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.
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.
Over the last 6 weekend Larne Swimming Club athletes have competed in 6 open meets, 1 schools meet, 1 club meet and 1 club time trial.
A lot of racing in anyone’s book
What better way to prepare for Christmas than with Ulster Championships?
A team of 21 swimmers competed for the club over the 3 days of racing in Bangor Aurora.
26 swims in the 1st session and 20 best times and 4 club records were set this morning
Anna Campbell 11-12 800 free
Chloe McKay 13-14 100 free
Giulia Allen 13-14 200 back (mairead O’Mahony was also under old time)
Lui Hurson 15 & Over 400 IM
The womens 100 free saw Danielle Hill continue to show how to swim fast 1st thing in the morning qualifying for the final in 3rd place with a very easy looking 57.3. D also easily qualified fastest for the 200 BC. So another busy night for the fastest female swimmer in Ireland ☺
Chloe and Amy Campbell both also chipped away at their PBs
The 400 IM next and Lui Hurson knocked over 10 seconds off his best to just miss out on the final. He did however make up for this disappointment in the 100 medley qualifying into 2 nights final in 2nd place with another great personal best.
The womens 100 breast was a little hit and miss with 3 PBs out of 5 swims. Most notably Mairead O’Mahony knocling over 4 seconds off her time. While in the men’s event Jan staked his claim for a relay place with a solid swim.
The men’s 50 Fly provided no shocks as new Irish Record holder dominated the heats setting up for hop0yefully anther cracking at his own record later with Ryan Lewis making it 2 Larne athletes through to the final. ZJ then lowered her time by 1.5 seconds in the same event making 2 PBs from 2 swims for bambi after the 100IM.
The 200 BC and again Giullia Allen led the way with an impressive 8 sec PB
The 800 Free and all 4 girls swam impressive best time Amy Campbell and Erin Barr both lowering their times by over 13 seconds.
Ryan and Jan brought the morning session to a close with 2 more best times in the 100 IM, Ryan joining Lui into the final session 2 night.
The Finals session on day 1 got underway with the 100 FS and Danielle continued her improvement in this event taking her time down by over a second to 55.81 picking up a silver medal.
Conor Brines continued his dominance of the sprint fly event with another Gold making him the Ulster, Irish & Scottish open championships. He also lowered the Irish senior Record by 0.05 to stand alone as the fastest Irish flyer. Also in this final was Ryan Lewis who, having posted a best time in the heats, showed that given an evening swim he can go faster again. Something he backed up in his 2nd final of the night the 100 IM.
It wasn’t long before Danielle was back in the pool in what some consider her best stroke, the backstroke, and again she swam to a lifetime best lowering the time she set at Irish Championships 2 weeks ago.
The last individual event was the 100IM and joining Ryan in the final was Lui, who having just missed out on the Junior title in the 400, made up for it with a huge swim of 60.1 to claim a bronze and the Junior title – his 1st medal since winning ‘best rainbow’ painting in PB
The 2 relays brought the session to a close with a Bronze for the Girls and a 4th for the boys.
Chloe McKay – 13-14 50 FS (Erin Barr also under old record)
Adam Mahood – 13-14 200BRS
The 2nd day of the Ulster Championships kicked off with the 200IM, and in her ‘fun event’ of the day Danielle qualified for the final, a feat she would match by qualifying fastest for bothe the 50FS and 100BC later in the session – a great mornings work.
Mairead and Amy Campbell continued to improve both recording best times.
The 100 Free next and Lui & Finn picked up where they left off last weekend by continuing to improve on the times the set in Edinburgh and Qualify for the final in the process. Finn doubled up on his finals with a new best time in the 50BC as well.
Jan, Adam and David all produced life time bests swims in the 200BrS while the girls had a mixed bag in the 50 with PBS from ZJ, Amy and Cher. ZJ getting in 2 a swim off for the evenings session but just missing out on a final place.
Arguably the best swim of the morning belonged to Conor Brines in the 100FLY recording another Irish senior Record to easily qualify fastest for the final. PBs for Ryan and Lui saw them just miss out on evening swims in the same event.
The 100 BC and joining Danielle in the heats was Mairead who finished off her day withe a solid race in the fastest heat.
The last swim of the morning belonged to Amy Barr in the 400FS, having PB’d in this event 2 weeks ago Amy swam to within 1/2 a second of her best.
A record stans for 13 years them falls twice in a week!!
Danielle got the finals session off to an incredible start with another Irish Senior Record in the 50FS winning her 1st Title of the night. She later backed it up with another PB in the 100BC to bring her titles count to 3 so far.
