As records tumbled at the Swim Ireland Irish Short Course Championships over the weekend Ellie McCartney quietly worked away collecting her first ever National Open medal and winning two ‘B’ Finals while her brother, Lewis McCartney, reached his first National Open ‘B’ Final. Kealan McShea, Oisin McManus and Ben Lynch also delivered on a senior level over the four days at the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex all under the watchful eye of Lakelanders Head Coach, Aaron Rickhuss.

500 swimmers from more than 80 clubs across Ireland were involved over the four days of the biggest short course (25m pool size) competition in the country.

13 year old Ellie McCartney was in sparkling form in the competition that she was too young to enter last year and delivered a Bronze medal in the Women’s Open 200m Breaststroke in a time of 2:34.54 – the first Lakelanders medal at the Irish SC since Chelsey Wilson in 2013 and the youngest medal winner at this year’s championships;

First and second place went to swimmers aged 23 and 21 respectively. Swim Ireland National Performance Director, Jon Rudd, once again picked the young Lakelanders swimmer as one of his top picks for the Meet. He commented: “A young lady swimming with natural rhythm and finesse over the longer breaststroke distance. I’d say we need to watch this space; it looks like only a matter of time before we’re very excited about this young prospect.”

Ellie swam the gruelling 400m Individual Medley to qualify for the ‘A’ final and swam it again that evening to finish in sixth position in Ireland in a new club record time of 5:09.12.

She also won ‘B’ Finals in the 100m Breaststroke (1:13.28) and 200m IM in a new PB of 2:23.12. A third place followed in the ‘B’ final of the 100m IM as well as a fourth place in the ‘B’ final in 50m Breaststroke and a three second PB in the 100m Backstroke. The impact of new coach Aaron has been immediate with Ellie, along with all the Lakelanders, listening and learning to his advice before each event and in between the heats and finals.

Lewis McCartney swam the meet of his life, achieving five fabulous personal best times along with two season best times culminating in a fifth place finish in a ‘B’ final in a National competition. After swimming to a four second PB in the 200m Breaststroke, Lewis qualified for the ‘B’ final and after speaking with the coach about some technical aspects of the event he was able to take another second off his time to finish in fifth place. The work in the pool and the gym is paying off for the 16-year-old and he can’t wait to get back into competitions in the new year.

Oisin McManus travelled to Lisburn on the opening day of the event knowing his fitness was a question having missed many recent training sessions due to illness, however in his first race, the 200m Individual Medley he posted a respectable time of 2:21.60. Then later in the same session he lined up for the 200m Butterfly where he was again pleased with his time of 2:30.08. In the 400m Freestyle he recorded his first PB of the event knocking 1.07 seconds of his previous time to finish on 4:22.92. In the 200m Breaststroke he swam brilliantly to finish with a 5.89 second PB on a time of 2:35.15 placing him in the top 18.

As a first national competition outing of the season, Oisin was pleased with his performance but now looks forward to some serious training for the new year.

Kealan McShea (16) attended day one of the meet swimming to 24th out of 75 in 200IM, 37th out of 61 in the 100m Backstroke and 31st out of 82 place and a new PB of 25.99 in the 50m Freestyle.

Ben Lynch took part in three events, 1500m, 400m and 200m Freestyle. Ben placed 15th in the 1500m Freestyle and he enjoyed the experience of swimming at an open competition.

The Lakelanders swimmers and coach now take a well-earned rest from competitions before January’s meet when qualification for the Irish Summer Nationals begins but the training continues for all swimmers in and out of the pool with additional gym and yoga sessions organised by the club.