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Joy of swim star Erraid’s parents

The proud parents of teenage swimming sensation Erraid Davies have described their daughter as “just amazing”.

David Davies, 69, and wife Joyce, 64, watched their daughter blaze to Commonwealth bronze in front of a screaming home crowd at Glasgow 2014.

The 13-year-old captured the nation’s heart by coming in third in the para-sport 100 metres breaststroke.

Earlier, she finished second in the morning heat which featured the same seven competitors as the final.

“It’s been an amazing day. She’s just amazing,” her father told the Press Association.

“Unfortunately we weren’t in the best position to see her in the race in the morning so we could only see her on the video screen, but I just couldn’t believe how fast she was going. I’ve never seen her swim as fast as that.

“This evening we were in a much better position at the finish line, and it was just absolutely amazing to hear the noise.

“When she was coming out the noise was just tremendous and it just built up, and I don’t think it could have been any more amazing if she won the gold.

“It was just so amazing with everyone being behind her, and I believe the whole Twitter-sphere is going wild.

“She got into swimming because she developed a hip condition called Perthes’ disease when she was three, and was told she was not to do any weight bearing exercises and that the best thing for her was to swim.

“We had just moved to Shetland and she couldn’t swim, but she was soon taught and she has virtually never been out of the pool since.

“She trains in a 16 and 2/3 metre pool with three lanes nine times a week and once a week in a 25 metre pool.

“I’ve not seen Erraid for about four weeks. She went to the Team Scotland camp at the beginning of July, and spent 10 days in Stirling using a 50m pool and then up to the Scottish swimming holding camp in Aberdeen so I suppose she got a feel for a 50m pool there but it’s still a totally different atmosphere.

“Even that could not have prepared her for what she faced tonight, but she just took it in her stride.

“She’s just got a great big grin on her face all the time now. She’s very pleased with herself and very happy, as she should be.

“We’ve got to have discussions now about her future. She’s got a couple of galas planned. She going straight to the youth games in Sheffield, and then she’s going to the UK school games in Manchester in September.

“After that we don’t know. Obviously there’s the IPC world championships next year, again in Glasgow, which I’m pretty sure she’s got a qualifying chance for now.

“After that it’s the Rio Olympics, but we don’t know.”

Erraid said she kept the fact she was spending her summer holidays at the Commonwealth Games a secret from her school friends.

She set a new personal best for the second time in a day as she fought her way into a medal position in the Tollcross pool.

Roared on by the crowd, she finished strongly just behind Australian silver medallist Madeleine Scott in one minute and 21.38 seconds, with New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe taking gold.

Erraid later took a standing ovation in her stride following the medal ceremony but she had earlier shunned the limelight among her friends.

“They didn’t know before I came here, I didn’t really know how to tell them,” she said.

“I am really happy to have another PB. I got a medal and I am so happy. I am feeling really, really happy.”

When asked what she felt she could achieve in her sport, she said: “I don’t know. I am just going to keep on swimming and see where it gets me.”

Liz Southern, a meetings planner and former president of the Delting Dolphins Swimming Club in Brae, for which Erraid competes, said there was a great sense of thrill among its members.

“We’re delighted,” she said. “I watched it on the telly and I’m really happy for her and the family.

“We’re quite a small club and we all live miles apart, so there’s been emails and texts going around celebrating.

“Erraid goes to school 30 miles away from where she goes swimming. We have very dedicated swimmers.

“We’re all overjoyed here.

“We went to the Scottish Open together with Erraid in June. There’s a great bond up here and we’re so excited.”

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond sent his best wishes to the country’s new star, writing on Twitter: “Congrats to Scotland’s youngest-ever Commonwealth Games competitor Erraid Davies winning a brilliant Bronze.”

And Erraid’s coach at Delting Dolphins, Lorraine Gifford, was ecstatic to watch the race she feels will launch a push for a place at the Olympics in two years’ time.

Ms Gifford said: “I was screaming at the telly. I’m known for being pretty loud but I’m sure she could hear me.

“I started coaching Erraid when she was eight. I did some lessons with her before.

“She still does a lot of able-bodied meetings for us. It’s just recently she’s been classified for the para-sports.

“We’re all so proud of her.”

Ms Gifford stayed at home while her star pupil headed south to Glasgow.

“I thought there were enough coaches here, and I’m going to spend a week with her at the upcoming nationals.”

Ms Gifford is certain that Erraid will take the attention in her stride.

“I think she’ll cope with everything,” she added. “It’s great that she’s done this. I hope she’s enjoying herself.

“I think she can go to Rio for the Olympics. This has been the shot to launch her international career.”

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