Great SWSC performances at Irish Open Nationals in NAC Dublin, April 19 to 23
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!