Last Saturday 20 young Enniskillen Lakelanders made the trip to Newry Leisure Centre for the Newry Gala which was the first meet of 2019 and a great opportunity to target Irish National Division 2 times early in the season.

And it was an opportunity the Lakelanders grasped with gusto returning with an impressive 21 medals in total, seven swimmers achieving National Division 2 qualifying times and personal bests were achieved by all.

Eimear Magee swimming in the 15 year old category had a fantastic day finishing with three PBs, three gold medals and an Irish Division 2 time from her three events. In her first event, her favourite 100m Butterfly she finished with an Irish Division 2 time to go with the gold medal. Eimear continued her good form in the 200m Freestyle her second gold of the day. In fact Eimear just missed an Irish Division 2 time in this event by eight hundredths of a second! In her final event the 100m Freestyle Eimear added her third gold of the day, finishing a great mornings work.

A bronze medal and two PBs were achieved by 11 year old Austin Cassidy. He worked incredibly hard in the 200m Freestyle event, and was delighted to finish third fastest in the 12 year old boy category and be rewarded with a Bronze medal – his first ever individual medal in swimming.

It was also a successful meet for his older sister Niamh Cassidy who achieved two excellent PB’s, from her four events, in her debut at Newry.

Owen O’Donnell swimming in the age 14 category enjoyed his first experience of an open swimming competition and swam well in all his events swimming 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle. He now has times for these events and is looking forward to training with TAG to improve them.

His sister Ciara O’Donnell was also competing at this level for the first time, in age 12 category she swam well in the 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle,100 Breaststroke and 100m Bacstroke. In a few of the heats she swam against her younger sister Niamh O’Donnell who competed in age 11 category. Both girls now have times which they hope to improve over the next few months.

After a short absence from competitive swimming Anna McDade (12) had an encouraging return to the pool. She had four swims achieving podium positions in all four events. In her favoured Breaststroke she was the fastest girl in age 13 group winning gold in 100m event. She won three silver medals in 200m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke, with impressive PBs. Anna was very pleased to secure Division 2 times in all four events.

Competing in the 12 year old age group having just turned 11 just days previously, Molly Rice had a strong swimming day at Newry with a PB in the100m Freestyle and the 100m Breaststroke. Competing for the first time in the 100m Backstroke, Molly had another good swim and has set her time for future development and improvement.

Also competing in the 12 year old category, Anna Cairns had a great day of swimming. Up first was the 100m Freestyle in which Anna secured impressive PBs in both the 100m Backstroke and the100m Breaststroke.

Kiril Chursin (12) had a fantastic day at his first ever open swimming competition. He swam both the 100m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke and achieved super PB’s in both.

Tom Buchanan (10) took to the pool for the 200m IM. This was a first attempt at this distance and he chalked up an impressive time. He later swam 200m Freestyle and was pleased with his time. Tom also swam 100m Breaststroke, 100m Backstroke, 100m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly, achieving both PBs and top 5 finishes.

Older brother Frank Buchanan (12) also swam 200m IM and recorded a big PB. He then swam 200m Backstroke, 200m Freestyle taking silver medals in both. Frank went on to swim 100m Backstroke, achieving a bronze medal and his first Division 2 time of the season. Franks final swim of the day was 100m freestyle placing fourth in his age category.

Molly Johnston stepped up for 100m Freestyle where she won the heat. Next up was 200m IM were she finished with a PB and this was followed by the 100m Backstroke were she swam a good heat equalling her previous time, then last race of a gruelling day was 100m Breaststroke were Molly had a good swim to end the day.

Lauren Keaney also had a successful trip to Newry with a great start to the day in her 200m Freestyle – where she smashed her PB. She also achieved new PBs in her 100m Freestyle and 200 IM, 100m Breaststroke - very impressively improving in all her strokes. Lauren also achieved a silver medal in her 100m Freestyle competition for her 15 year old age category.

Jamie Lannon (11yrs) met with great success in Newry on Sunday. He started the day achieving a PB in the200m IM. Jamie went on to win bronze medals in both the 100m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke. His PB scores continued to improve into the afternoon session achieving a further two bronze medals in the 100m and 200m Freestyle and finally a gold medal win in the 100m Butterfly. Jamie was not only proud of his medal success but also achieving qualification for Swim Ireland’s Division 2 National championship next July.

Cora Cassidy started her day well with the 200m Freestyle event where she chipped away at her time and managed to take an impressive five seconds off. Setting herself up for her next race Cora got herself ready for the 100m Freestyle coming in with a strong finish she claimed seventh overall. Next up was the 200m IM, Cora had a fast impressive race with a massive PB and a top 10 finish, followed quickly with the 100m Backstroke and another top 10 finish.

After a short rest the last of the day was the 200m Backstroke with another fantastic PB, finishing fourth overall.

Emilie Reihill had a successful start to her season.

Emilie’s most successful swim of the day was her favoured 100m Freestyle where she swam to her PB and secured a bronze medal along with her first Division 2 qualifying time of 2019. Emilie also gained great experience with fifth place finishes in the competitive 200m Freestyle and fifth place the 100m Backstroke with a new PB. She also swam well in the 100m Breaststroke. Emilie finished off her day swimming the 200m Backstroke for the first time and she was delighted to achieve another fifth place finish coming in just a hundredth of a second behind team mate Cora Cassidy.

Luke Aiken also had a successful day and managed two fantastic PB in 200IM and 200m Freestyle.

The 200IM showed how well he has developed his skills and technique over the last few months. Luke also had three great swims in 100m Backstroke, 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle where he maintained his times in these swims. He really was delighted to be back in competitive mode and is looking forward to improving on these in the next few months.

Ciosa McConnell swam in four events, in which she achieved three PBs, an Irish National Division 2 qualification time and a bronze medal. She swam PBs in both the 100m and 200m Freestyle along with knocking five seconds off her 200m IM time.

In her favoured stroke, Breaststroke, she swam to the required standard to qualify for the Irish National Finals in Limerick during July. This swim also earned her a bronze medal.

Annabel Morrison was delighted to be swimming competitively again after injury. She swam a PB in her 100m Freestyle and in her next event, the 200IM, she swam an impressive PB. The 100m Backstroke was never a favourite of Annabel’s, yet she still managed a PB.

Annabel’s favourite stroke which is Breaststroke was up next, she gained a valuable PB and secured a divisional 2 time.

The youngest to compete for the Lakelanders was Ellie Dunlop (10) who opened with a fantastic start in the 200 IM gaining a gold medal and an excellent PB .

Ellie’s next race was 100m Backstroke where she finished in second place gaining a silver medal and PB of 12 seconds.

Ellie’s final race was 100m Breaststroke where she secured her second gold medal of the afternoon.

An impressive start to the season for the young Lakelander.