Enniskillen Lakelanders swimmers Ellie McCartney and Cora Rooney returned to competitive action for the first time in over a year when they competed at the Irish National Team Trials at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin last week.

The event had small numbers, with only elite swimmers competing, but it was a high-quality field with a number of competitors pushing for Olympic qualifying times.

For Ellie McCartney it was her first competitive action in 14 months, with the Enniskillen swimmer having only returned to training in the middle of January when she fell into the age category to be deemed as elite.

Ellie produced a number of strong performances during the week, just missing out on a personal best by 0.1 seconds in the 100m Breaststroke, before then setting a new personal best in the 200m IM.

Given that she had only three months of training under her belt, Ellie was delighted with the way the gala went for her.

“It was really good. The people I have been training against have been racing almost non-stop and I’m only back since January, so to get a personal best in the IM with such a short training time, I was over the moon.

“I was also very pleased with the 100m Breaststroke; to have got so close to my PB was excellent,” she said.

Indeed, the talented teenager was just happy to be back competing.

“That was good. It has been a long time, we have just been able to do time trials in your home training pool which for me at the moment is Craigavon; I have to travel up there most days for training,” added Ellie.

The gala was broadcast live and McCartney caught the eye of RTE’s Nick O’Hare, who was again full of praise for Ellie’s IM race on Thursday morning’s heats, stating it was a ‘super swim’ with particularly good Breaststroke and ‘beautiful breathing technique on front crawl’.

Cora Rooney, who is from Ballyshannon but is a member of the Enniskillen Lakelanders, was another to impress in Dublin.

Cora raced in the100m Backstroke alongside Olympic hopeful Danielle Hill, with Cora completing the final with a great personal best of 1.05.47.

Cora’s technical skill approach really shone through later in her 200m Backstroke and she, too, was praised by RTE’s commentator O’Hare, who complimented her stroke and efficiency, also stating Cora will be “one of the stars of the future” and she has “textbook backstroke finish” as well as compliments on her turns.

Cora raced all three 200m back races by herself, which is difficult, but she and her coach were incredibly pleased as she was just 1.32s outside her personal best.

Lakelanders Coach accompanying both swimmers, Sinead Donagher, praised their efforts.

“Both girls approached this meet with great positivity and support towards each other and took away excellent experience in preparation for their careers in swimming,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lakelanders Chair Sara Lannon welcomed their success at national level: “Ellie and Cora’s efforts and performances will be a great inspiration to all our club members who cannot wait to get back to the water soon to resume their training.”