The McCullagh Invitational meet held in the 50m pool in Bangor, County Down from February 23 to 25 was extremely competitive, with a large number of fast swimmers from England, Scotland and Wales, including several Olympic medalists. With no restriction on the number of non-Irish swimmers getting into A and B finals, it was difficult for native competitors but none-the-less several, including swimmers from SWSC made finals. Because tapering loses effect if used too many times during the season (and causes loss of training), most swimmers competed untapered. This meant slower times for many swimmers but to highly competitive racing.

Against this backdrop, it was great that our team of 12 swimmers between them achieved 24 personal bests (Sean Buglar two; Laoise Deasy three; Lauren Farr six; Michael Feenan one; Marc Galland three; Isabel Kidney three; Beth Nolan two; Sharon Semchiy four). In addition, some excellent times were recorded in the relays but these (apart from the first leg) cannot be used for individual PBs because of flying starts. All of this means that fitness is returning rapidly after the lockdown, and is a testament to most swimmers attending all training sessions, and to the efforts of Head Coach Richard Cassidy and his team for increasing training intensity.  All club swims were recorded using the new iPad Pro, allowing for rapid post-race analysis. In addition, some of these swims are club records, but work is underway on this part of the website, so confirmation will be delayed.

It was in the women’s relays that the most exceptional results were recorded, as those of you who were following the action will be aware! At the start of the Thursday session our 4 x 200 freestyle relay of Sharon, Lauren, Beth and Anna Feenan won gold. At the end of the same morning session our 4 x 100 Medley relay, with Isabel Kidney replacing Anna, was second. Finally, on the Friday morning, the 4 x100 free relay, with the same composition as the 4 x 200 were third. This group of medals adds to the two bronze medals that our team achieved in the Short Course Championships last December. Very well done girls!

Tom Cross

SWSC Chairperson


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