LOCAL children now have the chance to test their free-style swim speed against an Olympic athlete… without getting wet.

Following the buzz of Scotland’s pool hero Duncan Scott giving kids a one-of-a-kind swimming lesson in Hawick earlier this month, youngsters are now being asked to go head-to-head with the athlete in a virtual pool.

Teviotdale Leisure Centre is hosting an interactive swimming race game, Challenge Duncan, for the next couple of weeks and is encouraging people to come along and test their speed.

Challenge Duncan is a unique interactive experience that allows participants to try and swim as fast as Duncan.

Aiming to match the speed that propelled the 22-year-old to the British record of 47.9 seconds for the 100m freestyle.

Duncan recently broke his own record at the British Championships in Glasgow, setting a new best time of 47.87 seconds.

And now he’s challenging the Borders to do the same.

Duncan said: “It’s hard for people to really appreciate the speed of elite swimmers, so Challenge Duncan is a great way to show just how fast you have to move to win a gold medal.

“I met some pretty impressive swimmers from across the Borders in Hawick earlier this month and I’d be keen to see which of them might be able to beat me.

“Of course, the game is played out of the water, but it can really help you channel the lane-focused mentality you need to win a race.”

Players of Challenge Duncan must mimic swimming strokes with their arms to match the stroke rate of Duncan’s record time as seen on a giant TV screen.

Sensors pick up their arm speed and show how many metres they have travelled in the same time as Duncan completed his 100m race.

The players with the fastest times will have their names and speeds displayed on a leader board.

Amanda Blacklock, Aquatics Officer at Live Borders, said: “I’d encourage as many people as possible to take the chance to play Challenge Duncan over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s great fun and, who knows, it might just help us discover the next Duncan Scott here in the Borders.”

Created to mark Scottish Water’s partnership with Scottish Swimming, the experience promotes the nationwide Learn to Swim programme, which aims to help 100,000 children to become confident swimmers.

Over 3,000 Borders kids are already participating in the Learn to Swim programme.

And 653 of them are under five years old.

Duncan won six medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia last year, the most achieved ever by a Scottish athlete at a single Games.

Winning two silver medals at his first Olympic Games in Rio and becoming National Lottery Athlete of the Year means Duncan is an inspiring ambassador of the Learn to Swim programme.

Brian Lironi, Scottish Water’s Director of Corporate Affairs, added: “Duncan is an inspirational role model and, as a Learn to Swim ambassador, he’s helping to teach kids across Scotland that swimming is an important safety skill.

“Safety both in and around the water is a key reason we’re proud to be involved in this partnership with Scottish Swimming.

"The programme is all about using the great water we have in Scotland to promote good health.

“That’s why we’re also encouraging young swimmers to stay hydrated in their classes too - and top up from the tap to keep energy levels up as they learn new skills.”

Ally Whike, Performance Director of Scottish Swimming, said: “The commitment of Live Borders in delivering the Learn to Swim framework is helping to ensure that everyone can swim.

“Working together with Scottish Water, we’re aiming to have 100,000 children across Scotland on the Learn to Swim programme by 2020.”