In sweltering heat on Thursday, July 5, Fermoy Swimming Club’s first tranche of swimmers set off to University Limerick to compete in the Irish Division 2 National Competition.
This is an extremely competitive meet with qualifying times becoming harder to achieve every year, so it is a great accomplishment just to have qualified to swim in this Gala.
William Verling was our first swimmer up and not only did he swim a personal best time, but also made it through to the finals, a great start. William also returned on the Saturday and swam in the 50m Free. Fantastic achievement William to get to a final at this level of a Gala.
Jack Duggan then swam his 200m free and he was up against it, as aged only 14, but swimming as a 15-year-old, he was also against the 16s, 17s, 18s and above. He swam very well, but the ask was huge.
Jack came back to compete on the Saturday, full of determination. This time Jack was swimming his favourite stroke – the Butterfly – he took an amazing 4.83 seconds off his PB and incredibly made the finals, despite the older opposition. Well done Jack. On the Sunday Jack also swam in the 50m free and hit yet another PB.
Zach Daniels-Howard was swimming as an 11-year-old (even though still only 10) but unfortunately the 12-year-olds were also in this group making it an impossible task to make the finals. Nevertheless, Zach swam a great 100m Backstroke knocking 3.03 seconds off his personal best. Zach swam again on the Saturday in the 100m Butterfly and the 200m Backstroke. He took off a fantastic 5.03 seconds and 3.49 seconds respectively. Excellent swimming Zach.
Adam O’Grady was up next with a great swim in the 100m Breaststroke, improving his PB by a very respectable 1.46 seconds. A great introduction to swimming at this level. Good job Adam.
Sean Slattery was swimming to show his incredible endurance, swimming first in the 1,500m Free. There are no finals in this event. It is what is called Heat Declared Winner, he was well up on the field and if there had been finals he would have qualified for these. Sean was back swimming the 400m Free on Saturday and knocked off a brilliant 6.92 seconds. Great Gala after his recent success winning his age group in the Lee swim. Congratulations Sean.
Sophie Baker was our last competitor to swim. Like Zach she was in the youngest age group 11-years swimming against all the 12-year-olds. Being her first gala at this level she confided in Coach Jackie that she was a little nervous. She obviously channelled this positively into her swim as she swam very well, knocking off a massive 3.17 off her 100m Breast. When she returned on the Sunday she smashed her 200m Breaststroke time by a further 3.77 seconds. Well done Sophie.
A big thank you for all the parents who went to support and help in the exhausting heat. Thanks to Head Coach Jackie Power who attended all four days to help prepare, calm and encourage the swimmers in order to fulfil their potential and enjoy their experience.
Our thanks also to Swim Ireland and everyone who helped organise and run the championships over the 4 days. With 771 swimmers taking part, from every corner of Ireland, it was a mammoth task, but one which was completed in brilliant form, as always.
Thanks too to the staff of UL Sports arena. And our congratulations to our fellow Corkonian Swimming Clubs on their wonderful achievements at this level also, Cork swimmers are really making a splash.
A fantastic event with a brilliant atmosphere – roll on 2019!