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.
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)
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
The 1st weekend in December has become the traditional weekend for the Irish National Short Course Championships.
Held in Lisburn each year this is the 1st opportunity for National level swimmers to sound out where they are in ralation to their end of season form.
With no qualification places up for grabs for either National age groups or International teams, the importance of this meet in the national calendar has deminished over the last few years making it a ‘swim through’ meet for the vast majority.
With their focus firmly elsewhere, a small team of only 12 athletes from Larne competed this weekend (21 had qualified)
Ryan Lewis opened up the proceedings with a PB in the 50 Free, a feat he matched half an hour later in the 100Fly. 2 PBs from 2 swims on day 1 cant ask for much more than that.
Chloe McKay and Amy McCullough both opened their accounts with PB swims in the 100 Free while Erin and Amy Barr got off 2 a solid start in the 100BRS.
Danielle, having complefed 45k in the pool this week and been in the gym last night, is truly unrested, but managed to make the final of the 50BC and the B Final of the 100 free.
Amy Barr rounded off the Morning session with another PB, in the 800 Free this time.
The Finals session on Day 1 and Danielle did what wmshe does best and raced incredibly well breakng her own Ulster Senior Record becoming the 1st female to go under 29 seconds.
She also swam a lifetime best on 56.99 in the 100 winning the B final comfortably.
The 2nd day of racing got underway with the womens 50FS and Danielle picked up where she left off the night before with the fastest time of the heats. Chloe McKay swam a lifetime best of 28.4 while Amy Barr repeated her best time again.
Ryan continues to progress in the fly with a 6 sec PB in the 200 just missing out on a final swim.
Sinead got her Irish Short Course up and running in the 100FLY qualifying for the finals session in the process.
Lorcan smashed his 50BC PB bypassing 29 seconds completely going from 30.e to a 28.8 and again just missed out on a final place.
Danielle completed her mornings efforts with a fastest qualifyer spot into the 200BC lowering her lifetime best in the process.
The morning session was brought to a close by Amy and Erin Barr and Amy McCullough who all produced best times in the 400FS.
Finals sessions and Danielle swims 50 FS and 200BC within 10 minutes of each other claiming a Silver and a Gold respectively, on both occasions matchingbher best times coming into the meet.
Sinead brought day 2 to a close with a PB in the final of the 100FLY
Last day of Irish Short Course gets underway with the 200FS. Amy McCullough and Amy Barr both produced small PBs and Danielle continued to show how competitive she is across a range of events even when racing (very) tired by qualifying for both the 200Free and the 100BC (posting the fastest hrat time in the later)
Amy and Erin Barr completed their Irish Short Course weekend with solid swims in the 200BrS whil Jan Manillili produced a 4 second best in his 1st ever meet at this level.
The last session in a tough week gets underway with Danielle deciding to compete in both the 200FS and 100BC.
If your gonna finish you may as well finish strong and that is exactly what Danielle did this weekend. 2 silver medals in the final session first a 6 second PB in the 200Free missing out on the Gold by less the 2 tenths of a second in a fantastic race with Lisburns Rachel Bethel then 8 minutes later a 2nd silver coming in the 100BC.
A fantastic weekend of ‘racing tired’ from the whole team.
Next week we travel to the Scottish SC in Edinburgh
Tonight saw Larne Swimming Club kick off their P.T.L. season with a home meet against Coleraine S.C.
A team of 40 swimmers took to the water a we looked to get the season off to a winnin start against a team that had beaten us last season.
The format of the meet is simple.
10 & Under, 11/12, 13/14 and 15 &over
50s on each stroke & 100 IM
4 x 50 medley relay
4 x 50 Freestyle relay
With points score for 1st 2 swimmers home for each team.
A number of the under 10s were competing for the 1st time over 50m never mind in a PTL.
There was great noise and support from both teams as the points from the 1st round of events (the medley relays) were shared.
By the end of the backstroke the home team had opened up a gap continuing the cluns fine traditions in this discipline.
This gap was never to be closed over rest of the meet with the home side recording a win of 50 points.
The working being done on the skills side of things was evident as Larne swimmers were consistently the last to break the surface on starts and turns.
This is the start of what we hope will be a long and successful season.
Well done everyone, from both teams, on a great afternoons racing and good luck for the rest of the season