What a year 2019 has been for Danielle Hill. Coming off an incredibly strong end to last season the #teamlarne ambassador picked up exactly where she left off with her 1st competitive outting of the season.
The British University and College Sports Short Course Swimming Championships held this weekend ment that Danielle wasn’t able to compete in the Ulster Championships however she was able to test herself against higher standard of opposition in Sheffield.
Racing in both the 50 free and 50 back Danielle headed off to race ‘in season’ before resting to compete at the European Short Course in Glasgow in 2 weeks.
The morning heats were a challenging affair with a large entry meaning that the girls had no Backstroke ledges and the heats were alternating with the boys heats.
Having safely negotiated the heats Danielle proceeded to lower the Irish senior record in the 50BC to 27.12 knocking over a second off her own time and 0.8 of the pervious record.
The 50 free also produces a new standard for Irish swimming with a time of 25.00 (with a slightly dodgy finish 😁)
The 1st box firmly ticked now we move on to Glasgow in December
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 30 minute flight out of Belfast and the team are in Edinburgh to race at the Scottish Short Course Nationals. This is a notoriously fast early season meet and the whole purpose of travelling is to race faster in the heats than in the Irish Nationals last week.
1st up on the 1st day is Conor Brines in his 1st competitive outting of the season. The 100 fly produced some incredibly fast swimming and Conor swam a solid race to place 4th going into tonight’s sessions.
Then Danielle produced her fastest ever morning swim in the 50 Back to qualify for the B final.
Finishing off the morning heats Danielle raced the 100 Free swimming a time half a second faster than this time last week.
The swimmers outside the top 40 entered athletes complete their heat swims in the afternoon session. Lui Finn and Ruairi all started their meet off with the 50 Free. both Lui and Finn swam PBs and clocked times that would have placed them in the mornings faster heats.
Lui’s second swim of the session was the 400FS and a huge 10+ second PB saw him once again post a time that placed him 29th overall, an improvement of 15 placeso.
Session 3 (finals day 1)
What a 1st night of finals this was, Danielle recovered from a slight error in her 50 BC to post a very respectable time. Then Conor Brines stole the show with an incredible Irish Senior Record in the 100 FLY becoming the 1st Irish person to break 53 seconds.
Danielle continue to show progression from last week’s Irish short course in both her events qualifying for the 50 Free final and the 200 BC within 10 minutes of each other.
Conor swam his ‘fun event’ the 200Fly producing a best heat swim and Qualifying for the evenings session in the process.
Finn, Lui and Ruairi were back in action again with the 100 FStreet for them all and Finn in the 50 BC & Lui in 200 IM.
The forward momentum Lui has experienced in recent times continued with the 200 IM entered on a long course converted time of 2:15.6 Lui produced a huge PB to swim to a 2:13.1
The men’s 100 free was next and both Lui (53.9) & Finn (54.5) improved significantly to continue the steady progress they have shown this season
Session 6 (finals day 2)
The Finals session on day 2 and, after taking on the advice from the sport NI physio we only had Danielle’s 50 free to look forward to.
It was worth the wait.
In 2003 Julie Douglas (now johnston) set the Irish Record for the 50FS making it one of the older records on the books. (It is also the 2nd oldest Ulster record) putting together an almost textbook swim D.iesel got her hand on the wall in 25.64 seconds shaving 0.01 off Julie’s mark and in the process becoming the fastest Irish female in history.
What a swim!
The last day of racing and Danielle (200Fly & 100 BC) & Conor (50FLY) both back in the pool.
Conor picked straight up fromantic here he left off in the 100 with comfortably the fastest qualifying time for tonight’s finals smashing the Ulster Senior Record in the process posting a time of 23.6
Danielle was next up in the 200FS and she didn’t disappoint posting a time of 2:02 nearly 4 seconds faster than the heats this time last week qualifying for her fourth fin all this weekend.
There is plenty of time to rest when your dear so 10 minutes later and Danielle is back in the pool in the 100BC, unrested, 10 minutes after her 2nd best 200FS and she produces her a lifetime best 61.6, qualifying for her 5th final of the weekend. #nornironlady
The whole reason for coming to Scottish Nationals was to step up and race hard in the morning session. I think this weekend, and in particular this last morning, shows that even tired, in full training #teamlarne🏊 athletes show they are ready, willing and able to do just that.
Lui and Finn completed their weekends racing with the 200FS & 100BC respectively.
Lui’s 200 free saw him break 2 min barrier or he 1st time destroying it posting a 1:57.0 while Finn also finished the weekend with a PB in his 100BC (63.7)
Session 9 (finals day 3)
Last session of the meet and again Larne had representation in the form of Conor Brines in the 50FLY and once again he rose to the occasion and produced a phenomenal swim to take the Gold in a time of 23.38 equaling the Irish senior Record held by Barry Murphy.
Unfortunately Danielle wasn’t able to compete in the last 2 finals of her weekend due to flight times home.
Thank you Scotland for a fantastic weekend of racing. so we’ll organised and welcoming we will definitely be back.