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