Friday, 19 December 2014

A squad excel in UL

There has been no stopping the Coman’s Swimming Club A squad this season at Connacht level, and the two-day Connacht Age Groups Division 1 gala, held in long course format at the UL Arena, Limerick on Saturday and Sunday, 22nd and 23rd of May proved to be no exception as the club sent a team of nine swimmers in search of provincial glory.

The team took a massive 29 individual medals and two relay medals in total back to County Roscommon over the two days, with most of the team contributing to the haul, and four of the girls, Sarah Kelly, Lucy Madden, Romy Madden and Clare Geogeghan taking the title of Connacht Age Group Champion in their respective age groups as they won 13 gold medals between them.

In the 12 and under age group, Sarah Kelly was in incredible form as usual, with seven Connacht titles and a silver medal from her eight swims. Sarah won the 100m breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, with her time of 1:09.04 in the butterfly another qualifying time for the British Age Groups Championships in August and a long course personal best. Sarah also struck gold in the 200m butterfly, 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle, and took her only silver medal in the 200m backstroke. To cap a great weekend for Sarah, she received another International call-up to represent Ireland for the second time this season at the UK Schools Games to be held in September. More on this in the weeks ahead.

Sasha Hibbs is a relative newcomer at this level of the sport, and is continuing to improve. Sasha swam in six events, qualified for the final and finished sixth in the 13-year-olds’ 100m butterfly, took seven seconds off her personal best for 200m IM with 3:07.14, and also swam a personal best of 1:11.75 whilst finishing 13th in her 100m freestyle.

14-year-old Lucy Madden had a terrific weekend, taking a gold, silver and bronze medal from her six swims. Lucy became a Connacht Champion for the first time when she took the gold medal for 200m butterfly, and followed up with silver in the 100m butterfly and bronze in her 100m backstroke. She capped a very consistent performance with a fourth place in her 200m backstroke, and fifth place twice over 100m and 200m Breaststroke. Emma Ryan swam in the 14-year-old’s 100m Freestyle and proved she belongs at ‘A’ standard with an excellent 6th place in 1:11.17, a faster time than her short course personal best in her first competitive long course gala. She was also 10th over 100m breaststroke.

Also swimming in the age 14 category, Darragh Bailey had four swims and took home two silver medals from his 100m Butterfly (1:11.82, a personal best) and 800m freestyle. Darragh also had two other freestyle swims, where he was fourth over the gruelling 1500m and 5th over 100m.

Staying with the boys, Rhys Connolly had five swims in the age 15 category, and whilst very consistent, he was unlucky to come home without a medal. Rhys was fourth in his 100m and 200m breaststroke, 5th in his 200m IM, 7th over 100m freestyle, and 8th in his 100m backstroke. The other competitor at age 15 was Olivia Fullard, who had eight events over the two days. Olivia was in the medals four times, taking silver twice for her 200m backstroke and 200m butterfly, and bronze twice in her 100m and 200m butterfly. She also finished fourth three times over 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle, and finished 6th over 100m freestyle.

In the final age category, 16 and over, Clare Geoghegan and Romy Madden were right in the thick of things. Clare struck gold three times from her six swims, becoming Connacht Champion for 100m breaststroke, 200m IM (2:43.60) and 200m butterfly, and also took two silver medals for 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly, and was 5th over 100m freestyle. Romy Madden took two Connacht Championships, the 200m freestyle, where she held off team mate Clare to win in 2:19.09, a long course personal best, and the 400m IM with another personal best of 5:48.66. Romy also won four silver medals, finishing second over 200m backstroke, 100m and 200m breaststroke, and 100m freestyle, where her time of 1:03.84 was yet another personal best. Finally, Romy was fifth over 100m backstroke.

There were two relay teams among the medals, with the firls swimming at 15 and over. In the freestyle relay, Lucy Madden joined Olivia Fullard, Clare Geoghegan and Romy Madden to win silver medals, while Emma Ryan took Lucy’s place in the medley relay and the team took bronze. All in all, another very successful weekend for Team Coman’s at Connacht level.