The AGM of SWSC will take place
Monday 10th October 2022
at 8.00 p.m.
Nemo Rangers, Douglas
Nominations for Office and Notice of Motions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Monday, 26th of September 2022.
All Nominations and Notice of Motions must be proposed and seconded by members of SWSC.
Agenda, Notice of Motions and nominations for the Management Committee shall be displayed on the website
From 3rd October 2022.
Dated the 19th of September 2022.
Nominations are invited for all roles on the committee. Where more than 1 valid nomination per position is received an election will be held.
In a full return to competition, over 800 swimmers competed in this year’s Summer Nationals. Individual heats were run together then the finals were split by age group (13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 and over for girls; with the same age groups plus an 18 year and 19 and over final for boys. This novel format was designed to give maximum opportunity to compete in finals after the shut-down caused by the pandemic. The only exceptions were the 50s in the form strokes which were run as Open finals (and thus difficult to reach), and some HDW swims in the longer events. Relays were 14 and under and 15 and over, at 400 and 800 FR and 400 MR for females and males with the addition of a 400 mixed MR. It was in the relays where there were particularly impressive SWSC performances.
This year, a record number (32) of SWSC swimmers qualified and 24 competed (12 females and 12 males) ranging in ages from 13 to 21, with many competing at National level for the first time. There were 170 individual swims of which 99 were Personal Bests (PBs), with all team members recording at least one PB. Sixty heat swims resulted in reaching finals, and there were eight gold, four silver and six bronze medallists (detailed results and photographs have already appeared on the website, with results also on Meet Mobile).
Medallists were Sean Bugler-bronze in 16 200 free; Clare Custer-golds in 14 400, 800 and 1500 free and 200 back and fly; Isabel Kidney-bronze in Open 50 breast stoke and silver in 16 100 and bronze in 200 on the same stroke; Asha Mahanta-golds in 14 100 back and fly and silver in 200 back; Beth Nolan-bronze in 18 and over 200 IM; Liam O’Driscoll-bronze in 14 200 fly; Antonina Sech-bronze in 15 200 IM; and Sharon Semchiy-gold in 18 and over 200 free and silvers in 100 and 200 fly.
Both Clare and Asha were competing with SWSC for the first time. Clare, based in the USA is Liam Custer’s sister, while Asha mother Orla competed with both City of Cork and Cork Masters in the past. Two of Clare’s times (400 free and 200 back) qualify her for the National Performance Pathway squad.
Particularly impressive were Isabel’s time coming 3rd in the Open 50 breast stroke (34.43-a new club record); Sharon’s back end speed in the 200 free and fly after her stint of US training; Andrew Feenan back to his best in the 200 breast stroke, and Aoife Gardner’s great improvement in the free style events (her entry time for the 13 100 free was 1.11 and she swam 1.06s several times individually and in the relays). In addition there were at least seven fourth places, all in impressive times.
SWSC really shone in the relays. The girls 14 and under team of Clare, Asha, Aoife and Carrie Harrington won all three relays (400 and 800 FR and 400 MR), whereas the Boy’s team in the same age group (Thomas O’Driscoll, Vincent Kopczynski, Dylan Gunn and David O’Leary) won two silvers and a bronze in the same events. Our women’s team of Sharon, Beth, Isabel and Anna Feenan (with the latter persisting despite illness) continued the excellent form they displayed in the Dave McCullagh meet in February, winning the 400 and 800 FRs and coming a narrow second in the 400 MR. Their time in the 400 MR was a new club record. Our Men’s 15 and over relay was largely a young team (Marc Galland, Michael O’Driscoll, Sean and Rory Lee) but they still managed a fourth place in the 800 FR. This is the relay that requires the highest level of endurance and their success here bodes well for the future.
Apart from SWSC successes, there were great performances from Dolphin, Blackrock and Limerick SCs. Hopefully we’re seeing a Munster revival.
Thank you for a great display swimmers, coaches and officials (and of course parents). Onwards and upwads!
For many years the Michael Bowles gala has been a showcase for SWSC. Held in our “home” pool in Douglas, it demonstrates the best team performance by our swimmers, coaches, officials, administrators and membership in general. This year was particularly exciting, as it was held after two years of shutdown as a result of the Covid pandemic. A total of 329 swimmers from 18 clubs throughout Munster took part, with SWSC winning the overall trophy, as they have done in most years since its initiation.
The two-day competition consists of more than 100 individual events in four Age Groups-10 to 12, 13/14, 15/16 and 17 and over, with 4 x 50 Medley and Freestyle relays at 13 and under, 14/15 and 16 and over. Points are awarded to the first six in each event (6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1) with double points for relays. Four awards are given for the best senior woman and man, and the best Junior girl and boy. Swimmers can score in six events with the overall swimmer of the meet, in the event of a tie on points, being decided by the FINA point system
SWSC had a team of 65. Amazingly our team had 193 personal best (PB) swims. For younger swimmers this was a function of the long lockdown, since they have grown considerably and are now substantially faster, but the older swimmers also had many PBs. Full results are given elsewhere on this website but here are some summary statistics.
SWSC won 40 gold medals out of over 100 races. Andrew Feenan and Isabel Kidney each won six events, with Beth Nolan winning five and Rory Lee four (plus the Conor King trophy, as described below). Lauren Farr, Grace Lynch, Caolinn O’Connor, Michael O’Driscoll, David O’Leary, Sean Bugler and Vincent Kopczynski each won two events, whereas Antonina Sech, Ciara Gardiner, Carrie Harrington, Marc Galland and Dylan Gunn won one race each (see results for details).
