The Sliabh Beagh Masters Gala was held in Coral Leisure Complex on Saturday last the 25 Jan 2020. This was our 3rd Annual Gala. In total 98 swimmers entered the event. Most swam in at least 3 different events. Some very proficient swimmers were entered and performing. Races were tight, skills were demonstrated and for the more novice swimmer, there was learning through observing the ‘experts’ and in the doing themselves.
The events offered ranged from 50m to 800m and all strokes were included. The club ran the gala using our electronic timing system which means the times are acceptable for entry to Provincial, National, European or World events and recognition of records (if any).
The gala commenced on time at 1245 and finished on time, just after 6 pm. In the middle we had a 1 hour rest and medal presentation opportunity.
Records were set and have to be claimed by a few swimmers. Swim Ireland have to authenticate these, before we can register them.
In this gala we were fortunate to have a number of high profile Irish Masters swimmers such as Charlotte Reid, Dympna Morris and Marie Keane.
However more importantly we had a big entry from Monaghan swimmers. The club currently run a Masters training session every Friday night. This session has been running for the last 3 years, initially as a Waterpolo session, but it has evolved into a Masters’ session. Men and women from all over Co. Monaghan and neighbouring counties, are now attending and the numbers has increased from 6 to 26.
The philosophy is to help people to improve their swim skills, so that they can enjoy this very body friendly exercise throughout life. Also it builds fitness, skill, speed and endurance for those who want to swim in pool competitions, Open water races in the summer and also triathlons, in the summer and autumn.
Ulster clubs were very supportive with big numbers coming from Lurgan Masters and nice numbers from Ards, Coleraine, Marlins, Lisburn and Templemore clubs. Other clubs with swimmers in big and small numbers came from Aer Lingus, Kilkenny, St. Comans, Roscommon, Longford, Dublin Swimming Club, Clontarf, Kingdom and Nenagh.
Last year we had nine swimmers from the club competing. This year we had 17. These included Eithna, Aoife, Jennifer, Deirdre, Carmel, Denise, Carl, Alan, Sean, Joe, Peter, Colm, Kevin, Gavin, Colum, Marc and Aidan. Our team swam with passion, intensity, fear, bravery and a great attitude. Most picked up medals of various colours in their age group. We also had relay teams, and these were very competitive and great fun and excitement as the lead changed with the stroke.
One club, Dublin Swimming Club had four swimmers who were born and reared in Monaghan, but now live and work in Dublin. Gerard, Colin and Celine Monahan and Dermot Marron swam very well and had some staunch supporters in the gallery, filming their swims.
The specialist Skins event this year required the fastest qualifiers to swim medley events. This was challenging but the most competent swimmers emerged the winners. The process is 6 male and 6 female swimmers swim off every 90 seconds. The last finisher is eliminated. The last swimmer standing wins. This year Charlotte Reid won the women’s event and Peter O’Hara won the men’s event.
To make an event like this work requires people. The people who really put the shoulder to the wheel are: Maura, Louise, Emer, Brenda, Margaret, Alisha, Aidan, Leon, Sean, Liz and all the Inter and Senior Swimmers who assisted in timekeeping duties. Big thanks for our head coach and chief Eamon for running the gala with ease and reassurance. Word of thanks to Chris and the team at Coral Leisure Centre for the use of a fantastic facility.
Praise and thanks were effusive from all our visiting competitors who were delighted and appreciative of the can do and supportive approach by our club to ensure all had a good day.
Finally we must thank the Swim Ireland officials who made this work. These people are essential to the validity and meeting FINA standards. We thank Frank, Gina, Ita and June for their professionalism, efficiency and expertise.
Looking forward to seeing you all next year!
Links to the results are below, for queries please contact Maura at firstname.lastname@example.org.