The second South West Minor League Gala of the year took place on Sunday morning against the Marlins club who travelled from Ballyshannon. The SWML is a development league giving swimmers who have not reached divisional times and who would not usually swim in other galas an opportunity to swim in a friendly, competitive environment.

Warm up started at 9:00am and with all the volunteers in place by 9:15 the event began on time at 9:30.

First up was the freestyle relay and all the Lakelanders teams performed well with 2nd place recorded in the 2007,2006 & 2004 age bracket.

The second event was the backstroke and although the Lakelanders team did not record any 1st place wins, 2nd place finishes were recorded by Niamh Henry, Patrick Williams, Maria Kelly Neill and Meabh Dolan and 3rd place was achieved by Kate McDade, Ruairi O’Connor, Ela Winters, Frank Buchanan, Riana Breen, Sarah Harte, Darragh Cox, Isobel Lannon and Rory Keogh. Also Fantastic PBs were achieved by Maria Toal, James Mongan and Carla Ryan.

The Breaststroke saw top of the podium finishes for Abigail Boyd, Ella O’Donnell, Matthew Dolan, Maria Kelly Neill and Jason Man, 2nd place finishes for Anna Cairns, Emilie Reihill, Callum O’Hare, Molly Johnston, Lauren Keaney, Anna McDade and Dara O’Connor and 3rd place finishes for James Mongan, Cora Cassidy, Conan McCaffrey, Luke Aiken and Aine Barrett. James Mongan, Patrick Magee, Ella O’Donnell and Orla Murphy all swam to PBs.

The hardest stroke, especially for newbies, is the Butterfly but still Nial Bruce, Leah Irwin, Matthew Dolan and Jason Man managed to finish in 1st place. Abigail Boyd, Niamh Henry, Patrick Williams, Eimear Magee and Dara O’Connor finished in second place and Sinead Barrett and Aine Barrett finished 3rd. Great PBs recorded by Callum O’Hare, Ella O’Donnell, Anna Toal and Tamileigh Gilmour.

The final individual event was the freestyle and Leah Irwin topped her group with 1st place. Meabh Dolan also recorded a 1st place finish knocking 2 seconds off her PB. 2nd place finishes were recorded for Nial Bruce, Cora Cassidy, Sinead Barrett and Sarah Harte and finishing 3rd place in their age groups were Molly Rice, Frank Buchanan and Darragh Cox. Emer Murphy, Oisin Cox, Ruairi O’Connor, Rory Keogh and Dylan Convey all registered their best ever times.

The Freestyle relays followed the same pattern as the Medley Relays leaving the final score Enniskillen 440 and Ballyshannon Marlins 544.

Special credit must go to swimmers who swam up, competing against much older Marlins swimmers. They were Anna McDade, Tamileigh Gilmour, Isobel Lannon, Rory Keogh, Oliver Mooney and Jamie Lannon.

Credit must go to the coaches as well as the swimmers who all enjoyed the event. Tamileigh Gilmour and Dara O’Connor proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of the Lakelanders to the Marlins.

The Lakelanders team again performed with great determination and spirit on the day and showed that, with continued training and effort, their times have improved. It’s without doubt that the stronger team on the day were the Marlins but, having only decided to participate in this league in December, the individual and team results are impressive. The next SWML fixture is scheduled for April 9 against the Strule Dolphins again at the Enniskillen Forum.

Finally, as always, a massive thanks to all the volunteers who did a great job. The event ran smoothly from start to finish and this was also acknowledged by the organisers of the opposing team.