International Swimming Festival

by Astrid Schürmann / SV Neptun

After the first offcial talks in September 2004, in June 2006 the time had finally come: In addition to the many meetings in the areas of music, school and education, the offcial visits and the youth exchanges between the Hochsauerland and the West Lothian Council, the relationship has been extended to the area of sports.

And so 25 young swimmers from the different clubs in West Lothian, aged between 12 and 15 years, travelled with fve chaperons to the “International Swimming Festival” in Germany.

West Lothian swim team

West Lothian swim team

Every year on Whitsun weekend, the open air bath Neheim turns into an international competition site as the “Interna­tional Swimming Festival” of the SV Neheim­-Hüsten, which is one of the biggest ones of its kind in Germany, takes place there. When passing the open air bath Neheim on a Whitsun weekend, one may believe it’s a new camping site. Big and small tents are standing on each and every lawn within and around the bath area.

Since their first participation in 2006, the swimming team from West Lothian is a welcome guest in this event.

Parade of Nations

Parade of Nations

In 2010, 687 athletes from seven nations celebrated the Swimming Festival at an outstanding weather. Among  these, there were 37 participants from West Lothian.

And at the 40th International Swimming Festival in 2011,  all records have been broken. With 46 active participants (aged between 11 and 17 years), West Lothian provided the second largest swimming team after the SV Neptun in a feld of 45 teams with a total of 739 active participants.  The team set three new track records. In the medals over­view they received a total of 72 gold medals, 65 silver and 50 bronze medals.

successful participants

successful participants

“At home we only train in indoor swimming pools on 25­-meter tracks (the open air bath has 50­meter tracks), as there are only two open air baths in Scotland”, the team leaders Callum and Dannah reported. For the tournament, they had to get a release from school. “It is always an exhausting time, but we can also make many international friends”, Dannah underlines. Both team leaders noticed that their own team moved together through the journey and that the competition results are improving more and more. They also want to compete next year.

The relationships are to be deepened by a return invitation of the West Lothian Swimming Team. A visit of the SV Neptun in West Lothian is planned to take place in the year of the anniversary.