Local Swimming Star Making a Splash!

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar would like to wish local swimmer Kara Hanlon all the best in her upcoming Olympic Trials. Kara will attend The British Swimming Selection Trials in London on 14th – 18th April where she will compete for a place at The Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. She is believed to be the first person from the Western Isles to compete at that level.

Cllr Norman A Macdonald, Comhairle Convenor, said: “This is a magnificent achievement for Kara. As a 12 year old, Kara trained in the Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais 25m pool and Lionel 12.5m pool and from a young age it was clear that she had exceptional talent. When she was only 14 years old Kara attended her first NatWest Island Games in Isle of Wright in 2011 and since then has gone on to shine at a further four island games.

“At the most recent NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar 2019, she won another 4 Gold Medals and a Silver Medal. In winning the 3 Breaststroke Distances she also broke the 3 NatWest Island Games Records for these races. This incredible performance took her total medal haul to 12 with 8 golds and 4 silvers.”

Kara is currently ranked No.1 in Scotland in short course [25m pool] and long course [50m pool] and is Scottish National Champion in 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke in both sizes of pools. This year she has continued to push on and even achieved an unofficial record in February.

Kara achieved this unofficial record at the University of Edinburgh Time Trial held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool on 6th February 2021, the trial followed competition standards by using starting blocks and timing pads, but the time is not accredited as it was not an accredited meet. Kara’s time in the 100 Breaststroke was 1.07.58, beating the official Scottish record set by Kirsty Balfour in 2007 which was 1.07.67.

Commenting on the exciting challenge and opportunity ahead of her, Kara said: “It’s not often you get a chance to swim at an Olympic qualifying event in London, so I feel very privileged and excited about the opportunity.  After having 5 months out of the pool during the first lockdown, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to continue training consistently since August. So, hopefully this good block of training will show in my results.

“I am always proud to represent the island and am very thankful for everyone’s support”.

Cllr Macdonald, continued: “Now one of the Western Isles’ most talented athletes is hoping to take the next step and qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this Summer. To be selected, Kara must finish in the top two in the final of each race she competes in but must also swim inside the qualifying time.

“It goes without saying that we are very proud of her and we are all rooting for her to accomplish the dream of going to the Olympics.”