The Irish Age Group Championships were held from Wednesday, July 19 to Sunday 23 in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin. This would be the top-flight gala for swimming club swimmers with extremely difficult qualifying times set on a percentage of Olympic times. So, it shows great determination, courage, talent and positive mental attitude to achieve these times.
We had three such swimmers, aged 12/13 years, which meant an even harder task as they would be swimming against the 14-year-olds.
Our three brave souls were: Zoe Daniels-Howard, Jodie Baker and Fiona Miao.
First to swim on Wednesday was Zoe Daniels-Howard swimming in the 100m breaststroke. Zoe swam a very well-paced race finishing fast, which gained her an excellent 2.43 seconds personal best, a great achievement at this level.
On Thursday, we had Jodie Baker in the first heat of the 200m breaststroke. A superb start saw her going into the lead and with each 50m she seemed to be stretching this lead. Surely, she could not maintain this pace, but she did, finishing first in the heat, touching nearly a half-length in front. Even the commentator said what a great finish and pb it was.
Zoe was also swimming in the 200m breaststroke and was just as determined as Jodie to swim a fast race. Boy! Did she – taking a staggering 5.22 seconds off her personal best. Incredible!
But more was to come as Zoe also made the finals. So, after lunch and a rest, swimmer Zoe and coach Jackie returned to the pool at 4pm to prepare for the finals. Tactics discussed, it was agreed the third 50m was the one which could be improved. Sticking to her game plan, Zoe swam a well-paced final swimming hard on the third 50m to take nearly another full second off.
Zoe ended up being the third fastest 13-year-old 200m breaststroke swimmer in Ireland (North and South) and Jodie the fourth fastest 200m breaststroke swimmer, something for Fermoy to be very proud of.
Next up to swim on Saturday was Jodie, this time swimming the 100m freestyle. Once again Jodie did not spare the horses and swam her socks off to gain a 1.08 pb, another great performance from this young swimmer.
Fiona Miao also swam on Saturday, taking on the 100m backstroke. A great start saw her holding her own in this heat. She swam a very brave race at the end of a very tiring day.
Fiona was also swimming Sunday, traveling once again from Fermoy to compete. She swam well, showing good technique and great courage. It is mighty hard at the top!
A big thank you goes out to coach Jackie Power for preparing them so well for this meet and attending each day. Also thank you to all the parents who travelled to help and support not only their swimmers, but also the other swimmers and coach Jackie.
BEST OF LUCK
Best of luck to our swimmers who, over the summer, will be involved with the Cork Surf Lifesaving competitions.
BACK TO TRAINING DATES
We wish all swimmers a happy summer break, and look forward to seeing everyone relaxed and refreshed in September, ready to hit the gala circuit again. Our back to training dates are as follows: Torpedoes – Saturday, September 2; Sharks – Tuesday, September 5; Marlins – Saturday, September 9; Dolphins – Tuesday, September 5; Sailfish – Sunday, September 10; Swordfish – Friday, September 8; Glofish – Friday, September 8.