Madison all set to make a big splash

Councillor Gary O'Rorke congratulates Madison Gallagher on her place at Bellahouston.
Councillor Gary O'Rorke congratulates Madison Gallagher on her place at Bellahouston.

Netherton swimming prodigy Madison Gallagher has been awarded a place at the prestigious Bellahouston Academy of Sport.

Last year North Lanarkshire Council accepted that instead of Madison (13) doing subjects such as French and Spanish, due to her dyslexia, she could attend swimming training.

Madison first took to the pool with Blantyre at the age of nine before moving onto Motherwell and Wishaw and this year joined Glasgow City.

Her mum Michelle said: “Due to Madison struggling with the languages I suggested the council let her spend the time doing something she was good at.

“When I said swimming I think they might have laughed, but additional support manager Dawn Cunningham gave the go ahead, and although we had to fund it ourselves were able to give Madison an extra six hours coaching a week.

“Our Lady’s High were also very supportive and I want to thank them for that as the additional time in the pool really let Madison show off her talent to the point where we are now.”

Madison, who excels at the backstroke, officially became a Bellahouston pupil last week and the school have confirmed she could be eligible for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Michelle said: “Ever since she started swimming it has always been Madison’s dream to go to the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, and with every step that dream gets closer to reality.

“It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter if you are academically gifted or not there is something we are all good at and can help us thrive.

“Madison gets up at 4am every morning for training and usually doesn’t get home until 9pm, but if she is able to compete in Rio or the Gold Coast all the sacrifices will be worth it.”

Previous graduates from the Bellahouston Academy of Sport include Commonwealth Games swimmers Hannah Miley and Michael Jamieson.

Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig councillor Gary O’Rorke said: “I’m delighted to congratulate Madison on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council, and it just shows that hard work and commitment always pays off.

“Although it’s too soon for this year’s Commonwealth Games, be sure to keep an eye open for her name in the future.”