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Western Isles swimmer aims for Olympic success

Kara Hanlon is aiming for Olympic success as she tries out to become a member of team GB ahead of the Tokyo games.
Kara Hanlon is aiming for Olympic success as she tries out to become a member of team GB ahead of the Tokyo games.

A Western Isles swimmer is hoping to make history by becoming the first athlete on the island to achieveOlympic success.

Kara Hanlon has taken up a pandemic-busting training schedule in the hope of securing a place on the British Swimming Team for the summer games in Tokyo.

The young Stornoway swimmer will be at the British Swimming Selection Trials in London next month where she will compete for a place at the Olympic games.

She is currently ranked number one in Scotland for the short course (25m pool) and long course (50m pool).

Miss Hanlon said she was proud to represent her fellow islanders.

She 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 five 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”.

The medal winning swimmer previously secured the title of Scottish National Champion in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke in both sizes of pools.

The female swimmer also set unofficial record at the University of Edinburgh Time Trial held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in February for the backstroke.

She beat the official Scottish record for the 100m backstroke set by Kirsty Balfour in 2007 which was 1.07.67, with a time of 1.07.58.

Islanders have now rallied their support behind the young athlete as she aims to make her Olympic debut.

Council convenor Councillor Norman A Macdonald, spoke of their pride.

He said: “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.”

“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.

“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.”

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