JOHN DONNOLLY is crowned Ulster Senior 50m Breaststroke Champion.
The premier event of the 2019 / 2020 Ulster Short Course season was held over last weekend from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 November inclusive in Lagan Valley Leisureplex, Lisburn.
John Donnolly representing Sliabh Beagh swimming club won this very competitive event in a finish that had less that one hundredth of a second between himself and the second placed swimmer and two hundredths of a second between the 2nd and 3rd placed finisher.
John’s winning time of 30.07 was his new personal best time for this event. He had to battle with swimmers from the big 4 clubs in Ulster. These are Bangor, Ards, Lisburn and Larne.
The finish was so tight that without electronic timing, separating the top 3 would have been very challenging. To win, John had to get all elements of the event 100% in sync. The start, underwater phase into the swim, the approach to the turn, the turn, underwater phase and into the swim and then nailing the finish. There is no time to think in these sprint events, all either works or it does not. Also there is the undefinable element of composure under pressure. On this occasion, John put all the elements together and came up as the Ulster Champion for 2019.
John also picked up a Bronze medal in the 100 Breaststroke. This event was also very closely fought out by 5 swimmers. John was squeezed into third place in this event. John also made the final of the 50 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breaststroke and 50 Butterfly event.
This Meet also saw four other club swimmers in action. Faolan Campbell swam in the 50 and 100 Backstroke, making the 50 Back final and narrowly missing out in a place in the 100 Back final. Faolan set new PB times in all his events including the 50 and 100 Freestyle.
Kyle McKenna made two finals. He also swam in the 50 Free and 50m Breaststroke final. This was a big step for Kyle and again he set new Personal Best times. Kyle also swam in the 200 and 100 Breaststroke and the 50 Free.
Adam Lynch set new times in the 50, 100 and 200 Butterfly events, the 50 and 100 Back and the 50 Free. Adam set new and in a few cases, huge improvements in his Personal Best times. This was a big step up in class for Adam.
The fourth swimmer was Maddie Smith. Maddie was swimming in the 100 Breaststroke, 200 IM and 200 Breaststroke events. Maddie put in very steady and solid swims, bringing home personal best times in all events.
Finally the club also had a men’s relay team in the 4 x 50 Freestyle and the 4 x 50 Medley events. All swimmers performed to a very high level, setting very fast times. They were just pipped in both events by Lisburn in the Freestyle relay and Larne in the Medley relay races. By pipped we mean less than a second. It was hard to take but it was also a huge confidence booster for all the swimmers and the club.