It was a case of “divide and conquer” for the Laois Marlins recently, as the club’s A Squad swimmers went to the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin, while swimmers from the B, C and D squads travelled to nearby Portarlington to compete.
The Portarlington Gala generated huge excitement, producing tremendous individual and team performances. While most of the 15 competitors were experienced gala-goers, it was a particularly memorable occasion for 4 young swimmers for whom it was their first ever competitive gala.
Ross Doyle, following in the footsteps of his talented A-squad member brother Mathew, took gold in the 50m Back Stroke and 50m Breast Stroke as well as winning silver in the 50m Free Style. Faith Bennett came second in 50m Free Style and in the 50m Back Stroke and third in the 50m Breast Stroke. Micheal Culleton came second in the 50m Breast Stroke. Ellie Culliton also swam very well and is already looking forward to the next outing.
As always the relays generated the loudest reactions, as poolside parents lifted the roof with cheers of support. Laois Marlins had two relay teams competing. First team out- Sinead Ni Chuinn, Iseult Bracken, Alice Carew and Ami Pretorius took gold in the Medley Relay, and silver in the Freestyle relay.
The second team of Toni Dolan, Ellen Donoghue, Zara McMahon and Ellen Garvey took gold in the Freestyle Relay and silver in the Medley Relay.
In the senior section Emma Statin came second in the 50m Breast Stroke, and Christopher Carew took gold in the 50m Breast Stroke and 50m Butterfly, knocking an incredible 14 seconds off his previous times. Billy Mae Geoghan also performed very well.
Medals also went to- Ellen Donoghue 50m f/c-gold,50m br/str-gold,50m fly-silver.Toni Dolan 50m f/c-silver,50m b/c-gold,50m br/str-silver. Zara McMahon 50m br/str-silver,50m f/c-bronze,50m b/c-gold. Sinead Ni Chuinn 50m b/c-silver,50m br/str-gold. Iseult Bracken 50m fly-bronze. George Byrne 50m br/str-bronze.
Managers on the day- Irina Dawson and Padraig Dolan -were delighted with the young swimmers.
In Dublin nine swimmers ranging in age from 11 to16 swam for Laois Marlins in the National Aquatic Centre’s long course charity gala. This was a great opportunity for these swimmers to swim in a 50 metre pool, some for the first time. They all had excellent swims achieving new Personal Best times. David O’Reilly, Jordan Overton and Ian Heffernan all smashed 8 & 9 seconds off their indivdual P.B’s. The club also entered a boys relay team – Ryan Flynn, Aidan Nealon, Jordan Overton and Thomas Martin.They swam a very exciting race, coming 4th overal
Team Manager on the day was Violet Nealon .She was very pleased with everyone’s performance saying “ It was a tough coarse- the same 50 mtr pool being used for the Irish Olympic trials- but this didn’t faze them in any way, with everyone achieving personal goals and times. There is always a great social aspect too and the kids show great support for one another .”