This weekend saw a return to competition for the Graded Gala squad and Masters groups of swimmers, with the Masters taking part in the Aer Lingus International Masters on Saturday last at the ALSAA pool in Dublin, while the Graded Gala squad made the short trip to Athlone on Sunday morning for the first graded gala of the season. As usual, there were medals galore taken back to Roscommon by both groups.
Comans masters won a total of 17 medals, ten golds, six silvers and one bronze at the Aer Lingus event. Brendan Cooney took silver in both 50 and 200 breaststroke and was narrowly beaten into third place to take bronze in the 100 breaststroke. Sandra Noone had three great swims in the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke taking gold in all three events, while she won silver in her four other events on the day. Marie Keane took gold in all seven events in which she took part in, including a very tough 400m individual medley, 200m Individual medley and a 200m breaststroke. Masters next events are the Ulster Masters Open in Lisburn and East of Scotland Open championships which will be held in Edinburgh.
A total of 12 young hopefuls took part in the Athlone Graded Gala, with swimmers taking part in up to three events over 100m distance, Freestyle, breaststroke and individual medley at u11, u13 and u15 for boys and girls. Each event required a swimmer to achieve set times for an A, B, or C grade, and medals were awarded for B and C times in each category, with a Swim Ireland Certificate and qualification for senior Galas the prize for an A time.
There were a number of great performances, surprises, and a few disappointments. Pride of place went to Sasha Hibbs who made the major breakthrough to senior ranks with two u13 A times for 100m Freestyle (1:17.68) and 100m IM (1:29.51). This is just reward for the work Sasha has put in during the last year in particular and she will enjoy mixing with the big fish in the Senior galas.
Staying with the u-13 girls, the unluckiest swimmer had to be Emma Ryan who narrowly missed out on 2 A times in 100m Breaststroke and 100m IM. She can take consolation from the fact that her times earned her 2 B gold medals and should be confident that she can make the breakthrough soon because she, like all of this group has been training really hard.
Other medal winners in this age group were Riona Delaney, who took B Bronze for her 100m IM, and also achieved a B time for the 100m Breaststroke and Lucy Kenny, who won a C silver for Breaststroke as well as achieving 2 B times for IM and Freestyle. Last but not least, Rebecca Mooney, in her first gala at this level, won a C Gold for her 100m IM, and also earned a C time for 100m Freestyle.
The u11 girls had one medal winner, Emily Collins surprising everyone by winning B Gold for her Breaststroke with an amazing performance. It wasnt so much the fact that she swam so well that caught the eye, but the fact that she narrowly missed out on an A time. Emily capped a great morning when she achieved a C time for Freestyle as well.
The other three girls in this age group were all unlucky not to win a medal, but all of them swam really well. Lane Feane achieved a B time for her IM and C times for Breaststroke and Freestyle, Roisin Campbell earned a B time for Breaststroke and a C for her IM, and Tara Dolan made the C time standard for Breaststroke, Freestyle and IM. All three girls have age on their side and will learn greatly from competing at this level.
There were three boys in the squad in Athlone. At u13, Kevin Lannon earned two B times, with a gold medal for his IM and another B time for Breaststroke but no medal. Brian Collins won two medals, B silver for Breaststroke and C bronze for Freestyle. At u15, Conor Lane was another double medallist, with B silver for both IM and Freestyle. Congrats to coaches Mike, Seb, Marie and Mary on the success of this squad.