Finn and Lui continued their development into real competitors at this level with their 3rd final each of the weekend in the 100FS Finn stopping the watch under 54 for the 1st time.
In the very next race Finn is back again with the 50BC again posting the 2nd best time he has ever swum.
Conor Brines continues his incredible rise to the top of Irish swimming with a 52.08 Irish senior Record in the 100FLY.
The relays gave an opportunity for some of our younger girls to post a best time in lead off legs and Amy McCullough did just that as Danielle anchored the team to a close run 4th in the 4 x 200FTR
Ryan Lewis did the same in the 4 x 100 FTR with a 4 second PB as the boys split the Ards teams to win silver
The last race of the night, the Mixed Medley FTR saw the team of Finn, Danielle, Chloe and Conor double the silver medal count.
One day left. Surely it can’t get better
16 swims, 9 PBs, 3 club records, 7 finalists
Adam Mahood – 13-14 200 IM
Adam Mahood – 13-14 200Fly
Erin Barr – 15& Over 200 BRS
The last day of racing and the Men’s 200IM is up 1st with Ryan and Adam swimming lifetime bests, both boys would rep eat this feat in the 200 FLY later in the session.
Ryan continues to improve with 2 more finals meaning he has finaled in very event he has entered.
The womens 50 BC and once again Danielle was to the for posting a time 0.01 outside her own Ulster Senior Record qualifying for the final in both this and the 200FS.
Some of the younger girls stepped up to produce huge best times in the 200BrS especially Mairead and Giullia who each knocked over 10 seconds off.
Lui finished in a creditable 6th in the 400FS and finished the morning off with a PB in the 50 FS to make the final in this, a fun event for him.
1 more session 2 go and this run of 9 meets in 6 weekend will be over.
The change in the qualifying rules for Irish Age Groups saw a smaller than usual team of swimmers from Larne SC compete in the 1st qualifying competition of the year.
Those who did race did so real well.
The 1st session is always a long 1 with the 800 and 1500 both being contested. 6 girls and 1 boy from the club stayed in Lisburn until after 9pm to get a PB time.
Their wait was rewarded with a 100% strike rate. Anna & Amy C, Amy McC, Siobhan, Cher & Holly all produced life time bests while Cal had his 1st experience of the longest pool race in the Olympic program – the 1500 Free.
Day 2 got under way with PBS for Adam, Jan and Luke in the 200 IM and Siobhan, Holly and Ysabella in the 100 FLY to maintain the impressive run of PBs
More PBs for Adam and Jan followed in the 100 Free with bothe guys just missing out on breaking 60 seconds for the 1st time.
After Molly and Ysabella raced 50 fly, Jan brought the morning session to a close with another PB, in the 50 BC this time.
Session 3 and, back on Freestyle, the PBs kept coming with the boys 400FS and the girls 200, Chloe, Cher, Ysabella, Giulia and Cal all setting lifetime bests.
Call (again) also swam 200BRS just missing out on a PB while Dave (the rave) smashed his PB in the same event by 20 seconds.
The club has a bit of an iffinity with backstroke but they girls all topped up and carried on the clubs tradition with Gr8 PBs for Sienna (her 1st PB in a while showing that hard work always pays off) and Giulia (who took 12 seconds off her 100 BC time)
We seem of have found a new ‘ironman’ in Luke Calwell who completed his 1st 200Fly this afternoon and his last 50 was his quickest so there is loads more to come. Adam also swam to a solid PB in this event.
The sprint events brought the curtain down on day 2 of the winter qualifiers and Ysabella and Cher both swimming to significant PBs in the 50 free, Jan in the 50 BRS swam his 5th PB of the weekend and Sienna in the 100 IM proved that PBs are like buses, you wait ages for 1 then 2 come along together.
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
The 1st Gala of the year last weekend took place in Ballymena Leisure Centre.
This is a revamped format for the Swim Ulster Development Galas and we are looking forward to seeing how they will develop over the coming season.
A team of 17 swimmers from the club traveled to compete in the morning session in 21 races.
13 new times were posted and 5 personal bests.
For the majority of these young athletes this was their 1st experience of open competition and is a great way to start off what we hope will be a long swimming career.
The focus of these Galas is on skill development with core skills being the emphasis (and a criteria for progression into the qualifying meets) but having said that everyone likes to see that ‘ – ‘ next to their name.
The biggest PB of the day went to Natasha Degnan who took 39.75 seconds off her 200 IM time. While Louise Humphires had best times in all of her swims.
Well done everyone on a great days racing and a fantastic start to the year