Ten swimmers from the South Ayrshire Swim Team Para Squad are set to take on 189 competitors at the Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr this weekend as South Ayrshire Council gears up to host the West of Scotland Regional Disability Swimming Championships for the very first time.
The event – on Sunday 12 February – marks the first time the event has been staged outside Glasgow City.
Almost 200 swimmers from across the west of Scotland will take to the water with the aim of bringing home gold and winning a place in the Scotland West teams for the Scottish Disability Sport National Championships for Physically & Sensory Impaired and Scottish Disability Sport National Championships for Learning Disabled. These events are due to take place in April and May.
The 'home' competitors from the Para Squad range from 15 to 35 years and include athletes with both physical and learning disabilities.
Cerys McCrindle, Frances Smillie, Ellie McCreadie, Kayleigh Haggo, Fiona Dawson, Calum Munro, Darren Morrison, Jack Dickson, Ryan Allen and Cameron Thomson make up the talented team that will compete for South Ayrshire.
Gary Craig, Coach of the Para Squad, said: "It's a real coup for South Ayrshire to host the event, especially as it's always been held at the likes of Tollcross or Scotstoun in Glasgow. The team are raring to go and are sure to have the loudest cheering squad in the Citadel! This will be their first experience of participating in a major event like this in front of a home crowd and I know they won't fail to impress. They have great team spirit, real drive and passion for their sport and will be great ambassadors for South Ayrshire. We can't wait!"
Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: "We're very proud of the level of disabled sports and activities available across South Ayrshire and the quality of the facilities we offer to provide an inclusive sports and leisure experience. It's great to see that recognised by the hosting of such an important event in South Ayrshire.
"We've been actively working to broaden the range of disabled sports available and to increase the numbers of people participating and I hope playing host to prestigious championships like these will help raise awareness of what's available.
"I wish the very best of luck to everyone taking part, but will obviously be watching our home team closely!"