Fifteen Junior and Intermediate Enniskillen Lakelanders attended the Ards Junior Open Gala last weekend and the squad returned home with loads of PBs and 23 medals in total.

The morning session began with the 9 and under swimmers in the 25m Backstroke where Kate McDade smashed her PBs, finishing 10th in 24.60s. Anna Cairns also recorded a new PB. Nial Bruce took a second off his to finish 12th while James Mongan also swam well. In the 20m Breaststroke Kate and Eloise Boyd had a great race, finishing in the top 10.

Anna Cairns finished 8th in her age with a season’s best and Molly Rice also PB’d in the event. James just missed out on a PB over the 25m. Eloise and Kate also competed in the Butterfly with Eloise demolishing her PB while Nial Bruce had a 2.5 second PB to record another 10th place finish. Eloise and Kate battled again in the Freestyle with Eloise winning and Kate continuing to close the gap in Freestyle. Anna finished her day with another great PB with Molly Rice not far behind. Nial Bruce rounded up his day in style with a 18.91 25 Freestyle and another top 10 position.

Lakelanders’ coach, Rob Eynon, hardly had time to get some lunch when the 10-12 swimmers began warming up. After a number of years trying, Ellie McCartney won the title of Top Female swimmer in her age group – sharing the trophy with Charlotte Cullen from Templemore. Ellie also came home with four individual gold medals in the 50m & 100m Breaststroke, 50m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley and two silver medals in 50m Butterfly and 50m Backcrawl as well as being the fastest swimmer in the pool on the day. Following her wins at the Ulster Age Groups, Ellie recorded four new Personal Bests and helped the Relay team to gold and silver in the relays.

Jake Cadden (11) entered six individual events along with the two relays achieving medals in all his races along with PB’s. In his first two races the 100m IM and 50m Freestyle, he claimed bronze medals. Next up was the 100m Backstroke where he achieved a 3 second PB and brought home his first gold medal. He then had silvers in the 100m Fly and the 50m Backstroke. Jake’s highlight of the day was not only an 8 second PB in the 200m IM, but also gold. And there was a gold and a silver in Jake’s last two races which were relays.

Isobel Lannon had another great day in the pool. Her first event the 50m Freestyle saw her achieve a 2 second PB take second place and her first medal of the day. A great swim in the 100m Backstroke saw her take the bronze medal by a few hundredth of a second. In the 100m Freestyle Issy swam to a 3 second PB and fourth position overall. Taking part in her first 200m IM she put a good time of 3.20 on the board. Isobel also took part in the relay team events which took home a gold medal in the 100m IM and a silver in the freestyle.

Ciosa McConnell (11) was in top form on Saturday. She participated in five events achieving PBs in four of them. She finished the 100m Breaststroke in sixth place. The highlight of her day was obtaining a silver medal in the 50m Breaststroke event.

Annabel Morrison was swimming three strokes, up first was 50 freestyle she swam it in 37 secs, her next swim was 100 metre Breaststroke which was her first time swimming 100m in this type of competition. She was delighted to achieve 1.44 hoping for an even better result the next time. Her final swim was 50m Breaststroke which she got a silver medal for.

Matthew Dolan entered four events and left with four top 10 personal bests and well as 10 top ten finishes. Matthew began with a fourth place in the100m Breaststroke, then a sixth place in the 100m Backcrawl. This was followed by PBs in both the 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle. The 11-year-old finished that day as part of the victorious relay teams.

Abigail Boyd also had a great day at Ards with a massive best ever time in the 100m Freestyle of 1:35.33 as well as a 12th place finish in the 100m IM. The 10-year-old also finished 11th in the 50m Breaststroke and had a great swim in the 50m Freestyle.

10-year-old Anna McDade competed in four events with superb swims; a PB in 100m Backcrawl and in the 100m Freestyle and a fifth place finish in 50m Breaststroke meant that she returned home very happy.

Cora Cassidy, age 10, competed at Ards with great positivity. She began with a PB in the 100m IM and finished with another PB 100m Freestyle. Cora also ended the day eighth in 50m Breaststroke and 19th in 50m Freestyle.

Molly Johnston (12) competed in four events beginning with two second PB in 50m Freestyle then a PB in 100m Breaststroke. This was followed up with an eighth place in both the 50m Breaststroke and 50m Backstroke. Molly has made massive improvements in her swimming this year.

Ten-year-old Frank Buchanan burst on to the swimming scene this year with notable performances in the team competitions and has made the move to individual events more recently. Frank began with the 100m IM and finished in a time just under 1:45 but unfortunately received a disqualification for moving on the block. Frank quickly put this behind him with PBs in 50m Freestyle coming in eighth, 50m Backcrawl and 50m Butterfly – smashing more than 30 seconds of the latter. He also had a great swim in the 50m Breaststroke placing sixth in his age group. This is another swimmer looking forward to next season.

The Enniskillen Lakelanders 10-12 relays swam immediately after the 200m IM giving the swimmers little time to recover.

The Medley team saw Isobel Lannon (10) swim Backstroke matching many of the other 12-year-old swimmers followed by Ellie McCartney who opened up a great lead. Jake Cadden swam a fantastic Butterfly leg while Matthew Dolan held off the challenge of the big guns to the maintain the lead and collect the gold. Unfortunately, using the same line up, it meant that the same team had to swim immediately in the Freestyle Relay. Ellie swam first, followed by Jake were the Lakelanders had opened a two second lead. Isobel finished her leg slightly ahead leaving Matthew to finish the race with a silver as a result – who knows what would have happened had the team had a similar rest to the eventual winners.

Never the less, a great fun event with silverware to show for their terrific efforts.