There was a great turnout despite the poor weather on Sunday November 28th last for the Roscommon Graded Gala, which was held at Roscommon Leisure Centre.
The beginning of the recent cold snap failed to put off visiting swimmers from Athlone, Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford as Comanís Swimming Club hosted this regional event. Swimmers from the four clubs were competing against each other and the clock with 100m races in breaststroke, individual medley and freestyle and a 200m freestyle in 11 and under, 12-13 and 14 and over age groups for boys and girls, with A times the main target as the developing swimmers aimed for promotion to the top level of regional competition. The usual medals for B and C times were also on offer.
The boys under 11s were first up for their breaststroke. There were no A times in this event, but Ben Cummins (4th in 1:50.77), Mikey Moran (6th in 1:53.55) and Sam Connolly (7th in 1:56.70) all registered B times without winning medals. The under 11 girls event saw Meabh Tiernan win the B bronze medal in 1:52.73, with Jenni Kilduff registering the 4th fastest B time in 1:53.75, and Rebecca Carroll was 7th in 1:56.09.
Kevin Lannon took the first A certificate of the day when he won the boys 12-13yrs 100m breaststroke in 1:37.02, almost five seconds inside the A standard, while Emma Lalwani was 4th fastest in the girls 12-13 section where her B time of 1:50.62 just failed to earn her a medal.
The individual medley races proved to be very fruitful for the Comanís team. Ciaran Regan (1:36.09) and Sam Connolly (1:36.67) both earned their A certificates as they were well inside the under 11 standard of 1:40.00. Ben Moran took the C silver medal in 1:58.59. The under 11 girls fared even better, with Tara Dolan (1:36.95), Roisin Campbell (1:38.52) and Michelle Farrell (1:39.77) all achieving the A standard, while Jenni Kilduff won the B gold medal in 1:40.13, and Rebecca Carroll took the B silver in 1:40.98. Brian Collins achieved an A time in the boys 12-13 years 100m IM, his time of 1:30.18 well inside the standard of 1:35.00, while Rebecca Mooney (1:37.92) won the B gold medal in the girls 12-13 yrs event, and Emma Lalwani had the 4th fastest B time with her swim of 1:38.80.
Nine-year-old Ciaran Regan made another A time in the boys under 11 100m Freestyle when he won the event in 1:21.74. Ben Cummins took the B gold medal in 1:24.03, with Sam Connolly (10) taking the B bronze in 1:25.70. Ben Moran had the 4th fastest C time, 1:37.09 not enough for a medal for the nine-year-old.
There were no A times for the under 11 Girls, with four of the Comanís team finishing in a row in the B section. Tara Dolan won the B bronze medal in 1:24.61, followed by Michelle Farrell (4th in 1:26.18), Jenni Kilduff (5th in 1:28.08) and Rebecca Carroll
(6th in 1:28.37). Roisin Campbell took the C silver medal in 1:33.95, while Emily Collins won the C bronze medal in 1:34.34. All of the 12-13 year olds and 14 and overs won medals in their 100m freestyle races. There were gold medals for the girls 11 and under 4 x 50m medley relay team as they held off a strong Athlone challenge to win by a second, whilst the boys 11 and under medley relay squad took silver medals behind Athlone. The Boys 12-13 year olds gained revenge, however, as they easily beat the Athlone Squad by eight seconds to win gold medals.
For the first time ever, Comanís could host this event with a full set of starting blocks on deck thanks to the hard work of their committee over the past three years. Also vital to the hosting of the gala were the support and technical assistance of Patricia Cleary from the Connacht Region Committee, Mr Sean Mooney and his staff at Roscommon Leisure Centre, Thanks also to the clubís sponsors for 2010/11, Regan Engineering, Strokestown, who sponsored hoodies for the swimmers and P Connolly and Sons, Roscommon, who sponsored T-shirts for the Irish Age Group qualifiers and all who volunteered to help as officials and provide refreshments. Watch out for the Comanís swimmers who will be carol singing in Roscommon on December 23rd, in and around the Harrison Centre from 3 pm. They have the X-Factor in the pool, so please support them in this fund raising effort. Log on to www.swimcomans.com for more information.