Thirteen Laois Marlins competed at the very highest level of provincial swimming at the Division I Leinster Finals held at the National Aquatic centre in Dublin.
Being at these Championships was in itself an achievement as the Qualification Times are set at a very high standard. All 13 swimmers recorded strong PBs and three much coveted top-ten final places were earned, as well as a fourth place in 400m free relay. An amazing total of six National Qualification Times were achieved- four for Division 2 and two for Division 1.
It was a particularly productive gala for 14 years old Ryan Flynn. He came into the competition in a very strong position having pre-qualified for the top-tier National Division 1 Championships in three events – 100m Free, 100m Breast and 200m IM.
At these Provincial Finals he had the two remaining 100m QTs- back and fly- in his sights. He reached those targets and more besides, with an amazing six-second PB in Fly and a PB in Back. He also PB’d in 100 Free bringing him within a whisker of breaking the minute. He secured a top ten position in the 100 Fly and top twenty positions in 100 free, 200 IM and 100 back.
Christopher Carew also had a great gala. The 15 years old Mountrath Community School student took a break from Junior Cert study to compete in three of the nine events for which he had qualified. He too came into the Championships in a very strong position, holding four National Division 1 QTs in 100 Breast, 200 Breast, 100 Free and 200 IM.
He recorded a two second PB in 100 Breast, earning a place in the final and taking a top-ten provincial place. In the 400 Free he shaved off nine seconds and jumped four places in the rankings. He swam a strong two second PB in the 100 Back but was DQ’d on a technicality.
Jack Rouget also shone for his club throughout the weekend of competitions. The 12 year old came into the finals with two Division 1 QTs (100 and 200 Free) and despite carrying an injury was placed in the top twenty in all of his individual events, as well as narrowly losing out on a medal in the 400 Free Relay. He came within half a second of adding another Division 1 QT in 100 back and was exceptionally unfortunate to be DQ’d in the 100 Breast on a minor technicality after gaining a National Division 1 QT in that. He also came close to getting a National Division 1 QT in 200 IM.
It was a weekend of tremendous performances for 13 years old Christian Kenny-Carroll. He came into his first ever provincial finals with four National Division 2 QTs under his belt (100 and 200 Free, 100 Fly and 100 Breast). Thanks to a fabulous eight second PB in 200 IM he added another National QT to that tally. It was an outstanding gala for the talented swimmer who competed in five individual events and swam PBs in all five, earning an incredible cumulative total of 25 seconds.
He secured three top 20 places and remained just outside the top 20 slots in the other two. He came within half a second of National Division 1 QT’s in three events- 100 free, 200 free and 100 Breast, setting him up very nicely for the National Division 2 Finals at the end of the month. He narrowly lost out on a medal in the 400 free relay.
Also heading for the National Division 2s with a very strong card is 12 years old Sean Donoghue. He had qualified for an impressive five events for the prestigious provincial finals. He further impressed by recording strong PBs in four of them as well as jumping in the rankings in all five. With a two second BP he earned a National Division 2 QT in 200 free to add to his two others – 100 and 200 Breast. He narrowly lost out on a medal in the 400 Free Relay.
Ciaran Costello recorded a strong PB in the 100 Breast and narrowly lost out on a medal in the 400 Free Relay.
A much missed Marlin at the Leinster Division 1 Championships was 14 years old Jordan Overton. There is no doubt but that he would have starred at the event but for an injury sustained during a fundraising cycle. All Laois Marlins wish him a speedy recovery.
Tyler Dolan earned a much coveted top-ten place in 200 Breast Final. She now has two National Division 2 QTs in 100 and 200 Breast. Tyler’s younger sister Toni shaved off almost seven seconds in the 200 Breast, jumping five places in the rankings and gaining a National Division 2 QT in the process. Ellen Donoghue, thanks to a three second PB, secured a National Div 2 QT in 100 Back.
Sinead Ni Chuinn recorded two top 20 finishes in 100 and 200 Breast, and recorded a very strong time in her first ever 200 Free. She PB’d in the 100 Breast to bring her within a millisecond of a Division 1 QT. Sinead now holds three National Division 2 QTs.
Laois Marlins para-swimmer and future Olympian Nicole Turner also had a great gala, shaving off seven seconds in 200 IM, recoding another strong PB in 100 Free as well as swimming a very impressive 400 Free.
In her first ever Provincial final Euginia Melnikova secured a top-25 place in the 200 Back and a strong PB in the 100 free. Iseult Bracken swam very well in the 100 Back. Club Chairman Derek Flynn expressed delight at the Laois Marlins performances. “Overall this is our strongest ever provincial showing,” he said, “and it is just reward for all the hard work of swimmers and coaches throughout the season.”