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