Keanna and Lexie bid for swimming glory in Ontario

Keanna MacInnes won the 200m butterfly event at the Scottish Short Course Championships.Picture:  Ian MacNicol
Keanna MacInnes won the 200m butterfly event at the Scottish Short Course Championships.Picture: Ian MacNicol
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Firrhill High’s Keanna MacInnes and Lexie Waller might be missing some of the end-of-term fun at school, but they are looking forward to an even more exciting Christmas treat as members of the Scottish squad flying tomorrow to Canada for the Ontario Junior International Meet.

The Edinburgh pair, coached by Phil Potter at Heart of Midlothian, have both been record breakers at past Brodies Scottish Schools Championships. But they have not always been schoolmates.

Lexie started her secondary career at Balerno High before moving to Firrhill a year ago.

“My family moved house and one of the reasons was to be nearer training,” explained the 15-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 200m backstroke at the weekend’s Scottish Short Course Championships in Edinburgh. “Another plus is that Firrhill has a great Athletes Support Programme. Everyone is really understanding. It is also good having Keanna in the same year. We both know what we are going through.

“The Ontario meet is going to be the biggest thing I’ve done so far and I’m so excited about going over there.”

Keanna, also 15, had a stand-out performance, winning the 200m butterfly at the Scottish Short Course Championships.

“I was so pleased,” she said. “It was a four-second PB. It’s the perfect send-off for Ontario. School has been very helpful. We get to take study periods instead of PE.”

There are seven Scots on the plane to Canada – England-based Cassie Wild and Isabel Jones – plus Katie Robertson (Kyle Academy), Nikki Miller (Mearns Castle High School) and Anna Fleming (High School of Glasgow).

Katie, whose older sister Erin is also a top-class age-grouper, is another who appreciates the assistance she receives at school.

“I train every night but get time off PE in school to study,” explained the south Ayrshire swimmer. “I’m really looking forward to this week’s trip.

“We are going as a Scottish team, but it is also part of the GB programme. I’m swimming in three breaststroke events plus the 200m individual medley.

“The 2018 Commonwealth Games might be just out of reach, but I’m aiming for the next one and an Olympics.

“It’s great having Erin. We push each other and I am lucky to be following someone who has done it before.”

On 27 January, the five home-based Scots will all be chasing more records at the Brodies Scottish Schools Championships at East Kilbride..