Local swimmers in top form at qualifying meet
THE recent Connacht Qualifying Meet in Longford proved to be a very productive competition for the County Sligo Swimming Club team. With 29 Sligo swimmers attending the meet, in a total of 119 individual races, the Sligo team performed superbly, achieving 26 podiums places and 85 personal best times. In addition, between them, six of the Sligo swimmers achieved 17 qualification times for the 2018 Irish Open Short Course Championships which take place in Lisburn in December. Furthermore, a number of the 29 Sligo swimmers were competing at a qualifying meet for the first time.
Fresh from his success at the 2018 Summer Nationals and swimming in the Boys 13-14 age group, 13-year-old Ronan Kilcoyne put in some outstanding performances in Longford. Ronan was competing in six events over the three days and returned with 6 gold medals, all new personal bests (PBs). In addition, all Ronan’s times were qualifying times for the Irish SC Championships.
Ronan knocked a massive 41 seconds off his previous best time in the 1500m freestyle event to finish in a time of 17:32.30. Ronan’s best performance however was probably in his last race of the meet where in the 100m IM he swam a fast time of 1:07.36 to claim another Gold. His other gold medals came in the 200m IM, 400m freestyle, 400m IM and 50m butterfly. Anthony Maher (17) competed in the Boys 15 & over age group and continued his recent good form to claim medals in four of his six events, one gold in 50m breaststroke and three silvers in 100m and 200m breaststroke events and 100m IM.
Anthony achieved PBs in 5 of his 6 races. 12-year-old Ronan O’Connor competed in just the one event and was delighted to come away with a gold medal in the Boys 12 & under 100m freestyle in a time of 1:09.93, a 2.94 second PB. 16-year-old Patrick McPartlan just missed out on a couple of medals when he finished in 4th position in the 50m butterfly and 5th in the 100m IM, however he was very happy that his times in both events were qualifying times for the Irish SC Championships, particularly as it is his first time to qualify for this major competition.
Sixteen-year-old Carrie McDaid competed in the 800m freestyle event in Longford and claimed gold in an Irish SC qualification time of 9:52.24. Danielle Farrell (15) who medalled at the 2018 Summer Nationals back in July had another amazing meet returning home with three medals, 1 gold (1500m freestyle), 1 silver (100m IM) and 1 bronze (100m butterfly). Danielle took an amazing 1 minute and 69 seconds off her 1500m freestyle time. She swam in four events in Longford and achieved qualifying times for the Irish SC Championships in all four.
Another Irish SC qualifier was 19-year-old Maeve Keaney who qualified in the 100m backstroke, claiming a Silver medal in the process. Swimming in the Girls 12 & under age group Liadan Ruddy claimed a silver and two bronze medals.
She won the silver in the 100m backstroke and the bronzes in 100m IM and 400m freestyle. Liadan also got PBs in all five events she swam in, knocking nearly 41 seconds off her 400m freestyle time. Wiktoria Weinert (15) won a silver medal in the Girls 15 & over 200m butterfly, however she also obtained Irish SC qualifying times in the 200m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 200m IM.
Ciara Connaughton-Jones (13) swam in 6 events in the Girls 13-14 age group and returned with 6 PBs and three medals; Gold in 800m freestyle, silver in 200m breaststroke and bronze in 100m breaststroke.
Twelve-year-old Anna O’Connor swam in 6 events in the Girls 12 & under age group, and she also got PBs in all six events, as well as two medals; Gold in 100m IM and bronze in 800m freestyle when she took over a minute off her previous time. Another 12-year-old who performed very well was Jane Bradley who achieved PBs in all six of the events that she swam in. Jane also won the silver medal in her 100m butterfly event, knocking 4.26 seconds off her previous time.
The club had many other excellent performances over the three day meet where a number of swimmers finished just outside the medal positions. The other Sligo swimmers competing in Longford were Clodagh Barrett, Alannah Cunningham, Wiktoria Jedrol, Maria Lyons, Alice McPartlan, Keri Mitchell, Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Cliodha O’Sullivan, Rachel McManus, Jade Murphy, Adam Hunter, Max Hunter, Dylan Martin, Edward McDonagh, Orin Mitchell, Daniel Rattigan and Kayle Wajszczuk. Sligo’s Head Coach Eduardo Santos was very pleased not just with the high medal tally, but also with the substantial number of Sligo swimmers that achieved qualifying times for the Swim Connacht Short Course Championships which take place in Galway on 3rd and 4th November and of course the six swimmers who achieved additional qualification times for the 2018 Irish Open Short Course Championships which take place in Lisburn in December.
Winner of four medals, Anthony Maher with his Mum Kate.
Eduardo Santos with Ronan KIlcoyne, winner of six gold medals.