This gala was a qualifying gala for the Ulster Age Groups Championships. Twenty swimmers from the club entered this gala. Unfortunately, two had to withdraw due to illness.
The gala had swimmers from all over Ulster seeking times for the Ulster Championships. The new gala format, imposed this year by Swim Ireland and greatly impacted upon by the severe winter (cancelled galas), has meant swimmers are chasing times much later in the season than heretofore.
All club swimmers, from the most novice (Aoife) to the most experienced (Katie) really got themselves tuned into performing. After a brief pre gala talk by the coaches, the swimmers got focused and were ready to perform.
Margaret the Team Manager had everyone in the call room in time and ensured they had all the bits they needed to swim. All parents were very supportive and let the swimmers and coaches get on with the jobs they had.
Ita was the gala Referee and ensured everything went according to FINA and S I Rules and was fair to all. Some disqualifications were called by the officials, but no Sliabh Beagh swimmers were affected.
The Dolphin timing system was used and this is very much reliant on the accuracy of the person operating the individual item per lane. Some discrepancies can arise, whereas the full touch pad system (as we now have in the club) is 99.9 percent fool proof.
The racing saw the vast majority of our swimmers really try to apply the best technical execution. This is a factor that the club try to instil early in swimmers. Now some do slip through the coaching net, but not many. Indeed, many would think it is holding back swimmers from going faster. This idea may be further reinforced, when parents are watching swimmers from other clubs go faster than ours, while doing things carelessly. This may be true in the very short term, but long term, we are trying to produce in car terms, Mercedes standard swimmers rather than the infamous old East German Wartburg vehicle. Age group sport can be very imbalanced at this stage of development, as growth and muscle development favour the early matured physically.
Swimmers produced a 90% PB return. Those that missed out were either just shy of their existing PB or on it. This is tough to take, but in reality and when fully analysed, the reasons for the close misses are down to a few things; approach to turns, turns, underwater work into exits and stroke execution. Everybody in this gala can swim, but if you are efficient you have saved energy for power and speed retention. If you are careless or sloppy, you burn up that energy, thus making the achievement of your goal more challenging. Other aspects that have relevance of course are frequency at training and recent illness.
However, while both Ian and Eamon were very please and delighted for the swimmers and really congratulated them on their efforts, the performances that really nailed the technical aspects were by Conor, Darragh, Rebekka and Molly. The swims that showed true grit were by Sheenagh, Katie, Ruadhan, Susie, Ellen, Daniel, Hannah x 2, Matthew and Maddie. These swimmers are really improving, getting out of their comfort zones and need to modify a little their skill execution. Such things as EVF, under water work, streamlining, acceleration throughout the pull and kick. Keep at it, you are nearly there.
The remaining swimmers are true novices and getting through the race, over unfamiliar longer distances was their primary goal. This they did achieve and if they and or the parents were watching our other swimmers, they would have seen them strive to execute the technical elements as best they could. This is the next stage for Aisling, Tadgh, Aoife and Georgina. So very well done to you all.
UAG, National Community Games Finals, Stuttgart, Division 2 and Division 1 are up ahead. So keep working folks!!!
Well done to Katie Bowden, Connor Curren, Ruadhan Curren, Aisling Duffy, Darragh Hughes, Daniel Madden, Ellen McGeough, Sheenagh McKenna, Aoife McKenna, Susie O Flaherty, Rebecca Pim, Hannah Sheridan, Hannah Skeath, Mathew Skeath,Maddie Smith, Molly Smith and Georgina Walker.