Swim Ulster Spring Qualifying Gala

01 Feb to 03 Feb 2019
Nine club swimmers entered this gala: they were Katie Bowden, Rebekah Gillis, Hannah Skeath, Maddie Smith, Kyle Crean Mc Kenna, John Donnelly, Darragh Hughes, Adam Lynch, Mathew Skeath. Most swimmers delivered Personal Best times, several received medals and most importantly, all gained or enhanced their qualification for summer championships.

This gala was our first in a Long Course (50m) competition pool since Summer 2018. Indeed for all it was their first swim over 50m this season. So producing improved times, familiarising themselves with the challenges of the 50m pool and getting positive feedback was important. For those not familiar with impact the different pool sizes (25m and 50m) can have on swimmers, it would be similar to playing 5 a side indoor and changing to full 11 a side on an outdoor pitch.

There was a competitive entry and nothing was given away. So to measure yourself you had to be sharp and not be half hearted about your swims. If you were, you were soon found out.

Several of our swimmers have commenced a gym programme this season. Most of those attending this gala are on the programme. The coach was looking to see if there was any benefit yet occurring from this programme. The outcome was mixed. Some swam fast in the shorter events and others produced in the longer events. So, a firm conclusion on the benefits or not of the programme are not yet possible.

Of the swimmers attending there were some very strong and eye catching swims from Adam, Hannah, Rebekah, Kyle and Maddie. John, Darragh, Matthew and Katie were solid, had improvement, but more is expected and required

Transitioning from shorter events and moving up to heavier training, requires the swimmer to adapt a few lifestyle habits, go to bed early, commit to racing hard from the gun, have your technique honed through perfect practice at training and realising that not being able to sprint the last length and win, do not work at this level. Everybody needs this reality check occasionally and the new arrivals can find this challenging initially.
The coach on the day did ask the swimmers to try out some different strategies. This worked in some cases and not so well in others. This did impact on some swims. However this is the time for testing and experimenting, in order to have the championship performance bedded in for April and the summer.

So, for the next 10 weeks the labour will be tough. There will be a few galas in the interim for different levels of swimmer, but these will not be tapered for. Instead all eyes are set on the last weekend in April and preparation is geared for this. Consequently, we have booked 5 50m Pool sessions in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin, as part of this preparation. Dates, times and arrangements are circulated internally. The results from the gala were as follows.

  • Katie Bowden: 800 Freestyle PB, 400 Freestyle PB, 200 Freestyle PB, 100 Freestyle PB, 200 Backstroke PB, 100 Backstroke PB, 100 Butterfly PB and 50 Butterfly PB.
  • Kyle Cream Mc Kenna: 100 Breaststroke Gold medal, 50 Freestyle bronze medal, 100 Freestyle PB, 50 Breaststroke Gold medal.
  • John Donnelly: 50 Freestyle bronze medal, 200 Freestyle PB, 100 Freestyle PB, 100 Breaststroke PB, 50 Breaststroke PB 50 Backstroke PB and 50 Butterfly PB.
  • Rebekah Gillis: 200 IM PB, 200 Breaststroke PB, 100 Breaststroke PB, 100 Backstroke PB and 50 Freestyle PB.
  • Darragh Hughes: 200 Breaststroke Silver medal, 100 Breaststroke PB, 100 backstroke PB 100 Freestyle PB and 50 Freestyle PB.
  • Adam Lynch: 100 Butterfly Bronze medal, 50 Backstroke Silver medal, 200 Freestyle PB 100 Freestyle PB, 200 IM PB and 100 Breaststroke PB.
  • Hannah Skeath: 200 IM PB 100 Freestyle PB and 400 Freestyle PB.
  • Mathew Sheath: 100 Breaststroke PB and 50 Butterfly PB.

Maddie Smyth: 200 IM PB, 100 Freestyle PB and 400 Freestyle PB.

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