Great times by our overseas member Clare Custer!
The second part of the new format Summer Nationals, for swimmers of 15 and over, was held in NAC Dublin from July 26 to 30. There were 33 qualifiers from SWSC, all but two of whom travelled. Nearly half of all 151 swims were Personal Bests (see detailed results on Swim Ireland Live Timing and Meet Mobile).
Relays are the best indication of team performance and at this competition were Senior only (open to all age groups). Particularly notable were our women’s 4 x 100 freestyle and medley relays. The same team of Beth Nolan, Isabel Kidney, Sharon Semchiy and Ellen Lee won both of these events, and also was third in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. This continues the long tradition of prominence in these events at National level by our women. In the 4 x 100 medley relay, the team mentioned above set Club and Munster records in finishing first in Ireland. This may be Beth Nolan’s last appearance in these events since she is quitting full time training. She has been a great representative for SWSC, both in National individual and relay events throughout the last decade, and we wish her, and Anna Feenan, who has also retired from full time training (and in particular was excellent in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay), well in the future. In addition, the relatively young men’s relay representatives are now featuring in the top 10 teams and this bodes well for the future.
Several SWSC swimmers also won medals in individual events. Sean Bugler was first in the 17 800 free and second in both the 17 400 and 1500 free. Andrew Feenan was third in the 19 and over 200 breast stroke. Michael O’Driscoll was third in the 17 800 freestyle. Isabel Kidney, who was Echo swimmer of the month for July, was second in the 17 100 breast stroke and third in the 17 50 free and 200 IM. Izzy McGrath was first in the 17 100 fly (in a four second improvement from her entry time) and third in the 17 100 back stroke. Antonina Sech, who is spending the 2023/24 season in the premier swimming school the Mercerburg Academy in the USA, was first in the 16 200 back and second in the 100 backstroke. Finally Sharon Semchiy won the 18 & over 100 and 200 fly, where she has finished on the National podium for several years. Others making A finals were David O’Leary in the 15 age group, and Ellen Lee, Grace Lynch and Beth Nolan at 18 and over.
Also in July, our overseas member Clare Custer, based in the Sarasota Sharks in Florida and coached by Brent Arckey, recorded a series of excellent times in the longer freestyle events in one of the Futures Meets in the USA. Clare, who all will recall performed so well in the 14 Age Group at last year’s Irish Summer Nationals, went 4:25.46 for 400, 8:58.4 for 800 and 17:03,07 for 1500 free (LCM). All of these times would have won all age groups in this year’s Irish Summer Nationals.
Tom Cross – August 2023
This year Swim Ireland (SI) changed the previous Division 1 and 2 format and instead split the Nationals into an Age Group Meet (12 to 14 year olds) held in the UL pool (July 6 to 9) and a Youth and Senior Summer Nationals (15 and over) scheduled for July 26 to 30 in Dublin. (Incidentally, this is the same format as is used in the USA.) The qualifying times were relaxed for these events this year leading to a huge entry but will be made much harder next year. Some 700 swimmers competed in Limerick with a team of 15 from SWSC.
Our club results (see Meet Mobile and SI Live Timing) exceeded our expectations. There were 68 PBs in 113 individual swims, and since many of the entry times were short course conversions (over optimistic?) the number of best Long Course best times greatly exceeded this number.
There were many highlights:
- Both Aoife Gardiner and Caoilinn O’Connor achieved National Squad QTs in the 100 back stroke, and are very close on the required second event; the 100 free in the case of Aoife and 200 back for Caoilinn. These times will be registered with SI.
- The girls mentioned above combined with Liam O’Driscoll and Thomas Bugler to win both the 13/14 Mixed 400 Medley and Freestyle relays. Both of these events were won by the narrowest of margins and the final legs raised the biggest cheers of the meet! These final freestyle legs both featured Aoife. In the Medley she started behind two other girls and snatched first place, swimming two seconds faster that her PB. In the freestyle relay she started several meters ahead of two boys and managed to hold them off, swimming another second faster than her previous PB.
- Caoilinn, Liam and Thomas also won several individual medals: Caoilinn-first in the 100 and 200 back and third in the 400IM; Liam-second in the 400 free and third in the 200 fly, and Thomas-third in the 200 and 400 free and 100 fly.
Well done all!
