The Dave McCullough Memorial gala made its debut at Bangor’s newly-developed Aurora 50m swimming pool at the weekend.
Organised by Swim Ireland, this event was host to swim clubs from all over Ireland, England and Scotland. The event was a qualifier for this year’s Commonwealth Games and also the European junior and senior championships.
With 16 of Larne’s elite swimmers refreshed and invigorated, the gala got off to a flying start with Carnmoney’s Danielle Hill breaking the Ulster junior record in the 50m backstroke (30:29). On this note, Danielle also crept inside the Commonwealth Games consideration time.
Two more Ulster junior records were smashed, one by Hill in the 100m backstroke (1:05.6), and the other by Conor Ferguson, also in the 100m backstroke. This has enabled Conor to be considered for the Canadian trip next summer with Swim Ireland.
With a total of 12 gold medals, 10 silver and eight bronze, Larne enjoyed a very successful weekend of racing. ‘A’ group finalists were: James Richrdson, Conor Brines, Danielle Hill, Conor Ferguson, Chelsey Wilson and Ryan Wray. ‘B’ group finalists included: Oonagh O’Neil, Kendra Kemp, Ruairi Hurson, Louise Hill, Ellen O’Neil and Eorann O’Neil.
Ellen made an Ulster development squad time in the 50m breaststroke. Ruairi Hurson had a massive PB knocking off 18 seconds in the 400m freestyle, also making an Ulster development squad time.
Ryan Wray won the men’s open ‘B’ final in the 100m breaststroke and Chelsey Wilson qualified for the Ulster trip to the Scottish Nationals in April.
In the relays the women’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m teams received Ulster golds. The Men’s 4 x 200m also earned gold and silver in the 4 x 100m.
Junior members of Larne raced in the Forest Feast Aquasprint gala against rivals Ards on Saturday.
Anna Campbell and Jamie Clements gained first place in all events in their age groups and the final score was Larne 169 - Ards 231. Despite the unfortunate loss, the swimmers are unquestionably resilient and will look at this as a way of improving their own techniques and abilities.
Next up is this weekend’s Swim Ulster development gala which gives another chance to qualify for the summer National meets.