All posts by Claire

Aspiring Series excellence for Sliabh Beagh

Last Saturday, seen the Sliabh Beagh senior swimmers take to the pool in their first open meet of the season in the first round of the Aspiring Series which was held in the grand Lisnasharragh Leisure
Centre in Belfast.  With the Aspiring Series focusing on swimmers aged 13 year and older, this meet gave swimmers an opportunity to post early season confidence swims as well as qualifying for the Ulster short course championships in November or the Irish National Winter championships in December.

Like the Future Challengers two weeks previously, the Aspiring Series applied the USA Motivational tables for podium performance results which rewarded not just the top three in each age-group and
event, but those swimmers who achieved an International approved time standard from the top competing swimming nation in the world which is no mean feat!

Getting the meet off to a blistering start, Adam Lynch posted a Gold podium swim in the 17 and older age-group 800 Freestyle, while the 100 Backstroke proved to a very productive event with silver podium places for Sean Greenan in the 15/16 age-group and Darragh Hughes in the 17 and older age-group, with Edvardas Zumaras and Kristupas Januskevic achieving Bronze places in the same age-group.  In the girls 200 Backstroke, a personal best and bronze podium was posted by Katherine Ryan in the 15/16
age-group.  In the 200 Individual Medley, a super gold podium place finish was attained by Darragh Hughes, while strong silver podium places were gained by Sean Greenan and Adam Lynch, with
Kristupas Januskevic picking up an unexpected bronze podium.  In Girls 100 Breaststroke, Katherine Ryan impressed with a silver podium place, while there was more golden delight for Darragh Hughes in the 100 Freestyle, with Kristupas Januskevic and Sean Greenan adding more silver podiums and Edvardas Zumaras a bronze in the same event in their respective age-groups.  In the last event of first session, stellar 200 Butterfly swims were set with a gold podium place by Adam Lynch and bronze podium place finish by Edvardas Zumaras, while Matthew McQuaid set fine personal best swims in the 200IM and 100 Freestyle and brought to an end a first class session of racing for Sliabh Beagh swimmers.


In Session two, Sliabh Beagh picked up where it left off with big personal best swims in the girls 100 Individual Medley for Katherine Ryan, while the boys 100 Butterfly provided cracking swims by Adam Lynch who won gold, with Sean Greenan and Darragh Hughes winning silver each in their respective age-groups. In the 200 Breaststroke, more personal best swims were posted by Kristupas Januskevic and Matthew McQuaid, while Darragh Hughes secured another gold podium in the 17 and older age-group, and Adam Lynch won silver. In the 400 Freestyle, Sean Greenan bagged silver in the 15/16 age-group and in the gruelling 400 Individual Medley, Katherine Ryan achieved bronze.  In the flying 50 Freestyle, there was double gold for Adam Lynch and Darragh Hughes, while Kristupas Januskevic and Sean Greenan won double silver in their respective age-groups and Matthew McQuaid set a splendid
personal best swim in his last race off of the day.

This brought to a close a very accomplished day of performances for all the competing Sliabh Beagh swimmers who go back to hard training in preparation for the forthcoming regional and national meets as well as the exciting Sliabh Beagh Invitational cluster meet which will take place at the start of December.

Sliabh Beagh would like to extend sincere thanks to the team staff of Head Coach Pearse and Team Manager Kim for their professional and diligent work in supporting the swimmers on the day, and lastly to the wonderful travelling SB parents who selflessly represented the club in their official and volunteer duties that ensured the smooth running of the Swim Ulster event.

Future Challengers excitement for Sliabh Beagh

Last Sunday seen the younger swimmers from Sliabh Beagh make a big splash at the first Swim Ulster Future Challengers series held in South Lakes, Craigavon.  With the Future series focusing on swimmers aged U14 with four meets held through the season, this first meet was anticipated with great excitement for swimmers getting a chance to post some fast swimming times short course early season.  With some thirty swimmers representing Sliabh Beagh, the club was well represented through the various age-
groups and this season the series held an extra level of intrigue with the adoption of USA swimming motivational tables that embraced a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal podium standard accolade for
swimmers in each event.

First event up was the 100 and 200 Individual Medley, were excellent bronze medal podium places were achieved by Rian Lynch, Hugh Connolly, Jacob McCabe and Lexi Ronaghan in the U10 100IM age-group, and by Sophia Vergnano and Riya George in the U12 and U13 200IM respectively.  Superb Silver podium places were posted in the 100IM by Hannah McKenna (U10) and in the 200IM by Owen
Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty (U12).

