Enniskillen Lakelanders Swimming Club held their first fundraising Gala of the season on Sunday, November 12, with an event aimed at younger swimmers. Joining competitors from the local club were 13 visiting clubs from around the Ulster region.

For many of the 8-14-year-old competitors, this would be their first taste of individual competition, that all important first step for every sportsperson.

Swim Ireland referee Lars Beheme oversaw the 226 excited swimmers in attendance. Lars was supported by a strong group of 50 parents and older swimmers volunteering from the Lakelanders club which helped ensure that the busy gala ran smoothly.

It was a successful event for the Lakelanders raising much-needed club funds and giving swimmers the chance to put their training into practice and show off their talents with a haul of 54 medals and over 100 PBs on the day.

Gold medals were achieved by Mollie Kate Brewster (8) 50m Breaststroke, Michael Carron (10) 50m Breaststroke, Darragh Collins (12) 50m Breaststroke, Sophie Hanna (11) 50m Backstroke, Jakub Mikiewicz Lumayad (9) 50m Backstroke, Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle, Crea Mullen (11) 50m & 100m Freestyle, Ava Neal (13) 50m and 100m Breaststroke, 100m Backstroke, Erin Salcedo (13) 100m Freestyle, younger sister Keira Salcedo (11) 100m Breaststroke and Emma Speer (12) 50m Breaststroke.

The medals continued to flow with silver positions awarded to Mollie Kate Brewster (8) 50m Freestyle, Butterfly and Backstroke, Daire Burke (11) 100m Breaststroke, Darragh Collins (12) 50m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke, Emmett Coyle (11) 50m Breaststroke, Finn Coyle (8) 50m Backstroke and Freestyle, Lorcan Doherty (14) 100m Breaststroke, Sophie Hanna (11) 100m Backstroke, Niamh Howell (9) 50m Backstroke, 50m Butterfly, Myleene Leonard (12) 50m Freestyle, Tori Lilly (13) 50m Breaststroke, Martha McCreesh (12) 50m Butterfly, 100m Backstroke, Joseph McKenna (8) 50m Breaststroke, Anton Neal (12) 50m Breaststroke, Ava Neal (13) 100m Freestyle, Erin Salcedo (13) 50m Butterfly, 100m Backstroke, 50m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke, Keira Salcedo (11) 50m Breaststroke, Emma Speer (12) 100m Breaststroke.

Bronze medals were secured by Enda Burke (13) 100m Freestyle and 50m Breaststroke, Michael Carron (10) 50m Backstroke, Josh Cassidy (13) 50m Backstroke, Emmett Coyle (11) 100m Breaststroke, Finn Coyle (8) 50m Breaststroke, Clara Leonard (10) 50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke, Martha McCreesh (12) 100m Freestyle, Russell Mikievicz Lumayad (13) 100m Backstroke, Ryan Mongan (13) 100m Breaststroke and Tori Reid (13) 100m Breaststroke.

Not only did the local swimmers top the board on the medals count but many impressed their coaches by their strong swimming and new PBs including Charles Armstrong (11), Holly Barkley (12), Shannon Brennan (12), Rebecca Curran (12), Anna May Hill (12), Katie James (13), Maddie Maguire (11), Gavin Man (12), Tiana Mbeulani (10), Holly McCabe (12), Olivia McCaffrey (13), Katie McGowan (11), James McSorley (10), Luna Murphy (12), Tadhg Murphy (12), Ella Neal (11), Kealan Rice (10), Maia Rolston-McAuliffe (12) and Finley Walker- Leonard (12).

A large number of our young swimmers were competing at an individual meet for the first time – some of whom have only joined the club in the past three weeks including Leah Bannon (11), Domhnall Burke (9), Ella Rose Carron (8), Maria Clifford (9), Conor Collins (10), Tara Collins (8), Rachel Curran (10), Joshua Hill (10), Orlaith Howell (8), April Huang (9), Emily Irvine (8), Ciara Kennedy (10), Ellie Kennedy (9), Elin O’Donohue (9), Daithi Owens (10), Erin Quigley (11), Natalie Swidani (10) and Tori Veitch (10).

Chairperson Aideen Speer expressed her thanks to a wide range of people who all came together to make the Junior gala a success - praising all club members for their help and support, events like these can only run with the help and hard work of the volunteers.

Thanks are also expressed to the staff at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum for facilitating our event. The club are indebted to the generous sponsorship provided by local businesses (FM Metals, Enniskillen Tyre Centre, Mullen Domestic, Campbell Contracts Ltd, Cassidy and McCreesh Orthodontic Practice, SCH Construction, Encirc and Lisdergan Butchery). We are also very grateful to all local businesses and parents who donated and sourced a large number of wonderful raffle prizes and donations to our gala cafe.

Aideen praised Michelle Reihill, gala secretary for her trojan work behind the scenes and for the smooth running of the gala. She also thanked the coaching team made up of mostly volunteers for their commitment to all the swimmers. The support of the coaching team ensured we had a competitive event which was also an enjoyable learning experience for all.

The Lakelanders Club endeavours to make swimming fun for everyone and that happened today, it was clear to see from all the smiling faces of our own swimmers and our visiting competitors. We now look forward with renewed confidence to a great year of swimming.

The Senior swimmers are in action next weekend with the Ulster Short Course Championships at Lagan Valley Leisureplex Lisburn, good luck to all our competitors.