The Regional Academy athletes then are the first rung on the ladder of those receiving support.
The Regional Academy programme supports individual curlers from the age of 14 and up, who already show excellence in curling. Begun by Nancy Murdoch, the programme is managed now by Rhona Martin, the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's Performance Development Coach. The funding of this programme is made possible by members of the Regional Academy paying an induction fee as well as the RCCC administering funds.
An innovation last year was the introduction of a training weekend where all the curlers get together. This year there was a packed schedule with lectures on nutrition, physio, anti-doping and, for the first time, sports psychology, delivered by the Scottish Institute of Sport's Misha Botting. There was basketball, a swimming gala, as well as all the on-ice activities. There were some forty curlers at Stirling yesterday.
Click on my photo above to see the group in a larger size.
Can you identify the following (in no set order): Derrick Sloan, Claire Dagen, Gina Aitken, Stuart Taylor, Rachel Hannen, Ruairidh Greenwood, Jennifer Dodds, Kyle Waddell, Karen Strang, Eilidh Templeton, Lauren Baxter, Mhairi Anderson, Ian Copland, Andrew Ballantyne, Rori MacPherson, Tasha Aitken, Kirsten McNay, Jennifer Paul, Jennifer Martin, Angus Dowell, Struan Wood, Billy Morton, Cameron Smith, Kimberley Smith, Hamilton McMillan, Scott Fraser, Helen King, Katy Richardson, Mhairi Baird, Duncan Menzies, Jay McWilliam, Craig Waddell, Robert Fawns, Judith McFarlane, Kyle Smith, Jennifer Marshall, Peter Stark, Fiona Steele.
Also in the pic are Irene Hird, Logan Gray, Albert Middler, Brad Askew, Rhona Martin and Royal Club President Bill Marshall.
I'll post more pics from yesterday later today!