Backstroke was the second event up with wonderful bronze podium places being set by Lexi Ronaghan, Jacob McCabe, Hugh Connolly (U10), Sophia Vergnano (U11), Clodagh McCabe and Egan Hearty
(U12), Riya George (U13) in the 100 Backstroke and Eabha McMullen in the 200 Backstroke, while silver podium finishes were masterfully delivered by Hannah McKeena and Rian Lynch in the U10 100 Backstroke and by Owen Fitzpatrick in the U12 in the 200 Backstroke.

The last individual event of the meet was the Butterfly discipline were bronze podium finishes were performed by Egan Hearty and Owen Fitzpatrick in the U12 100 Butterfly.   Not to be outshone, promising personal best performances achieved by Chullain Rankin, Zac Mulligan, Gracie May Davies, Adelle Fitzpatrick, Colm Duffy, Darren Gillanders, Daithi Lynch, Ridas Zelvys, Matthew Mohan, Charlie Duffy, Ellen Casey, Aofe Mullen, Aoife Duffy, Shannon McDonnell, Lily Deery, Clodagh Connolly, Clodagh McCabe, Ellie Mulligan and Millie Skeath.

This concluded a very rewarding first Open meet outing for the young SB swimmers and the club would like to congratulate all the swimmers for their exceptional endeavours on the day as well as thanking the team staff of coach Ciaran and support chaperones Laura and Fionnuala for keeping the swimmers in tune with the demands of the event.

Sliabh Beagh start the PTL series with positive Round One success!

Sliabh Beagh started off their Division Three Swim Ulster Provincial League series last Saturday with a positive round one win against a very promising Lecale team from Downpatrick.

With this being the first competitive opportunity for both teams since late June/early July all the races were keenly contested by the home and away team with the top two finishers in the relays and the top four finishers in the individual events determining valuable points throughout the Dual meet, Sliabh Beagh made a strong showing across the board in all four age-groups In the first event of the evening, the mixed Medley relay events provided a great start for Sliabh Beagh with strong top point places for the Group A (U10) team made up of Rian Lynch, Evin Casey, Hannah McKenna and Lexi
Ronaghan, Group B (U12) the team of Owen Fitzpatrick, Clodagh McCabe, Egan Hearty and Lily Deery, Group C (U14) made up of Justas Jurusas, Ridas Zelvys, Riya George and Ellie Mulligan, while Group D (15+) team of Sean Greenan, Darragh Hughes, Aisling Duffy and Katherine Ryan made it a clean sweep in the double points events.

The 50 Backstroke represented the first individual event of the competition where Sliabh Beagh built on the momentum of the Mixed Medley relays with one/two finishes from Hannah McKenna and Lexi Ronaghan, Rian Lynch and Jacob McCabe (U10), and in the U12 age-group by Lily Derry and Clodagh McCabe, Owen Fitzpatrick
and Egan Hearty.  In the U14 age-group, Lecale dominated the girls event with Sliabh Beagh swimmers Riya George and Ellie finishing second and fourth respectively, while in the U14 Boys age-group, Justas Jurusas and Ridas Zelvys making in a one/two finish and in the Group D category, Katherine Ryan placed first and Aisling Duffy
third in the girls event, while Adam Lynch and Sean Greenan finished second and third respectively behind Lecale’s extremely fast Ulster short course 50 Backstroke champion, Daniel Mulholland. Promising Backstroke swims were posted by Katie Farrell, Nathan McQuillan, Aoife Mullen, Zach Mulligan, Clodagh Connolly, Charlie
Duffy, Hannah Sheridan and Edvardas Zumaras.

In the 50 Breaststroke, Lexi Ronaghan, Hannah McKenna, Evin Casey and Hugh Connolly continued top points for the A age-groups with one/two finishes in both categories. In Group B, Clodagh McCabe and Sophia Vergnano made it one/two finish, while in the Boys age-group Owen Fitzpatrick placed first and Daithi Lynch third in another strong showing for Group B. In the Group C age-group, Millie Skeath and Ellie Mulligan finished second and fourth
respectively, while Justas Jurusas and Ridas Zelvys continued their top point finishes with another one/two place finish. In Group D, Katherine Ryan and Hannah Sheridan finished second and fourth respectively, while Darragh Hughes and Adam Lynch finished second and third in another fast race against the sublime Daniel Mulholland from Lecale. Excellent Breaststroke swims and just outside the points were achieved by Cora McArdle, Jacob McCabe, Eabha McMullen, Colm Duffy, Aoife Duffy, Matthew Mohan, Sophie Neeson and Matthew McQuaid.

