This gala is where young or developing swimmers get experience of racing under the watchful gaze Swim Ireland Officials, the beady eyed coaches watching for streamlining and under water travel qualification and eager parents hoping to see their children progress.
This gala was postponed from the “snowed in weekend.” A huge entry of 700 swimmers, from all over Ulster, was managed and very efficiently run by the above mentioned officials and club volunteers and the excellent 8 lane Newry pool.
Sliabh Beagh had 18 swimmers hoping to get a number of things done. These varied from being passed by the beady eyed coaches for successfully passing the required streamlining under water test for under 12 swimmers to progress to more competition. Others were looking to achieve new PBS and finally some were hoping to get PBS that would give them access to Ulster Qualifying galas, Division 2 National championships or the Ulster Age Group Championships.
Previously successful under water streamlining swimmers were Conon Curran, Hannah Sheridan, Ellen McGeough, Hannah Skeath. On this occasion Darragh Hughes, Alice Trainor, Susie O’Flaherty, Katie Trainor, Maddie Smith joined the successful swimmers.
Experience plays an important part in all this development and it takes a lot of application by the coaches and swimmers to get this subtle but very important work done in training, for it to emerge in competition. Attending galas with these key objective in mind and applying them during the race, regardless of age take time to implement. All are working on these key points and the club swimmers are also beginning to see their relevance.
As well as trying for the Streamline qualification, the above swimmers and those not requiring it were looking for PBs. A requirement the club coaches put on all swimmers was the absolute need to 1. Stay down off the walls to at least beyond the flags and 2. Come up swimming before going for air. Those that did this, really delivered. Those that did it a bit, had less success.
90% of our swimmers achieved PBS in every swim. The 10% that did not were very close and have a little modification to do to make it 100%. A few had massive PBS and a few while having PBS were a bit disappointed because they were just short in getting the illusive Ulster or Div 2 qualifying time. The advice here is: pay attention to the turns, starts, breakouts and work at the correct intensity when at training and the times will look after themselves.
The coaches were delighted to observe and report that effort, application, keenness, improving skill levels and post race reflection were very evident.
Some medals were taken home. Great team cohesion was evident. Margaret had the swimmers well organised and in place for their swims. The volunteer parents were magnificent in their roles and Ian dipped his toe into feedback with the swimmers.
Coach Eamon and Ian attended this gala and a feedback sheet has been circulated to all club coaches for attention at training.
Well done to everyone who took part. Connor Curran, Eanna Curran, Ruadhan Curran, Aisling Duffy, Rebekah Gillis, Darragh Hughes, Tadgh Lennon, Adam Lynch, Ellen Mc Geogh, Cormac Mc Mahon, Sean Mc Connon, Susie O Flaherty, Pat O Shaughnessy, Oran O Caolain, Hanna Sheridan, Hanna Skeath, Maddie Smith, Alice Trainor, Katie Trainor.