Its only the 2nd of October and already the competitive season is in full flow.
Last weekend the club got off to a winning start in the Provincial Towns League (PTL) in a home fixture against Ballymena Swimming Club. Then this weekend the 1st of Swim Ulster’s Development galas took place.
The range of swimmer taking part in these meets went from some competing in their first ever meet to Irish and Ulster Champions.
More important than the great club win and the list of personal bests achieved (and medals won) is the manor of the swims. I have been head coach for a little over 3 years and saw more skills to be proud of, and from more swimmers, than at any other meet so far.
The willingness of the vast majority of our young athletes to sacrifice the ‘splash and dash’ in favour of higher skills and a long term gain was incredibly pleasing. It is always great to see the efforts of our coaching team start to pay off.
it is still very early days in a very big season for our club but it is a fantastic start.
Every two years the sporting world get together to celebrate the summer universiade.
This summer the 29th univarsiade is being help in Taipei with athletes from all over the world travelling to compete for their country.
Larne Swimming Club ambassador Conor Brines (a student in Queens University Belfast) has beenot selected for the Irish team.
The team travelled to Taipei on Monday 14th August for a week aclimitisation before competition started on Sunday the 20th.
Conor is contesting the 50 and 100 FLY.
The 50 FLY up first on the Sunday and what an introduction to international competition!! Conor, entered in 17th place, qualified for the semi final but only after tying for 16th place and having a swim off!
A consistent few swims on day one saw him finish 12th and just miss out on a final swim.
Club ambassador Danielle Hill made the trip to Kranj in Slovenia to compete for Ireland in the Slovenian National Championships.
A new experience for coach and swimmer with temperatures at 34° when we arrived and set to soar over the next 4 days. The program for Danielle over the 4 days was at least a familiar one with the 50 and 100 double in both Backstroke and Freestyle.
To say that the environment was a new experience would be an understatement, no swim down pool, no ledges, temp at 40° on evening of 1st final.
However the meet was exceptionally well run and the competition pool itself was absolutely perfect.
Over the 4 events Danielle won 3 Slovenian open titles and picked up a bronze. The highlight undoubtedly being the Irish senior Record in the 50 free in the last event of the week.
Quite possibly the longest title for a Gala in the entire history of swimming 😕
A small team travelled from Larne to this 5 day competition in Dublin with only 7 athletes making the trip.
Danielle Hill, 2 weeks out from her focus meet, is using this as an opportunity for some long course work and racing tough off no rest. The 200Free in session 1 was 1st, making the final but electing to put in a 4k training set rather than race the final. There are much bigger fish to fry this month so watch this space.
The new format for this year say Mairead, Adam and Ben come down for 2nd session. All 3 racing 100BRS. Both Mairead and Adam putting in solid swims but it was Ben’s day with a huge PB in the heats to qualify for the final and taking a further full second off to claim the clubs 1st medal of the meet.
Danielle once again got the session off to a good start with the 50free (an event she holds the Irish senior Record for). An easy qualification for the final followed and then a very impressive 26.2 unrested was enough to once again claim the Irish title.
Adam and Ryan both swam the 100 fly with Adam producing a personal best performance before completing a tough double with the 200 BRS. While Ryan produced his fastest morning swim just missing a PB time.
Cal had his 1st experience of the Irish Age Groups with his 1500 free and did himself proud with a swim right on his PB time.
Arguably the 2 best swims of the day came from Ben again. The heats of the 200BrS saw a huge 8 second best time to qualify fastest for the 14/15 final. Not content with that the final saw him take another 4 seconds off to claim his 2nd Gold of the meet. The time of 2:29 was also comfortably inside the new Swim Ireland National squad time for his age.
The club now has, potentially, 3 swimmers on the national program for the 1st time in a few years.
Danielle was again 1st in the pool, the 50BC this time. The heat was saw her qualify in fastest position. The final in the evening and Danielle once again showed that she is the class act in Ireland in this event finishing in 29.0.
Adam, Ryan and Ben all contested the 200 IM with Ben progressing through to the final with another Personal Best performance. The final saw him improve once again finishing in 5th place.
Adam, recovering from tonsillitis, again had a tough double with the 100 Free to finish off his meet.
A tough day for everyone with Danielle completing a double, the 100 BC & FS, Ryan in the 200 FLY and Mairead travelling down for the 100BC.
Danielle finished a very close 2nd in the 100FS finishing very fast and only just missing out on the Gold, a 1st place in the BC almost making up for that disappointment.
Ryan kept his best swim of the week for the 200FLY qualifying 8th for the final and producing a best time to finish 7th.
With the focus on the Slovenian open in August, Danielle only planned to swim the heats of the 200 FLY and head home to finish off race prep. A 2:19 in the morning qualified fastest for the final in her fastest even heat swim – a very encouraging end to a tough week of racing.
Conor Brines made his 1st appearance of the week in the 50FLY and didn’t disappoint with a Gold medal taking the clubs total to 8 for the week (not bad with a team of only 7 athletes)
On Saturday and small group of the clubs youngest swimmers took to the water on the start of their competitive swimming journey.
It was great to see 2 people racing for the 1st time👍
The purpose behind the development meets is to provide a shorter more accessible level as an introduction to competitive swimming. Skills are emphasised over time and sessions last about 2 hours.
