Belfast Telegraph

Rebecca Reid has a bright future in the swimming pool

By David Kelly

Ards Swimming Club has had more than its fair share of top talent over the past 30 years and young Rebecca Reid could well end up one of the very best.

While tipping any 12-year-old for sporting success in the future can be a precarious business, Rebecca does seem to have attributes to fulfil her undoubted potential.

The bubbly Regent House student returned home from the Canadian Age Group championships in the summer with two golds and two silvers and now starts the heavy training period at the start of another season, which she and Ards head coach Nelson Lindsay believe can end with her taking to the European Youth Olympics and Commonwealth junior championships stage next year.

Lindsay, who along with Davy Johnston oversees the Performance squad training at the north Down club, is cautious about predicting how far Rebecca can go, but you sense an excitement simmering underneath the surface.

"Rebecca is a very good young prospect. She has just had a great year and she has a lot of potential, but also has a long way to go," said Lindsay, who has worked with the likes of Andrew Bree, Melanie Nocher and currently Paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth.

"What I really like is the way that she works in training and she has a sunshine personality, always smiling. You can have many with talent but not everyone has the work ethic and she has it.

"Her sister Emma went to the European junior championships and has another year at those next summer when I would hope she will be challenging for semi-finals and even a final."

At the moment Lindsay rightly views his young protege as "an all-rounder" as she returned from Calgary with gold in the 200m butterfly and 200m freestyle while her two silvers came in the 400m and 200m individual medley.

"I like the fact that she is strong in various strokes and over different distances. I don't think it's good to specialise too early."

Mum Norma, who makes sure she is organised for her seven pool sessions a week as well as two hours strength and conditioning, believes both her girls are helping each other to reach their potential.

"Emma and Rebecca are very close, they really help and encourage each other," said Norma.

"Sometimes when things don't go quite right, they are the first to help each other. I think it's a big help for both of them to have each other.

"Rebecca was always itching to start swimming as she watched Emma doing her squads so we actually had Rebecca learning from she was three.

"She has a great passion for the sport and her long term goal is to be at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. It's a long way off, but that's her dream."

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