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.
well done guys a fanastic meet
3 Irish senior records
4 Ulster Senior records