Sliabh Beagh begin the 2024 Future Challengers series in fine form!

Round 3 of the Swim Ulster Future Challengers series took part last Saturday in Lisburn & seen 25 Junior swimmers from Sliabh Beagh get their 2024 series off to a fantastic start.

The first events up were the 100 & 200 Individual Medley with top three places in the 100IM were achieved by Evin Casey (1st /U10 Boys, Bronze USA Motivational Time Standard), Rian Lynch (1st /U11 Boys), Jacob McCabe (2 nd /U11 Boys), Chullain Rankin (1st /U12 Boys), Zach Mulligan (2 nd /U12 Boys) with promising personal best & first-time swims were posted by Nathan McQuillan, Mark McEntee, Eli Mohan, Darren Gillanders, while in the Boys 200IM Daithi Lynch (3rd /U12) raced to a new personal best & top
three finish.  In the Girls IM category, Cora McArdle finished third in the U10/100IM age group & earned herself a Bronze USA MTS, Hannah finished third in the U11 age group & Lily Deery finished third in the U12 age group.  Positive personal best & first-time swims were achieved by Sophie McMullen, Katie Farrell, Aoife Mullen, Adelle Fitzpatrick, Gracie May Davies, Eabha McMullen & Clodagh Connolly.

Event 2 was the Backstroke discipline was split between the 50,100 & 200 distances & again produced some fabulous swimming performances by the young Sliabh Beagh swimmers. In the Boys 100 event, top three finishes were achieved by Evin Casey (1st /U10, Silver USA MTS), Hugh Connolly (3rd /U11), while in 200 Backstroke sublime performances were set by Rian Lynch (1st /U11), Jacob McCabe (2 nd /U11) & Chullain Rankin (3rd /U12) with impressive personal best & first time swims were achieved by
Mark McEntee in the 50, Nathan McQuillan, Eli Mohan, Darren Gillanders & in the 200 Backstroke by Zach Mulligan.  In the Girls Backstroke, Cora McArdle made it two from two with another 2nd place finish & Silver USA MTS in the U10 age-group with team mate Sophie McMullen picking up a well deserve third place finish, while in the 200 Backstroke Hannah place 1st in the U11 age-group & earned her first Bronze USA MTS, with Aoife Mullen doing the same in the U12 age-group in exciting personal best times.
Encouraging personal times & first times swims were set by Katie Farrell (U10/50), Lexi Ronaghan (U11/100), Adelle Fitzpatrick (U12/100), Lily Deery & Eabha McMullen (U13/100) & Ellen Casey (U12/200).

The last individual event of the day was the 50/100 Butterfly with SB swimmers looking to finish the meet on a high beginning with the 50.  Top three places were achieved by Evin Casey (2nd /U10), Rian Lynch (2nd /U11), Jacob McCabe (3rd /U11), Daithi Lynch (2nd /100/U14) & Darren Gillanders (3rd /100/U14) with personal best & first time swims posted by Hugh Connolly (50/U11) & Eli Mohan (50/U12).  In the Girls Butterfly, top three finishes were achieved by Cora McArdle (3rd /U10) in the 50 & Lily Deery (1st /U14) & Eabha McMullen (2nd /U14) in the 100, while personal best & first time performances were achieved by Sophie McMullen, Katie Farrell (U10), Aoife Mullen & Gracie May Davis (U12) in the 50 Butterfly.

The last event of the evening proved to be an enthralling finale with Sliabh Beagh putting in four mixed 4X25, U12 relays of mixed ability & letting them battle it out with lead changing several times during the four legged race. This is in mind, Sliabh Beagh A (Aoife Mullen, Zac Mulligan, Evin Casey & Cora McArdle ) got their hand on the wall first, with Sliabh Beagh C (Chullain Rankin, Grace May Davies, Hugh Connolly, Lexi Ronaghan), second, Sliabh Beagh D (Jacob McCabe, Hannah McKenna, Eli Mohan, Sophie McMullen) third & Sliabh Beagh B (Ellen Casey, Rian Lynch, Nathan McQuillan, Katie Farrell) just behind in fourth place.

This brought to a close a very encouraging return to Open meet racing for the Junior swimmers for Sliabh Beagh swimmers after the extensive Christmas break & disruption to competition preparation due to cancelled training session as a result of the recent adverse weather conditions.   With the concluding Future Challenger Round 4 series to take place on the 2nd March, SB will very much look forward to pushing on with more racing tough performances once it comes around again.

Sliabh Beagh would like to sincerely thanks Team staff Inge Nysten, Eimear McMullen & Pearse McGuigan for their exceptional support work on the day to keep the team in a great place throughout the
duration for the competition.