SWSC won seven of 13 relays (being beaten in the 13 and under girls MR and FR by a great team from Dolphin SC). Andrew Feenan won the top male award, with top female and best swimmer of the meet award going to Hanna O’Shea of Dolphin SC, as it had in 2019. Isabel Kidney won the Junior girls top award, with the Junior boys award going to 11 year old Anton Nieuwoudt from Limerick SC. All of these swimmers won six events. Though winning less events, the fastest sprint freestyle of the meet was demonstrated by Noah Switzer of Dolphin SC. Rory Lee narrowly beat Noah in the special 50 butterfly race dedicated to the memory of Conor King, who died in an accident last year. Conor was a stalwart of SWSC and a great butterfly swimmer.
Special thanks must go to our more than 30 sponsors and particularly to our overall meet sponsor-Laya Healhcare (and to our sponsorship sub committee), and to Mary Haughney, Swim Ireland President and her team for their highly efficient officiating. This competition demonstrated some of the best of Munster swimming. The challenge will be much greater in the upcoming National competitions.
Liam Custer after his Irish Junior record breaking victory in the 800m Freestyle in the 2022 Nationals with (L-R) Richard Cassidy, Head Coach; Iryna Semchiy, Secretary and Tom Cross, Chair
We are delighted that Liam Custer, our outstanding overseas swimmer, has been selected for Irish Junior European (EJC) in Romania in early July and European Long Course (ELC) Championships in Italy in August, via his performances at the Spring Nationals in April. At that meet he won the 400 IM and 800 Freestyle, both in Irish Junior record times, and was second in the 200 Butterfly. (As reported earlier, he also won the 1500 freestyle at the Nationals.)
As club members know, Liam is based in Florida and swims with Sarasota Sharks under coach Brent Arckey. He is finishing High School and has been awarded a scholarship to Stanford University this autumn. His maternal grandfather comes from Carrigaline and his maternal grandmother is also from Cork, and he has opted to swim for Ireland Internationally. (Incidentally his gran uncle Jim Cogan was our water polo goalkeeper in UCC in the late 1960s.)
Liam joined SWSC several years ago and has travelled over to Irish National competitions in most of the intervening years, where he has performed very successfully. We wish him every success in these events. He is a great inspiration to all our swimmers.
Liam’s younger sister Clare has recently also joined SWSC and intends to compete in this summer’s Nationals, where she will specialise in the longer events. Their club in Sarasota has a 50m outdoor pool which I visited in 2019. This facility, together with an excellent training programme under coach Arckey, has enabled them to produce the silver medal winner in the Women’s 400 IM in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Our most successful current female swimmer Sharon Semchiy flew to Florida on June 1 to train for three weeks with the Sarasota Sharks. This is a great opportunity for Sharon to improve in her events but will also serve as a prototype for future planned training exchanges between SWSC and Sarasota. We look forward to her talking to the rest of our swimmers on her return.
A large group of 17 SWSC swimmers qualified for this event though only 15 travelled, since two were involved in Leaving Cert preparation. As in previous years this 5-day event is the highlight of the Irish season, serving as trials for International meets like the European Senior and Junior Championships and Commonwealth Games later in the year. To optimise individual performances, relays are not included; the club relays in the McCullagh meet, where it will be recalled our women’s team excelled, serving that function. Nine top Irish swimmers had been pre-selected for this summer’s Internationals on the basis of qualifying for the 2021 Olympics, so most did not participate. This actually served to make the meet more competitive and it was great to see a new cohort of younger swimmers participating. It was also good to see spectators again after the protracted lockdown. Apart from the 800 and 1500 freestyle which were run as HDW, all events had morning heats leading to ten swimmer A, Junior and B finals in the evening so most of our competitors got to swim twice (see detailed results on Meet Mobile). Our swimmers participated in 53 events and there were 27 PBs, seven club records and two Irish Junior records.
Our outstanding male swimmer was 18 year old Liam Custer who is based in Florida, where he trains with Sarasota Sharks. Liam is finishing High School and has been awarded a scholarship to Stanford University to begin this autumn. He won the 400IM and 800, and 1500 freestyle (the former two events in Irish Junior record times- a first for a SWSC swimmer in recent times). He was also second in the 200 fly and sixth in the 200 free-all in club records. He has achieved consideration times for several European Junior championship events (team to be announced soon), and is the first SWSC male swimmer to do so; Issey Hayes and Ally Cunningham achieving this distinction some years ago.
Our best female performances came from Sharon Semchiy in the 100 and 200 fly events. She was second in both, timing her finish to perfection in the 100 and hanging on courageously in the 200. She also beat her own club record in the 50 fly, where she finished sixth in a fast field led by Danielle Hill (Danielle had a great meet setting an ISR of 54.87 in the 100 freestyle).
Other SWSC personal best swims came from Rory Lee in the 50 and 100 back; Sean Bugler in the 50 back; Beth Nolan in the 50 fly, 200 IM and 50 Breast stroke (the latter a club record-meaning she now holds all three club LCM records); Anna Feenan in the 50 and 100 fly; Lauren Farr in the 100 and 200 back; Isabel Kidney in the 50, 100 and 200 Breast stroke and 200 IM; Amy Lynch in the 50 Breast stroke, and Antonina Sech in the 200 back.
Well done all. Looking forward to the summer but competition is intensifying!