16 swimmers had qualification standards for the Dave McCullagh meet being held in Northern Ireland for the first time.
The team consisted of Bethany Carson, Fiona Cash, Alexandra Hunter, Victoria Hunter, Natasha Pollock, Chloe Richards, Hannah Watson, Paige McKeown, Zoe Dickey, Sarah McCracken, Peter Sands, Keelan Logan, James Edgar, Chris Loan and Alex Haskins. Rachel Bethel competed as part of the Irish Team in the Celtic Dual with Scotland. The number of swimmers qualifying is an example of the continued improvement within the club under the direction of Head Coach Richard Gheel and his coaching team and the hard work and discipline of the swimmers.
Below is an update on how our swimmers performed with some personal comments by them on their experience.
Alexandra Hunter has qualified for this prestigious event previously held in Limerick and qualified for the meet in Bangor in the following swims – 100 fly, 200fly, 200 free, 400 free and 400 IM . 200 free 1 second pb. 200 fly – qualified for the B final securing a fantastic 5th place in this open event. Alexandra also represented the club in the relays where together with the other girls put in a tremendous effort against some very talented relay teams from Scotland, Ireland and locally.
Victoria Hunter competed in this meet for the first time after securing a terrific 5 qualification times in the 200 fly, 100 fly, 200 IM, 200 free and 100 free. Victoria performed well in this Long Course meet securing a 2 second pb in the 200IM. At aged 13 Victoria was one of the younger members of the Lisburn team.
Club Captain Peter Sands enjoyed his first LC meet at Bangor. Peter qualified to swim many events but due to study commitments competed in 4 events.
His highlights were a Ulster silver medal and British Youth Qualifying time in the 400 IM and an Ulster silver medal in 200 Back in a new club record.
Alex Haskins attended his first Dave MCCullagh meet after achieving 5 qualifying times. 200 Fly 2.25 second pb and Long Course Nationals qualifying time. 200 Breast 4.63 second pb securing a place in the B final. 400IM 12.10 second pb, place in the B final, Long Course Nationals qualifying time and Ulster Squad qualifying time. 200 Back, still swimming slower than his pb but persevering. 400 Free 6.32 second pb.
Christopher Loan was delighted to qualify for the Dave Mccullagh gala for the first time. He swam in four events, the 1500free, 400IM, 200back & 400free. Unfortunately he didn’t swim any pbs (due to a break in training) but did enjoy the event and is looking forward to the Long Course Nationals in April.
Keelan Logan qualified for his first Dave MCCullagh meet.”I was only able to do 3 swims at the gala due to school sport commitments. In my favourite event the 200 fly I made the B final and got a pb of 2:17:27. I was also the second Ulster finisher in the event so I got a silver medal. In the 100 fly I got another pb of 1:02:50. In my final event - the 400 free I had a bad swim which reminded how much harder I need to work in training, especially in kick sets.
Sarah McCracken qualified for this meet with her strong breast stroke events. Sarah secured a long course pb in her 200 breast before representing lisburn City in the Medlay relay.
Chloe Richards had a mixed weekend due to an injury. Chloe swam the fly and backstroke events and represented Lisburn in the relays. Chloe secured a British Youth qualification standard in her 100 backstroke.
Female Club captain Paige McKeown swam the 400 free event securing a 2 second pb.
Hannah Watson had 3 entry times for this meet. Hannah is enjoying her first injury/illness free season for some time and training hard and was pleased to swim on her personal bests in 200 fly, 400IM and 400 free. “Even though I didn’t PB I still enjoyed the experience, especially since I was in Hannah Miley’s heat of the 200 fly which I was first reserve for B final.”
Natasha Pollock smiled her way through the weekend after securing a pb in her 100fly to make the A final where she swam a qualifying time for British Youth. 50 fly B final and pb. 200 Fly – secured a 1 second pb in both the heats and again in the A final. Natasha also qualified for the B final in her 200 IM
Fiona Cash struggled with a heavy cold all weekend. She swam 3 events and the relay before succumbing to her virus. Despite illness Fiona secured 2 pbs in her 400 IM and 800 free
Zoe Dickey was Lisburn’s youngest qualifier for this meet and enjoyed the experience of swimming 50 backstroke.
James Edgar had a busy weekend swimming Friday and Saturday in Bangor before heading off for a triathlon training event on the Sunday. James swam well in his 400 IM and 1500 free securing a 3 second pb in his 1500 freestyle.
Rachel Bethel had a busy weekend swimming for Ireland in the Celtic dual with Scotland, in both individual events and the relays. Rachel secured Long course pbs in her 100 and 200 free making both A finals. 400 and 800 free 3 and 4 second improvement on her entry time. 100 back on her entry time and pb in her 200 back. 100 fly 4 second pb. In the relay events Rachel, as part of the Irish team, secured a silver medal in the 800 free relay and Gold in the 400 free.
Many of these swimmers are back training hard for Irish Long Course Nationals after Easter. The qualification standards for this meet are really tough and they have one more opportunity to secure entry time at the Ulster Age Group and Youth championships in Bangor at the end of March.
Good luck to all.