Swimmers from the Shark and Dolphin squads headed off to Thurles to take part in the first Kingfisher (Thurles) and Clonmel Gala on Sunday, December 2. For some swimmers it was their first ever gala, so nerves were running high.
Congratulations go to Luke O’Shea who smashed his previous personal bests to achieve the status of a Munster Development 2 swimmer. He got off to a fantastic start by winning gold in the 50m free. He then went on to win gold in the 50m back and silver in the 100m IM. He was heading home and stopped for refreshment, but just as he was munching through his Big Mac, he got a phone call to say he had qualified for the skins.
Skins are 50m sprints where the last swimmer of each heat is eliminated. It continues this way until the last swimmer is the winner. Luke swam his heart out and stayed right to the end, where the other swimmer just beat him in the breaststroke. Was it because he doesn’t like the breaststroke or was it the Big Mac – we will never know!
Tadhg O’Brien amazed all the officials by also qualifying into the skins at the age of 9 years. This was a huge achievement and he did not let himself down, knocking out other swimmers before being knocked out himself. Tadhg also did himself proud in the 100m IM, where not only did he win gold but also reached his Development 2 time. He added to his medal tally in the 100m free, winning silver whilst improving his time by 3.63 secs. He then swam a great 50m butterfly gaining his Development 2 time and another gold medal.
Grace Duggan kicked off her gala with a silver in the 50m free, and followed this up quickly with a gold and also her Development 2 time in her 50m back & 50m breaststroke. She then swam the 100m free winning silver and finishing with a flurry gaining her Development 2 time and gold in the 50m butterfly.
Emma Crowley took time off her 50m free time and swam a great 50m breast. Although the fastest swimmer of her age she did not medal because the youngest category was 11years and under.
Clodagh Whelan smashed her 50m free time by 9.95 secs and her 50m breast by 1.30, just missing the Development 2 time by an excruciating 0.14 of a second. Next time Clodagh!
Sean McHugh warmed up with the 50m free and then took off an impressive 3.11 seconds off his 50m back and swam a good 100m free. Luca Salvatori was in flying form, starting with a 4.71 PB and a silver medal in the 50m free. He then won a second silver in the 100 breast taking off 6.67 secs. In the 100m free he gained his Development 2 time with a 8.03 sec PB and the gold medal. Fergal O’Connell swam well in his 50m free and swam an impressive 100m breast.
Amy Hawe was a glutton for punishment, swimming the 100m breast, the 100m backstroke and without time to take a breath – the 100m fly, where she won gold, also achieving some qualifying times.
Conor McHugh’s first swim was the 100m breast where he was just pipped for a medal coming in fourth. He then swam 50m breast winning the bronze medal. He swam well in the 100m free and added to his medals by winning the bronze in the 100m backstroke. Conor also won a prize for the best start of the meet. Oisín Morrison just missed out on a medal in the 100m breast gaining fourth place but made up for it in the 100m IM when he won bronze.
Clara Harrington gained her Development 2 time in her 50m back, taking off a respectable 2.85 secs. Keela Enright took off 2.77 secs in her 50m back getting closer to that Development 2 time.
It was Caroline Sweeney’s first gala and she swam a good time in the 50m back and 50m breast. She finished with an impressive time in her 100m free.
Lauren Kiely got off to an amazing start with a gold and Development 2 time in her 50m back, this was achieved by doing a beautiful backcrawl tumble turn, winning her a prize for the best turn of the meet. Lauren also won bronze in the 50m breast and finished off with a brilliant gold in the 100m free.
Katie Rice knocked off 4.94 seconds in her 100m free and swam a 50m fly for the first time, winning bronze and achieving her Development 2 time.
It was a long day, but the swimmers performed really well and enjoyed the gala. Thanks to Kingfisher and Clonmel clubs for having us. Thanks also to the parents who travelled on the day to support and help the Fermoy Swimming Club Team. Also thank you to coach Jackie who also attended the gala to whisper a few words of encouragement.