In the 50 Butterfly, Hannah McKenna and Rian Lynch secured top finishes and points in the A Group age-group while Lexi Ronaghan and Evin Casey both finished third in their categories in very tight finishes. Group B produced strong results with Clodagh McCabe and Egan Hearty winning both events, with Lily Deery finishing second and Owen Fitzpatrick fourth respectively. In the Group C age-group, Riya George and Justas Jurusas took top points with Ellie Mulligan each placed fourth ensuring Sliabh Beagh kept ahead of Lecale in the Butterfly discipline, while Aisling Duffy and Katherine Ryan finished third and fourth respectively in the Group D girls category, and Adam Lynch and Darragh Hughes made it a first one/two finish in their age-group. Encouraging Butterfly swims were set by Cora McArdle, Nathan McQuillan, Aoife Mullen, Chullain Rankin, Aoife Duffy, Charlie Duffy, Hannah Sheridan and Edvardas Zumaras.

The 50 Freestyle produced strong results for Sliabh Beagh with first place finishes for Hannah McKenna and Hugh Connolly in Group A and important point finishes for Lexi Ronaghan who finished fourth and Rian Lynch who finished second. In the Group B age-group, Lily Deery and Clodagh McCabe finished one/two, while Owen Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty finished first and third respectively in a very competitive race. In the Group C events, Riya George and Ellie Mulligan place second and fourth respectively, while Justas Jurusas and Ridas Zelvys made it their third one/two place finish scoring invaluable points, and in the Group D events fast finishes and exciting racing were produced with Aisling Duffy and Katherine Ryan finishing third and fourth respectively, while Adam Lynch and Darragh Hughes placed second and third. First class Freestyle swims were achieved by Sophie McMullen, Jacob McCabe, Ellen Casey, Chullain Rankin, Clodagh Connolly, Darren Gillanders, Sophie Neeson and Kristupas Januskevious.

In the last of the individual events, the 100 Individual Medley proved to be superb event for Sliabh Beagh.  In the Group A age-group Hannah McKenna, Lexi Ronaghan, Evin Casey and Rian Lynch made it a one/two in both events and maximum points. In Group B, Clodagh McCabe, Sophia Vergnano, Owen Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty made it another one/two finish in both events and top points, while in Group C Riya George and Millie Skeath finished third and fourth respectively and Justas Jurusas and Ridas Zelvys placed first and second for the fourth time on the night! In Group D, Katherine Ryan and Hannah Sheridan placed second and fourth, while on the last individual event of the night, Adam Lynch and Darragh Hughes took first and second top honours in excellent swims. Outstanding individual medley races were performed by Sophie McMullen, Hugh Connolly, Eadha McMullen, Daithi Lynch, Ellie Mulligan, Charlie Duffy, Aisling Duffy and Sean Greenan.  With the Mixed Freestyle relays being the last events on the night, Sliabh Beagh produced an array of wonderful results with first place finishes in Group A (Rain Lynch, Lexi Ronaghan, Hannah McKenna and Hugh Connolly),
Group B (Owen Fitzpatrick, Clodagh McCabe, Lily Deery and Egan Hearty), Group C (Justas Jurusas, Ridas Zelvys, Ellie Mulligan and Riya George) and Group D (Adam Lynch, Darragh Hughes, Katherine Ryan and Aisling Duffy) ensuring a fantastic end to the meet for the home team.  With the Freestyle relay finishes greatly helping the final points tally, Sliabh Beagh secured a 537-415 win and got
their PTL series up and running against a very gallant Lecale team.

With warm and inspiring speeches being shared by both teams, Sliabh Beagh would like to congratulate this season’s Club Captains, Aisling Duffy and Edvardas Zumaras and wish them the very best in their leadership roles on the night and for the season.

With Round one completed, round two will be a massive challenge for Sliabh Beagh where they have an extremely tough road trip to Limavady next weekend which promises to be a nail-biter and will no doubt have a huge bearing on the Division Three promotion stakes.

2023 Irish Youth & Senior Summer National Championships

A squad of eight Sliabh Beagh swimmers travelled to Dublin to compete in the prestigious 2023 Irish Youth and Senior Summer National Championships where they were joined by around 1125 of Ireland’s top swimmers from around 120 clubs. Achieving qualification times for this meet and to participate at the highest level of National competition is an achievement in itself.

