Lisburn City Swimming Club
Swim Ulster Invitational/Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet Aurora Leisure Centre, Bangor 6th – 8th March, 2015.
The Dave McCullagh memorial has been running for a number of years now. Previously hosted in Limerick, in the last two years with the opening of Bangor Auroras’ 50 metre long course pool,it has been hosted as a joint venture with Swim Ulster, and as it is also an international invitational meet, the standard of competition is exceptional. It is an important meet in the swim calendar as many high performance swimmers can qualify at this competition for International Competition.
This year the meet attracted entries from all over Ireland, with teams from England and quite a few teams from Scotland attending. Lisburn City Swimming Club had 15 swimmers entered for this prestigious 3 day competition.
Day One, Friday 6th.
Lauren Walker, Rachel Bethel, Bethany Carson, Alexander Haskins, Nathan Jennings, Craig Boyce, Hannah Watson, Natasha Pollock, Sarah McCracken and Caoimhe Quinn were all competing in a total of 12 individual races.
Swim Irelands high performance team member, Bethany Carson now based in Dublins’ National Aquatic Centre was competing in her home club name. In the women’s 100 free event, Bethany and Rachel Bethel both reached the A finals. Both ladies achieved personal best times, with Rachel in 7th place overall winning an Ulster Bronze medal. Bethany in 4th place overall won an Ulster Silver medal, demonstrating a superb return to form following injury.
The Men’s 200 Fly saw Alexander Haskins and Nathan Jennings both swimming personal best times and reaching the B final. Craig Boyce swam well with a personal best time and was a reserve finalist.
In the Women’s 200 Fly, Natasha Pollock swam a personal best, Hannah Watson and Natasha both made the B final in this event.
Caoimhe Quinn and Hannah Watson swam a personal bests in the 400IM, also making the B final.
Day Two. Saturday 7th.
Natasha Pollock, Caoimhe Quinn, Nathan Jennings, Alexander Haskins, Bethany Carson, Rachel Bethel and Lauren Walker all competed in a total of 11 individual races.
Natasha Pollock reached the A final of the 50 Fly, finishing in 7th place overall.
Lauren Walker swam a personal best time in the 800 free.
Alexander Haskins reached the B final of the 200 Breast.
Caoimhe Quinn swam personal best times in both the 200 free and the 100 back.
Bethany Carson and Rachel Bethel both made the A final of the 200 free, with Bethany finishing in 1st place overall, and winning Gold. Rachel was 4th overall, and as the second fastest Ulster swimmer after Bethany, she won the Ulster Silver. Rachel’s’ time in the 200 free has secured her qualification for the European Games in Azerbaijan in June, and for the World Junior Championships in Singapore in August! Well done Rachel.
Day Three, Sunday 8th.
James Edgar, Alexandra Hunter, Victoria Hunter, Daniel Wiffen and Jamie Allison all joined the competition today, alongside Alexander, Nathan, Sarah, Caoimhe, Bethany, Craig, Lauren and Rachel making a total of 21 individual races for Lisburn on the final day of competition.
James Edgar, swimming a personal best time, Alexander Haskins and Nathan Jennings all represented the club in the mens B final of the 200 back.
Caoimhe Quinn also swam a fantastic PB making it into the Women’s 200 back A final, finding herself at age 12 racing against senior national swimmers.
Bethany Carson swam a personal best time in the women’s 200IM, making the A final, coming 2nd place overall and winning the Ulster Gold medal.
Victoria Hunter reached the B final of the Women’s 100 Fly.
There was a strong Lisburn presence in the men’s and women’s 400 Free event, with Alexander Haskins, Caoimhe Quinn, Victoria Hunter, Craig Boyce, Lauren Walker and Jamie Allison all swimming personal best times. James Edgar made the B final in this event, and Rachel Bethel, swimming a personal best time, made the A final, coming 2nd overall and as the fastest Ulster swimmer in the women’s event, winning the Ulster Gold medal. Again, Rachel’s 400 free time has qualified her for the European games in June, and World Junior Championships in August.
The swimmers were supported at the event by Head Coach Richard Gheel.
Many thanks to all the parent volunteers who took on duties at the gala, an essential element for the running of these events. Also to club members Betty Beattie and Alison Bryson who were helping out with Swim Ulster duties.
All of the above swimmers are now preparing to compete at the next championship gala which is the Ulster Age Group and Youth championships, also held at Bangor Aurora from 27th-29th March 2015. They will be joined by many more of their team mates at this event.