All posts by Claire

Information for Parents & Swimmers on Ulster/Open Galas

Download a copy of the Swim Ulster Handbook
Download a copy of the Swim Ulster Handbook

Please read this information in conjunction with reading the Swim Ulster Handbook

Swim Ulster run galas/meets from September to April each season, for children who wish to swim at a higher competitive level.


These meets are organised throughout the season to encourage young and novice swimmers to gain experience and try to achieve qualification times at longer distances in their chosen strokes.

QUALIFYING MEETS (see handbook for qualifying times- page19)

Once a swimmer has achieved 3 qualification times in 2 different events, they are eligible to enter the qualifying meets.  These galas allow the faster swimmers to achieve qualifying times for the Ulster Age Group and Youth Championships held in March each year, (see handbook for qualifying times- page26).  This is the showcase competition for junior Ulster swimmers.


This gala is for swimmers who have not made any of the qualifying standards for the Ulster Age Group and Youth Championships, which is scheduled for April.

All of the above competitions are swum as ‘age on day’.  This means each swimmer will be placed into the age category at each gala dependant on their age on that particular day.

The galas start at 9am and run all day until approximately 6pm.  It is therefore advisable to only swim either the morning session or the afternoon session.  Pool banks are very warm and children quickly get dehydrated and tired if they are on the poolside for too long.  It is also detrimental to their swimming performance and parental sanity!

Parents are responsible for the transport to and from the meets, and for their child’s well-being whilst they are there.  Swim Ulster expect competing clubs at these galas to help run them, so parents can expect to be asked occasionally to time-keep, collate results etc.


Valentines Gala Bangor

Last Saturday and Sunday 9 swimmers from the club competed in this qualifying gala (that means you must have a qualifying time in at least 2 different strokes to swim this gala). The standard was high as many swimmers attending are trying to gain times from events as diverse as the Olympic Games all the way down to the Ulster Age Group Championships. Our swimmers were aiming for the Ulster Championships and the National Division 2 qualifying standards.

All swimmers gave their best effort. However we suffered a few disqualifications in the gala. These varied from ‘moving on the blocks’ to incorrect arm action timing in Butterfly. Nevertheless effort and reward was present and all swimmers returned personal best times, bringing them into the qualification zone or lingering just outside it.

 For those not attending, the challenge is to put in a little more focused effort and enter the next Development gala and nail down the qualifying time.   We will also seek out another gala for all to attend (if possible) between March and May.  

The following are the swimmers and times from last weekend. 

100 Backstroke

  • Sean McKenna 1.30.52;
  • Claragh McGahon 1.30.81;
  • Shauna McGahon 1.23.85;

200 Butterfly

  • 3.03.71;

400 Freestyle

  • Sean McKenna 5.52.33;
  • Claragh McGahon 6.01.71;
  • Shauna McGahon 5.21.05;

200 Breaststroke

  • Colin Gorman 3.27.44;

100 Butterfly

  • 1.30.00;
  • Colin Gorman 1.32.45;
  • Caolan McGee 1.21.68;

200 IM

  • Sean McKenna 3.12.20;
  • Colin Gorman 3.11.24;
  • Caolan McGee Withdrew injured;

200 Backstroke

  • Nathan Shields 2.47.61;
  • Orla Young 3.09.40;

100 Freestyle

  • Nathan Shields 1.12.34;
  • Ciaran O’Mordha 1.05.04;
  • Orla Young 1.17.16;
  • Niamh Young 1.12.02;

100 IM 

  • Ciaran O’Mordha 1.18.57;
  • Orla Young 1.31.29;
  • Niamh Young 1.28.97.

Training in Cyprus – Update

Well the boys and Eamon are coming to the end of their hard training in Cyprus below they are pictured during part of their land training

At Ayia Nicolaos after swim session and before commencing cycle to Nicosia !!
At Paphos Gate in Nicosia having completed the 95km cycle from Ay Nik to Nicosia via Northern Cyprus (The Turkish Occupied Area). Behind the gate is the Catholic Church in Nicosoa which is located in the Buffer zone. Both community churches & centres are overseen by the Greek, Turkish & UN Forces.

Head Coach Eamon and 3 of our senior swimmers – Paddy, Paul & Damien are in Cyprus at the moment for a week training session.  The men have just completed a 4,300m session.  They were alongside the Russian Triathlon Team.  There are 24 members in the squad – male & female.  Three of which will be at the London Olympics and the rest are future olympians, but are current Junior & World Championship level athletes.   They are planning for the future and the lads believe that we at Sliabh Beagh and at National level should be thinking this way too.

This team of 24,  3 coaches,  and a manager are in Cyprus for 2 months training.  Not bad eh!!!

 Pictured below are:   the 3 lads at the 50m pool in Larnaca.  There is also a 25 m pool on site.  Ice bath Cyprus style!!!

Great Performances at the Bangor SC Winter Age Group Gala & Tallaght Open Gala

Representing the Club at the Bangor Swimming Club Winter Gala
Representing the Club The Tallaght Annual Open Gala

Two of our younger swimmers represented the Club last weekend in the Bangor Swimming Club Winter Age Group Gala and they brought home 6 GOLD MEDALS (2 Gold, 2 Silver & 2 Bronze) between them.  And the Club was also represented at the  Tallaght Annual Open Gala on Sunday 12th February 2012, and brought home  3 Gold and 1 Bronze.

Well done keep up the good work!