Day one saw Adam Lynch swim in the 200m freestyle event where he achieved a 2.41 second personal best, finishing 4th in his heat while Hayden James posted a 1.90 second personal best and got their competition off to great start. Swimming in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke, Katherine Ryan set a new best time in the U15 age-group while in the U17 age-group Rebekah Gillis started positivity in the same event. Swimming in the tough 800m freestyle event, Sean Greenan took an impressive 3.57 seconds off his previous best in the U15 age-group while in the U16 gae-group Hayden James knocked a whopping 14.21 seconds off his previous time and with both performances placed both boys in the Top 10 in their age-groups at National level. In the men’s 100m Breaststroke, Darragh Hughes had a excellent swim in the 100 Breaststroke finishing agonising fourth in the U17 age-group in an exciting race finish.

Day 2 saw Rebekah Gillis return to complete in a very competitive 50m freestyle event posting a 0.2 second PB, while Hayden James dropped his personal time by another 0.28 with both swimmers excelling in the shorter sprint event. In the 200m Backstroke Sean Greenan bagged himself an impressive 5.95 second PB, earning a place in the B final and finished 18th overall, while Edvardas Zumaras set a fantastic 2.83 seconds personal best time in the same event in the U16 age-group. The 100m Butterfly proved to be a very popular even for five Sliabh Beagh swimmers with Sean Greenan, Hayden James and Edvardas Zumaras all posting  1-3 second performance best improvements in their age-groups. In the U17 age-group Darragh Hughes held form in his age-group in the same event , while Adam Lynch finished in the Top 20 and a B Final finish.

Day 3 saw exceptional performances in the Boys 100 Freestyle by Sean Greenan, Hayden James and Adam Lynch who again set personal best times across the trio of swims by between 1-3 seconds. In the 200 Breaststroke, Sean Greenan set a huge personal best time by some 5 seconds with a second swim and B final place in U15 age-group, while Darragh Hughes set a new personal best in the 200 Breaststroke and A final berth and Katherine Ryan finished off her summer nationals racing with a super personal best and B final swim in the Girls U15 age-group.

Day 4 was another day to impressive day of racing starting off with encouraging swims in the Girls 100 Freestyle by Rebekah Gillis and Aoibhin MacCinna in the U17 age-group.  In the Boys 400m freestyle, Sean Greenan set a new personal best time while Adam Lynch finished 11th U18 200 Butterfly. In the final event of the day, Darragh Hughes had a fantastic swim in the 50 Breaststroke, setting a new personal best time of 30.83 in the Open B final and finishing fourth in the U17 age-group.

Day 5 of the meet saw Aoibhin MacCinna compete in the women’s 100m backstroke, with Sean Greenan and Edvardas Zumaras posting new personal best times in same event in their respective age-groups. In the 200 Individual Medley, Adam Lynch won his heat in great fashion in a new personal best time by nearly three seconds but Adam’s best swim of the meet came in the 50 Butterfly when he posted a sublime personal time of 26.12 to get a B final swim and bring his summer nationals to brilliant end.

Sliabh Beagh would like congratulate all the swimmers for their swimming and performance endeavours during the course of this exceptionally demanding event as the team looks to build on the progress for next season.  Finally, Sliabh Beagh would like to thank the support team of parents, club administrators, sponsors and Coral Leisure for helping with the team’s preparation for this national meet, as well as Head coach Pearse McGuigan for his coaching guidance and direction throughout the season as well as the five days of this year’s summer Nationals.


Irish National Age Group Championships 2023


At the Irish Age-Group swimming championships held in the University of Limerick Arena last weekend, Sliabh Beagh swimmer Owen Fitzpatrick top honours placing second and  a silver podium finish in the U12 200 Backstroke at thee premier Irish meet for young developing swimmers. This was fantastic performance by Owen who also set a new personal best time along the way in achieving the result. Not to be undone with this swim, Owen also made A finals in the 100 Backstroke and 200 IM as well as achieving a second place B final finish in the 50 Freestyle and concluded a remarkable competition and season for the swimmer.

With Sliabh Beagh represented by four swimmers at the competition, in the Girls U13 age-group Riya George had a super meet setting personal best times in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly as well as achieving a B final and top 20 finish in 100 Butterfly.  In the Boys U13 age-group, Ridas Zelvys in his maiden swim on Day One, smashed his personal best by some three seconds in the 100 Breaststroke. Sliabh Beagh’s fourth swimmer competing at the meet Justas Jarusas had a wonderful competition, competing in five events and achieved five personal times from five swims in the 50 and 100 Freestyle, 100 and 200 Backstroke and 200IM in some brilliant personal performance progressions.

This brought to a close a magnificent competition for these young promising Sliabh Beagh swimmers as they look to take the experiences from this national event into next season and preparing to improve on their personal best achievements from this season.