However, on a cautionary note for the future, all but three of our team were in their 14th year (born 2009) and girls predominated. We will have to work hard to address this for next year (our centenary year). Essentially, we need four or five boys and girls qualifying in each of the 12, 13 and 14 age groups (born 2012, 2011 and 2010)!
Tom Cross – July 2023
At 26 qualifiers (16 females and 10 males) SWSC had its biggest team ever travelling to this year’s Open Long Course Nationals, held in the National Aquatic Centre Dublin from April 1 to 5. Because this meet serves as trials for International Competitions like the Olympics and World Championships there are no National club relays. These are held instead at the McCullagh meet, where it will be recalled our Women won National Gold in the 800 FR and were second in the 400 FR. Detailed results are available on Meet Mobile and on Swim Ireland’s Live Timing but here are some very successful statistics for our team, many of whom were in their 14th year and competing in their first Open Nationals.
There were 49 Personal Best (PB) swims. Most of the team had at least one PB and a few were remarkable in swimming PBs every time they raced. Particularly good were the five swimmers who participated in the recent elite training camp in Tenerife. There were 47 finalists over the five days (10 in Day 1; 5 in Day 2; 10 in Day 3 and 11 in Days 4 and 5) in the three categories of finals- A, Junior (Girls 17 and under and Boys 18 and under) and B. Medals were only awarded for the three fastest Seniors and Juniors. Most of our swimmers qualified for finals and largely were faster than in the heats and often won, particularly in B finals. Medal winners in the Senior category were Sharon Semchiy, silver in the 200 butterfly, and Liam Custer, silver in the 800 freestyle and bronze in the 200 butterfly and 200 and 400 Individual Medley. At Junior level Isabel Kidney won four medals; silver in the 50 and 100 breast stroke and 200 IM and bronze in the 50 free style; while Antonina Sech won silver in the 200 backstroke.
Several swimmers are very near Swim Ireland Performance Pathway times and will have their next opportunity to achieve these times at the Summer Age Group (14 & U) and Senior (15 and O) Summer Nationals in July, which are the most important meets of the season for most of our swimmers. Meanwhile we have the Munster LC Championships in UL in early May and the Michael Bowles SC meet later that month. For the latter , which we have won for many years, we want our team to cover all events to maximise points and to swim six events or more if competitive for Senior or Junior Individual titles. In June there will be the Warm Weather camp in Spain where we will have our biggest group at 42 swimmers. SWSC swimmers are doing very well but are mostly just below National team qualification, where the majority come from Leinster and Ulster. So, we need to improve faster! Swimmers must make every possible session arriving early and leaving late. Once there, they need to work as hard as possible but also think what they are doing and develop targets and race plans.
– Tom Cross Aril 2023
Two club records, one of which was a Munster Junior record, at the Munster Short Course Championships
Two club records were broken at the Munster Short Course Championships in Limerick over the weekend of November 12 and 13.
- Sharon Semchiy set a time of 26.58 when winning the 50m Freestyle and beating her own previous record.
- Isabel Kidney swam 32.80 to win the 50m Breast stroke and beat her own record. This time also eclipsed the previous Munster Junior record held since 2009 by Olympian Fiona Doyle.
I am sure you join me in offering our congratulations!
SWSC had a very large team of 45 swimmers at this largely Senior meet. The team recorded 144 Personal Best swims (out of 318 swims), many of which were an improvement on times they swam in the recent Eddie Campion Dolphin Open.
The swimmers won 49 out of 112 individual medals:
Sean Bugler, second in the 200m Freestyle;
Andrew Feenan, first in the 200m and third in the 50m Breast stroke;
Anna Feenan, first in the 100m and second in the 200m Freestyle;
Isabel Kidney, first in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breast stroke, second in the 100m Freestyle and third in the 50m butterfly;
Ellen Lee, third in the 200m and 400m Freestyle;
Beth Nolan, first in 200m backstroke and 100m Individual Medley, and second in 50m Breast stroke;
Michael O’Driscoll, first in 1500m Freestyle and third in 800m Freestyle;
James Ryan, first in 50m and 100m Backstroke, and third in 50m Butterfly;
Antonina Sech, first in the Junior 400m Freestyle and third in the 100m Backstroke;
Sharon Semchiy, first in the 50m Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly, and also first in the 100m Butterfly.
These individual performances, coupled with winning medals in all six relays, three of them gold’s, completed excellent team performances. Next up are the Winter Short course Nationals in Dublin (December 14 to 17) and then the Long Course season.
Tom Cross, Chair. December 2022