The kicking races are an interesting addition to the program at this level and it’s good to see the need for a strong leg kick being emphasised (even if it doesn’t make for a great spectator experience) . And the ability to streamline is rewarded more than times in the medley events.
This is the first year Swim Ulster has tried to do this sort of format and there are a few teething issues but the principal matches our own club Development strategy of process driven coaching.
Anyway well done everyone who took part (i will get a full results list out soon) I was delighted with the progress being made and the skills on display.
The traditional Irish Long Course swimming season/ opener is always the Dave McCullagh Memorial Gala. This event recently elocated to Bangor Aurora from Limerick making it vertually a home meet for Larne SC
A team of 15 athletes, some competing at this level for the 1st time arrived in bangor after 25 weeks of work.
Finn Purdy got the event underway in the 50Bc swimming a PB time and Qualifying for the B final, about 5 minutes later he was back in action again in the 100FS where he swam a solid heat swim. Joining him in the FS was Ryan Lewis who got his meet off to a great start with a huge personal best and followed it up with another in the 200FLY just missing out on a second swim in the later.
Danielle Hill got her long cours sason off to a great start quailifying for both the 50 BC and 10FS finals within 5 minutes of each other.
The mens 100BRS was th last involvement for Larne swimmers on day 1 and Ben Woodside didnt disappoint. The 13 year old competing at this level for the 1st time raced to a lifetime best time and narrowly missed out on a second swim.
The 1st finals session set the bar for the rest of the week with Finn finishing off a great 1st day for him with a solid 50 BC, the Danielle took centre stage – 1st came the 50 BC and a new IRISH SENIOR RECORD now not only the only irish girl to break the 30 second mark but also the 1st to go under 29 posting time inside the commonwealth selection time (the only person to do so this season) the 100 FS (8minutes later) and she produced an stunning performance from the outside lane to claim a silver medal and a new Personal Best.
Saturday got underway with Conor Brines looking to cement his world university games time from last summer. we didnt have to wait long as he posted the qualification time in the heats – job done. Ryan also swam the 50 fly and while he was a little disappointed with the time his skills have greatly improved and, as he showed the rest of the meet, 1 swim doesnt define your meet.
Danielle was back in the pool in the 200FS easily qualifying for the evening session, but with other focuses for the meet we decided not to contest the final. She also raced the 1oo BC and again showed her class in this event by smoothly progressing to the final, Sinead also swam the 100 BC and posted a new PB time qualifying for the evening session.
Lorcan Gourley, not to be outdone by his sister raced to a huge lifetime best in the same event and got his reward with a place in the Bfinal (his 1st at this level)
The breaststrokers were up next in the 200. Erin Barr broke her duck and PB’d in the heats getting a chance to go again in the B final. There where PBs for Zoe, Giulia, David, Ben and Adam as well with Ben again narrowly missing a second swim.
Last but by no means least, Amy Barr completed her 800 FS just outside her best time
The 2nd day of finals had a lot to live up 2 but it didnt disappoint. Conor Brines lowered his Lifetime/best with a dominant performance in the 50FLY. Danielle Took silver in the 100BC in the 2nd fastest time she has ever swam. Lorcan and sinead also backed up their morning swims with really solid evening efforts. and the 4 x 100 FTR brought home and Ulster Silver medal to round off the day.
Finn was back in the pool on Sunday or the 50FS and again produced his best knocking several 10ths of his previous best. Danielle, again progressed to the evening session in this event, a feat she matched in the 200BC.
The 50 BRS and Erin showed her continued progress witha great swim while Chloe looked quite surprised to have qualified for the B final.
Ryan and Conor contested the 100FLY with Conor posting the fastest morning swim, Ryan had his 200IM 3minutes later (a very tough Combo) but posted 2 lifetime bests and 2 reserve slots. there is a lot more to come here i think.
Amy Barr (made us wait for ages for her 400FS, but it was worth it when she not only PB’d but also qualified for the evening session.
Last Session and as is often the case the best was left to last. Danielle produced 1 of the swims of the meet to break a 15 year old Irish Senior Record and become the fastest Irish female ever both long and short. Conor swamto argueably the other swim of the champs (though i am biased) with his 1st Irish Senior Record in the Long curse format smashing the 100Fly time.
Sinead, Chloe and Amy all produced great swims to round off their meet in style.
the very last swim of the championships saw the Girls MTR of Danielle, Erin, Sinead and Chloe claim a very impressive bronze medal.
A team of 48 swimmers aged 8 to 17 made the short trip to East Belfast to compete in this duel style meet against Templemore SC.
With this meet coming just 6 days before the 1st Swim Ireland selection meet of the season we fielded a rotated team, giving an opportunity to swimmers to swim events theybwud notmally not compete in.
2 of our youngest age group had never competed at all before and were thrown in at the deep end (or…..1 of the 2 shallow ends in Avoniel Leisure Centre)
No diving for the A group and shallow dives for everyone else robbed us of the racing skills we have been working on but there were still some scope to show off a much improved underwater and turns level of performance.
The team spirit show by everyone was a highlight of the night and is becomig a hallmark of Larne PTL nights with the oldest swimmers staying on deck to cheer the smallest swimmers.
A fantastic night of racing and great fun Templemore 551