, Darcy Rachel and Kirsty all managed to hide underneath the invisible cloak and rocket up and down the pool without being seen by the opposition. Incidentally there is no truth in the rumour that our swimmers had eaten Gillyweed and grown gills before the gala started.

Horcruxes were in abundance and the winning theme continued all day with the pupils testing out the new firebolt broomstick much to the annoyance of other Quidditch teams in the afternoon warm up.

Thomas, Elliot, Aimee, Sam, Kara, Abby and Annabella all chased the snitch in the afternoon Quidditch game although alarm bells rang when the gala was nearly cancelled as the team pet mascot scabbers the rat could not be found. Later recovered from a locker but not before it had chewed its way through a brand new swimsuit lol. Well one way of destroying the opposition.

All the horcrux winners were summoned to the ministry of magic for going so fast and being unfairly accused of casting a Patronas spell in the presence of a muggle.

Elliot Furniss, too young to drive nevertheless drove too  fast in the crimson Ford Angelia on one of his swims and has now amassed 12 points on his license and his dad is now paying a 120 pound fine.

I think I am right in saying that despite other teams having Lord Voldemort on their side four club records have been broken details of these will follow.

I am now going to seek some medical help for turning insane and also going to lie down in a darkened room to recover.

Keep training hard and bringing these times down as there is no doubt at all that we are a force to be reckoned with against the dark side.

Records broken are as follows

8 years 25 fly Ellie Watt. 26.69
9 years 25 fly Alice Henderson 21.72
8 years 50 back Ellie Watt. 50.40
8 years 50 free Ellie Watt. 45.34
10years 50 fly. Rachel Todd. 43.57
12 years 5O back Elliot Furniss 38.90

Colin Galbraith
Head Coach Scorpion Swim Team




Posted in Head Coach | Comments Off on Fifty sprints at (Hogwarts) Prestonpans