SWIM meets are "more than medals" and teach the value of "team camaraderie" of those who take part.

That's the view of the head coach of a West Fife club after they brought together more than 100 young competitors for an event in the run-up to Christmas.

InCAS (Inverkeithing Competitive Amateur Swimmers) welcomed swimmers aged between eight and 12 to the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Glenrothes, at the beginning of December for their 'Countdown to Christmas' gala.

Six clubs from across the Kingdom were represented by 115 swimmers and InCAS head coach Barry McMillan, who has been involved with local swimming clubs for more than 14 years, was thrilled that it resulted in plenty of smiles.

"Galas are more than medals; they teach us the value of team camaraderie and help us develop into the sportsmen and women we aspire to be," he said.

"It was great to see the youngsters make new friends, set new goals and support each other. We swim because we love the sport, and so my main focus of the day was that it was enjoyed by all.

"We had smiling faces and great feedback so, all-in-all, a great result!"

Competitors and coaches were issued with customised passes for the gala, which also saw podium presentations snapped on camera; a visit from Santa, ensuring all who took part went home with a gift; a prize draw giveaway for spectators; and race commentary and 'hot heat' prizes that generated some additional excitement.

A number of the visiting clubs offered their thanks and praise to InCAS for the event, which they said left them "overwhelmed".

Funds raised through sponsorship and donations, including from ExxonMobil, who became its main sponsor, ensured the gala's running, and an InCAS spokesperson noted: "We were able to make the day truly special thanks to both the unprecedented financial generosity received, and also the kindness of volunteers with their time.

"Like many, the pandemic seriously impacted our sport, and some of these youngsters have had little or no opportunity to showcase their talent. For this season, we felt it was very important that we celebrated the day in style."

Tom Antrum, community liaison for ExxonMobil, added: "Sport and fitness are a great way of supporting our health and wellbeing while developing discipline and teamwork, values very important to us at Fife Ethylene Plant, so when InCAS approached us for support, we were happy to step up.

"We are proud to sponsor the club and wish all the competitors the best of luck in the future."