WITH all the talk of a new swimming pool being built in Galashiels, one must ask why there is a need for such a facility when the Borders already has Hawick’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre, a venue which displayed its first-class credentials to the full at the weekend.

And, according to the many competitors, coaches, officials and spectators, the TLC proved to be the perfect location for Hawick Swimming Club’s graded challenge gala on Sunday.

Watched by a crowd in the packed balcony, youngsters representing clubs from Hawick, Duns, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Peebles and Selkirk competed against each other in an event that generated great excitement as well as some excellent swimming.

The gala was indeed a massive success and talking of matters, Hawick Swimming Club committee member Ian Aitken told the Hawick News: “It’s took a lot of organising and a lot of hard work has been put in in many different ways to make the gala possible. But it’s all been worthwhile. And I think we have well and truly proved to the entire Borders and even further afield that we are more than capable of putting on such a big event as this in the leisure centre.

“There are six lanes here at TLC and a great balcony for spectators. It’s got everything you could ask for.

“We’ve had a lot of good feedback from the other Borders clubs that were competing. So we can take a lot of positives out of the day and we really couldn’t have asked for anything more from the afternoon.”

Sponsored by Graeme Hodgins Joinery, Bruce Motors, Robert Pringle Butchers, It’s Great Outdoors, Hawick Summer Festival and Scott and Paterson, the gala consisted of five competitions – a 50m backstroke, 100m individual medley, 50m backstroke, 50m front crawl and a 4x50m freestyle relay. Every race on the programme, and there was plenty of them, brought about keen competition as well as plenty cheering from the crowd.

Giving a spectator’s point of view, Hawick’s John Tait, who had family competing, said: “The day has been just phenomenal. All the kids competing did their best and this is what it’s all about.

“It’s been brilliant watching from the balcony, and the TLC is the only venue in the Borders you can get a view like this. The facilities here are second to none for an occasion like today.”

Wullie Bruce, a leisure centre supervisor, commented: “With its six lanes the TLC was designed for events like today’s. It’s been great to see as many people here and it just shows what the TLC is capable of hosting.”

The running of the gala went like clockwork, but even more pleasing was the high standard of swimming throughout. There were many talented youngsters in action and this was good to see.

It was Hawick Swimming Club who emerged victorious at the end of it all by notching an impressive 197 points. Eyemouth were runners-up on 125, with the other placings going to Galashiels 88, Duns 76, Selkirk 59 and Peebles 33.

Hawick Swimming Club captain Jack Wilson was well pleased with his team’s success. He said: “I’m really chuffed that we won, especially so as it was in our own pool. Everybody in the team did very well, but we couldn’t have done it without all the help we get from our coaches, and we have to say thanks to them.”

Presenting the medals to the swimmers was Commonwealth swimming star Jak Scott (inset) who began his swimming days at the TLC when he was three years old. Jack, who has now moved away from the town, told us: “I first learnt to swim here so it has been great to come back to the leisure centre to present the prizes.

“I have to say I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen today. The swimming was excellent and I enjoyed it a lot.”