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!
Swim Ireland’s messages regarding spectators at the McCullagh International:
As we step up preparations for the return to Bangor for the exciting McCullagh International, Swim Ireland & Swim Ulster are pleased to announce that every session of the 2022 McCullagh International will be livestreamed via Swim Ireland’s YouTube.
Like all our clubs, athletes, and supporters we have been excited to get back to competition this season. Keeping our athletes and volunteers safe, whilst providing a fun environment are of the upmost importance to us. With the large number of entries and with the health and safety of all attending the competition a priority, we have taken the difficult decision to not allow spectators at this event.
The capacity limit in Bangor Aurora spectator area is 960. With 600+ swimmers entered, their support teams, our officials and staff all set to be at the venue, which will total 800+, it would not be possible to ensure the health and safety for everyone in attendance.
At all times when organising events during the COVID-19 pandemic, our priority has been ensuring we offer the safest possible environment. We also try and implement social distancing wherever possible, and will have designated areas for each club. And so, on this occasion we feel that due to space pressures in the Bangor Aurora gallery it would be an unnecessary risk to allow spectators.
We hope all who wished to intend as a spectator can understand the steps we have taken and will instead enjoy the McCullagh International from the comfort of their homes.
McCullagh International Officials Rota:
A big congratulations to Lauren Farr on receiving her Cork City and County Youth Sports Star Award 2022, for her performance at the Irish Short course Championships and also for her selection on to the National squad.
Everyone at SWSC would like to wish Lauren continued success for the rest of the season.
Thank you for your continued support over the last 2 years as we have negotiated the changing landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Irish Government announced updated Public Health Measures on Friday 21st January and having reviewed the Northern Ireland Public Health Guidelines we have updated the COVID-19 guidance for all Swim Ireland clubs (ROI & NI)
We would remind clubs that COVID-19 is still present and is a cause for concern. We want our clubs and members to enjoy the sporting and social elements of our aquatic sports, whilst maintaining the diligence shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. An outbreak of COVID-19 cases in a club can have an impact on squads and teams by not being able to train or compete, which we want to avoid.
We would remind clubs and members of the following:
- Lead COVID Officer role to remain in place. Clubs are not required to have a COVID Officer on duty for each session.
- Junior clubs are required to have a Person on Duty for each session.
- Face coverings should be worn by spectators and by athletes when not in water
- Club members should stay home if they feel unwell.
- Club members should follow the relevant close contact guidance based on their age, vaccination status and jurisdiction. (ROI close contact information / NI close contact information)
- Clubs should maintain vigilance and encourage members to maintain high standards of personal hygiene
The main changes to COVID-19 restrictions for our clubs and members to note are as follows:
- Social distancing requirements have been removed – full contact training can resume for all club members
- Sport events and matches can take place after 8pm
- Restrictions on spectators have been removed – we will follow up with clubs and regions shortly to provide support on best practice guidance for managing spectators at events over the coming months.
- Pods are no longer required for Masters/ Adult clubs
- COVID-19 pass is not required to access training or events
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your club support officer.
Clubs and Community Team
Welcome to our very own cookbook put together with recipes by SWSC swimmers and family members!
With so many different recipes (tried and tested), there is a dietary option & favourite here for everyone.
Funds raised help with the cost of Christmas treats, warm drinks, an Icecream van visit and much pool, gala and training equipment.
In turn, all swimmers in Learn to Swim right through to Juniors, Intermediates, Piranhas, Senior Squad and Masters Programme benefit.
Your support in purchasing this book at €15/copy awould be very much appreciated.
Unfortunately, due to the rising COVID-19 case numbers it is felt that it would not be possible to provide a safe environment for the competitors, and it has been decided to cancel the Minor Schools Championships. The Senior Schools Championships will go ahead as planned.