Last Sunday the 8th February the Irish Minor Schools Championships were held in the National Aquatic Centre Dublin. This gala caters for all athletes aged 9-12 who achieved qualifying times from their provincial schools gala. Sliabh Beagh ASC had six swimmers who achieved these qualifying times at the Ulster schools gala back in October, which is an achievement in itself. As it happened however, these six swimmers were to go on and make their club, coaches and families extremely proud with all six contenders picking up medals swimming against the very best from around the whole country.
The top medal winner from the club was Connor Comiskey representing Scoil Mhuire na mBuachailli Castleblayney. Connor reaped the rewards of all his hard work by winning an astonishing two gold medals in the U12 100IM and 50m frontcrawl with two great swims.
Connors brother Matthew was not going home empty handed and he too reached two finals in the U10 50m frontcrawl and 50m breaststroke. Matthew had a superb race in the 50m frontcrawl producing a PB but it was in the Breaststroke where he was to claim a well deserved silver medal.
Another fine young swimmer Caragh Leonard was in brilliant form achieving a double medal win for her school, St. Marys Enniskillen. Caragh had an extremely close contest in the U11 50m frontcrawl finishing 2nd and then she went on to win gold in the U11 50m Breaststroke with a thrilling finish.
Claragh Mc Gahon of Scoil Naoimh Eanna Killanny, reached the finals of both the U12 100IM and the 50m Backstroke. She finished 5th in the 100IM but it was in the Backstroke were Claragh was to excel. She showed a great display of underwater work which helped her clinch the gold medal spot in a very hotly contended race.
Claraghs brother Cillian also reached two finals but ended up swimming three! Cillian was ecstatic at winning gold in the U11 100IM after putting everything into it, only to be told that the race had to be re run due to a minor technical error with the starting device. Cillian indeed swam another very brave performance but this time slipped down the medal ranking into 3rd position with a very tight finish. He also put in a good effort in the U11 50m Breaststroke finishing 8th.
Allison Gorman representing Doohamlet National school was in fine form. She had two excellent swims in the U12 50m frontcrawl and 50m Butterfly finals improving her times considerably in both races. Allison finished in a very impressive 6th place in the 50m frontcrawl. However, she had more to give and by swimming the race of her life she powered home to 3rdplace in the 50m Butterfly.
These young guns certainly did their schools proud and flew the flag high for Sliabh Beagh Swimming club at the National finals. All six swimmers deserve great credit for their achievements at this very tough competition.