The now annual Enniskillen Lakelanders Home Meet took place over the weekend with 21 Ulster Clubs entering from all over the province with a total of 342 swimmers and 881 entries. Once again sponsored by Mercers Jewellers, the gala has now been licensed by Swim Ireland as a Level 2 Meet and as such, allows swimmers to obtain qualification times for qualifying galas; This is especially useful for the 40 plus Enniskillen swimmers achieving times in their ‘home’ pool. Level 2 license means the introduction of Swim Ireland officials to ensure correct technique and officiating. June Trail, President of Swim Ulster, was joined by Frank Stevens, Ita Doonan and Lars Beheme ensuring compliance was adhered to. The home club finished the day topping the medal table with 28 in total; 11 Gold, 12 Silver, 5 Bronze and a mountain of personal bests.

The first event was the 9 to 11 year old 50m Backcrawl were Ellie Dunlop (9) finished with a Silver Medal. Holly James, in her first individual competitive outing, along with Hannah Lynch swam to massive PBs to finish in the top 10. Darcy Balfour also broke the 1 minute barrier for the 1st time and Emer Murphy achieved a 2 second PB. There were more top 10 finishes and PBs for Jamie Lannon, Tom Buchanan, Oliver Mooney and Nial Bruce. Michael McGowan just missed out on a podium finish on his first competitive start. In 100m Backcrawl Isobel Lannon (12) and Ellie McCartney (13) finished top to the podium while Emilie Reihill and Cora Cassidy were placed in the top 10. Niamh Cassidy took 13 seconds off her PB with a fantastic back end swim. The boys matched this with Frank Buchanan (12) and Ben Lynch (14+) who also swam to gold medals and Lewis McCartney finished with a silver medal. Luke Aiken had a massive PB in this event.

Ellie Dunlop swam to her 2nd Gold in the 50m Breaststroke with Top 10 finishes for Hannah Lynch and Anna Cairns. Cora McConnell broke the 1 minute barrier for the 1st time. Oliver Mooney secured Bronze in the boys’ section with Jamie Lannon and Nial Bruce also ending the event in the top 10. Shay McCarney, Darren Woods and Ryan McGowan showed how much the training has paid off with big PBs in their 1st individual races at this level. Isobel Lannon and Ellie McCartney also swam to their second Golds with powerful 100m Breaststroke swims in the 12 and older categories. Ciosa McConnell took 1 second off her best ever time to secure the Silver Medal. Annabel Morrison returned to competitive action after three months out to finish in the top 10 as did Emilie Reihill and Lauren Keaney. Lewis McCartney and Frank Buchanan swam to a Silver and Bronze Medal respectively in their age categories with Ben Lynch 5th in the 14 plus section. Kiril Chursin had a fabulous 100m Breaststroke to smash the 2 minute mark for the 1st time.

In the 9 year old section of the 50m Fly, Ellie Dunlop swam to a Silver Medal while Hannah Lynch and Elke Pieterse also finished in the top 10. Georgia Maravelakis had a strong final length to PB in the event. Silver and Bronze Medals also followed for Jamie Lannon and Nial Bruce while Tom Buchanan just missed out on a podium place. Ellie McCartney continued her golden form with top spot in the 13 age group over 100m. Eimear Magee and Isobel Lannon PB’d to get a Bronze Medal in their sections. Ben Lynch and Lewis McCartney also medalled with a Silver and Bronze in the oldest age group.

A fourth medal followed for Ellie Dunlop while Sarah Speer showed her strength when she broke 1 minute for the 1st time in the 50m Freestyle. Jamie Lannon returned home with a 3rd medal and a PB in the Freestyle. Shay McCarney, James Mongan and Austin Cassidy also all swam to a PB. Isobel Lannon added a 4th medal to her haul in 100m Freestyle with Emilie Reihill smashing her PB to finish second. Ellie McCartney finished the day as the fastest girl in the pool over all four strokes with another Gold Medal. Sarah Harte swam to a PB along

with Cora Cassidy and Ciosa McConnell. Lewis McCartney topped the podium for the first time with Gold in the 100m Free while Ben Lynch secured Silver.

The Lakelander Coaching Team on the day of Clare Morris and Aaron Rickhuss were extremely impressed with their swimmers and effort they put into each swim. Aaron commented “This gala is a great opportunity for our swimmers to achieve qualifying times in their own pool under the watchful eye of Swim Ulster.”

The gala has been hugely successful not only in terms of times and medals but also in raising much needed funds to help the club survive and thrive. Lakelanders club Chairman: Gary Boyd, paid tribute to the Lakelander's Gala Secretary: Noel McManus and the club committee along with the 36 parent helpers who deserve much credit for the organisation and smooth running of the event. Extra special mention must go to the two Michelle’s; Reihill and Buchanan, who expertly managed the computerised timing system ensuring results were collated accurately.