The finals took place last weekend in the University of Limerick's 50m pool and the three day event included the best swimmers from all counties in Ireland with almost 400 swimmers qualifying and competing in the competition.
Enniskillen Lakelanders were represented by Cathal Burns who competed in eight events. The three days of competition were of a high standard and Cathal learned very quickly that he was competing not only with exceptional athletes but that he was also in an extremely tough and talented age group.
On the Friday morning Cathal swam in the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke and the 200 IM - qualifying for all three finals. The afternoon finals saw Cathal pick up his game and produce an awesome performance to gain a PB in the 200m Fly 2 min 43 sec and a bronze medal. Almost straight after the 200m Fly, Cathal was back in the water again to finish fourth in the 100 Backstroke and sixth in the 200M IM, achieving a personal best of 2 min 38 sec.
Saturday saw Cathal take part in the 400m IM and again saw him deliver a personal best of 5 min 38 and a fourth place finish. Cathal also qualified for the 200m Breast final and 100m Fly on Saturday morning through the preliminary heats. The finals were to see Cathal narrowly miss out on medals again but produce more personal best times - 100m Fly 1 min 14 sec which landed him fifth place and the 200m Breast 3 min 1 sec where he came home in fourth place.
The final day of competition saw Cathal swim the 200m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke in the morning were he again qualified for the finals. Cathal showed great determination in the finals gaining another two Pbs and another two fourth in Ireland placed finishes. His times are reflective of the talent within Ireland at this age group he acheived 2 min 34 sec in the 200m Backstroke and 1 min 24 sec in the 100m Breaststroke.
Enniskillen Lakelanders had further representation at the Gala through Paddy Keavney who swims with the Lakelanders during holiday breaks but normally through Moderian Swim Club in England. Paddy himself produced some fantastic results winning an Irish gold medal for his first place finish in his speciality event the 1500M Free and a silver medal in the 200m Free with a fantastic time of 2 min 12 sec. Paddy can look forward to competing for his club in the British Nationals in this event were the Lakelanders will no doubt be passing a supporting eye.
The two boys have worked hard all year and it has definitely paid off.
Both Paddy and Cathal are lucky enough to have Olympic tickets and can look forward to attending London 2012 to watch their swimming heros in competition after their swimming season comes to an end.