A strong team from Enniskillen Lakelanders Swimming Club produced a plethora of medal winning performances at the three day Swim Ulster Spring Qualifying Gala in Lurgan at the weekend.
Indeed the club and coach can feel very heartened with the huge haul of medals, personal best times and regional/national Division One and Two qualification times achieved across all age groups and swimming strokes.
Kealan Mc Shea (15) swam a total of nine events over the weekend returning home with an amazing nine medals - four gold, two silver and three bronze medals as well as securing five qualification times for Ulster Youth and Senior Championships. 
Kealan’s recent hard work in training is paying off as seen in his increasing versatility winning medals in all four strokes. More importantly he achieved 7 PBs, including a great swim in the 200m backcrawl with a PB of 6 secs earning him a gold medal and later a huge PB of 13.15secs in a relatively new stroke to him, the 200m Breaststroke that secured the silver medal.
Ellie McCartney followed up her well-earned rest on the Italian ski slopes with another fantastic performance over two days at the meet returning with medals in every event to bring home six gold, three silver and one bronze. 
On the Saturday new PBs were recorded in 200m IM (short course PB), and 100m free (new PB of 1 min 04.35secs) along with gold medals in these events. Golds also followed in the 50m and 200m breaststroke and a silver in the 400m freestyle. Sunday began with a bronze medal in the 100m fly (2.5 second PB), then silver in the 100m back and 50m freestyle. The day was rounded off with two more gold medals in the 100m breaststroke and the 100m IM. These times also helped Ellie to a total of eight Ulster Age Group times for June competition.
Swimming four events at the Saturday sessions, 16-year-old Sorcha Lavelle was in the tough 17 & over age group competing against girls aged up to 19. Nevertheless Sorcha, who hadn’t competed since mid October, was very happy to win silver in the 200m breaststroke, bronze in the 200m Individual Medley while she also came coming seventh in the 50m breaststroke and 10th in the 100m freestyle.
Oisin Mc Manus (14), fresh from his recent success at the Leinster Open event took part in just the final day of this gala with five races that yielded four gold medals in the 200m backstroke, 200m Individual Medley, 400m freestyle and the 200m butterfly. He left Lisburn with praise from his coach and the perfect motivation for some hard training ahead of the Swim Ireland, Dave McCullagh Memorial International event later in February.
Jake Cadden (12) had a very successful event where he achieved PBs in all his races on his first competitive venture this season along with three Irish Division Two times. His first race, the 200IM saw Jake swim in a time of 2 mins 51.74 seconds where he was delighted to achieve his first Irish Age Group Division Two qualification time. His second race, the 200m Backstroke brought a huge PB of 4.14s finishing in a time of 2 mins 44.2 seconds, achieving his second Division Two time. Next up was the 100m freestyle where he dropped over two seconds to finish in a time of 1.09.46. This gained him his third Division Two time. In the 50m Backstroke he took the gold along with another PB and in his final race of the event, the 400m freestyle he showed his continuing improvement with another huge PB of 6.42 seconds.
Following a fantastic finish at the Leinster Open Gala Lewis Mc Cartney (15) came to the Qualifying meet with renewed vigour. 
On the Friday night Lewis smashed his 800m freestyle record by almost 30 seconds to finish fifth utilizing the new stroke technique he has been working hard on. 
This was followed up the next day with PBs in all four events and medals in three of them, namely silver in 50m free and 100m breaststroke and bronze in a new event for him the 100m Fly in which he led his heat from start to finish. Lewis also showed his improvements with a two second PB in 100m backcrawl. 
On the final day Lewis smashed his 200m backcrawl PB to win the bronze medal in a time of 2 mins 22.92 seoncds as well as another bronze and PB in the 200m Breaststroke. 
Lewis’ best result was in the 100m freestyle where he pulled out all the stops to finish with a gold medal in his age group in his fastest time ever – 57:31 seconds. What a difference a year makes in swimming – after a transitional year, Lewis returned with a gold, two silver and three bronze medals as well as increasing his number of Ulster Youth Qualifying times to seven in total.
Ulster Schools 100m Freestyle Champion Ben Lynch (14) took part in nine events over the weekend, achieving eight personal bests, gold in the 800m free, bronze medals in the 200m free and 200m breaststroke and silver in the 400m freestyle.
Rachel Evans had a successful weekend with silver and bronze medals in 50m freestyle and 100m breaststroke respectively and PB times in these and other events.
Niamh O’Kane swam seven events during a busy but ultimately very successful weekend and her efforts were rewarded with three medals in total, two silvers in the 50m and 100m butterfly along with bronze in the 100m IM. 
Best of all over the weekend were the five PBs across all four strokes which really demonstrates her recent improvement. Among the seven swims were six times that qualify Niamh for the Irish Division Two Championships and her time in the 100m butterfly that is just 0.7seconds outside the Irish Division One qualifying time. Her focus over the next few months is on building stamina and improving technique to achieve a number of Division One times across a range of strokes.
11-year-old Isobel Lannon got the weekend off to a great start competing in her first ever 800m freestyle where she achieved an Irish Division Two time of 11 mins .29.39 seconds for a great silver medal. This inspired her for Saturday’s events and she went from strength to strength gaining four more IAG Division Two times placing first in the 200IM, third in the 100m freestyle, second in the 400m freestyle and first overall in the 200m breaststroke in a super fast time of 3mins.15.71 seconds. Sunday morning resulted in further strong improvement with PBs in the 100m butterfly and the 100m breaststroke. 
She finished off a full weekend’s swimming with two more Division Two times winning silver in the 200m freestyle and bronze in the 100m Backstroke.
12-year-old Anna Mc Dade also took part in the event with great swims across four races, achieving an Irish Division Two time in her 200m breaststroke and a fine PB of 0.54 seconds in the 200m IM.
Lakelander’s club chairman Terry Mc Cartney paid tribute to all the swimmers for their achievements and also to club Head Coach Rob Eynon whose changes to training techniques are showing such great dividends, and who was on hand throughout the three day event providing vital advice on techniques and race strategy to all the swimmers.