On July 24th to July 28th the most prestigious gala of the swimming season was held in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin.
Although named a national meet swimmers from around the globe attend, so it is a very exciting meet. Just to gain the qualifying time to be able to enter this gala is an amazing feat.
Fermoy Swimming Club had 4 such talented swimmers – Jodie Baker, Jack Duggan, Zoe Daniels-Howard and Duana Lama. Unfortunately, Zoe and Jack had to scratch due to injury, a tough break after a year of hard training, but onwards and upwards to next season for both of them. So that left two Fermoy swimmers, Jodie and Duana to represent Fermoy.
Jodie arrived nice and early to the pool for her warm up at 7.30am preparing herself physically and mentally for the challenge ahead. I think nerves got the better of her when she swam her 100m breaststroke as she did not swim a Personal Best, but she did make the finals going in 8th.
Her second event that day was the 200m freestyle and once again she did not swim a pb but did make the finals in 10th place. She now had the opportunity to show what she was made of in the finals which were taking place in the evening, so it was back to her lodgings for food and a rest.
Duana being in the younger age group, swam her warm up after Jodie’s events had finished. She happened to be swimming exactly the same strokes and distances. She swam well in both the 100m breaststroke and the 200m freestyle and made the finals in the 100m breaststroke. Back to the hotel for lunch and a rest.
Jodie swam very well in both the 100m breast and the 200m free finals. She jumped to 5th place in her 100m breast and 4th place in her 200m free, missing out on a medal by 4 milliseconds, but she did have a new personal best time.
Duana was next up in her 100m breast. Pacing her race very well she jumped three places to win the silver medal and improved her pb.
So with 3 finals and one very rare silver medal under their belt, both girls came back for day two’s events – the 50m free and 200m breaststroke. Head down, as few breaths as possible, swimming like the clappers, Jodie made it into the finals in 4th place in the 50m free, followed by an impressive 200m breast, once again making it into the finals in 10th place. Duana also made the finals in her 200m breaststroke. Food and rest and then back to the pool.
Improving her time yet again in a final, Jodie held on to 3rd place and won a bronze medal for her 50m free. She improved her 200m breaststroke time from the heats by 5 seconds and moved up the rankings but missed out by milliseconds again in the medal stakes.
Duana swam a fantastic pb in her 200m breaststroke and won a silver medal for her efforts. Brilliant swimming by Duana.
Day 3 saw the girls swimming the gruelling 400m freestyle and the 200m Individual Medley (comprising of 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke and 50m free). Both girls swam these events well and Jodie yet again made the finals in both events.
With the blessing of coach Jackie, Jodie withdrew from the 400m free finals in order to save her energy for the 200m IM. This strategy paid off when she swam 3 seconds faster than in the heats, moving up from 7th place and securing her second bronze medal.
The last day for the girls was Saturday and the event they were both swimming was the 100m free. Jodie made the finals in 3rd place – could she hold on to this and add another bronze medal to her tally? No she couldn’t – she swam even faster and won silver and oh so nearly broke the minute.
So, four long hot days had passed but Fermoy was victorious with three silver and two bronze medals. Jodie had made every single final for all of the events that she had qualified for. Just to emphasise how difficult it is to win medals at this level, Fermoy Swimming Club won a bronze medal for breaststroke many years ago with our swimmer Karen Sheehan. Zoe Daniels-Howard won a bronze last year for breaststroke. This year 3 silvers and 2 bronze. Well done Jodie and Duana – you were fantastic.
Thanks to Joann Baker and Mary Leamy for being there to support not only their children but also Coach Jackie Power. I think we all agree Jodie and Duana did us proud and shone like true stars. (report by JP).
Enjoy the break
We wish all our swimmers a happy summer break from training, please keep an eye on our website and social media for back to training dates etc. It won’t be long coming around!