Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Record Breaking Performances by Larne Swimmers

Junior 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Team & 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Team
L-R: Gavin Williamson, Conor Leaney, Shane Traill & Wilson Logan
Holders of 2 new Ulster Junior Records, 2 new Ulster Senior Records and 2 new Irish Junior Records.
Larne Swimming Club competitors were in splashing good form at the recent Irish Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin last weekend. Over the weekend they won 3 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze medals, recorded numerous PBs and set an amazing total of 8 new records which included 5 Ulster records and 3 Irish records.

Sixteen year old, Wilson Logan had a great weekend of races but his most notable was when he swam a magnificent race in the 200m Butterfly. Wilson was placed 3rd in the event recording an

amazing 4 second PB with a time of 2.16.19, just three-tenths of a second off setting a new Ulster Junior Record.

Conor Leaney (15) swam in 5 individual races and qualified for the finals in each of them. His talent shone through when he gave the older and more experienced swimmers a run for their money. He was placed 5th in the 50m Freestyle (24.99), 6th in the 100m Freestyle (54.75), 6th in the 100m Butterfly (1.00.55) and recorded PBs in each of these events.

Shane Traill made the journey home from school in England to compete with his club mates. He too had a successful weekend and qualified to swim in all three finals of the individual events that he competed in. The fifteen year old was 7th in the 50m Freestyle with an incredible time of 25.57 and 7th in the 100m Freestyle (55.19).

Amidst fierce competition Larne took four out of the eight finalist places in the 50m & 100m Freestyle. There was great excitement when Andy Hunter and Jonny Niblock lined up with team mates Conor and Shane on the blocks for the battle of the pool to begin. Jonny took 2nd place in the 100m Freestyle with a PB of 53.37 closely followed by Andy in 3rd place (53.91). The atmosphere remained ecstatic during the 50m final and in a closely fought contest Jonny nudged ahead to take gold in a personal best time of 24.35 and the title of Irish National Champion. Andy in close pursuit was rewarded with the bronze medal.

Nick Browne swam in the 50m Breaststroke (33.84) & 100m Breaststroke (1.18.96) and whilst not recording PBs, swam excellent races. Team mate Gavin Williamson (16) was in sparkling form when he swam in four individual events, he qualified for one final, recorded three PBs and gained his National Squad Standard time in the 100m Freestyle with a time of 57.33.

Younger brother Owen Williamson (12) qualified and competed in the Age Group section of the Championships, a remarkable achievement for one so young. Owen swam in the 200m Freestyle (2.35.72) and the 200m Breaststroke (3.11.07), he recorded PBs in each event and in the Breaststroke was placed 4th overall and 1st Ulster swimmer in this age group.

Mark Wylie (11), the youngest of the Larne swimmers to compete, also swam in the Age Group section of the Championships. In the 200m Individual Medley he was placed 4th with a personal best time of 2.48.50 then in an astounding race during the 200m Breaststroke, he took gold to become Irish Age Group Long Course Champion in a time of 3.07.25 and also became the 1st Ulster swimmer in his age group.

Mark’s older sister Laura swam in the Irish Long Course Championships for the first time. Out of three individual races she recorded two personal best times in the 50m Breaststroke (39.03) and 200m Breaststroke (3.03.36). Fellow Breaststroker, Caroline Gordon did herself proud in her three races. She recorded 2 PBs, made three finals and was placed 8th in the 50m Breaststroke and 6th in the 100m Breaststroke.

Eimear Black was buzzing as she entered the water. She was one of the few swimmers to compete in 5 individual events, making 2 finals and recording PBs in each of the races. Again personal best times were evident during Laura Heaton’s swims. A dedicated distance swimmer, Laura knocked an amazing 12 seconds off her 800m Freestyle and was placed in 5th place overall. She also recorded PBs in her 100m & 200m Freestyle races and swam the 400m Freestyle in an excellent time of 4.44.58.

Larne’s relay teams were undoubtedly the talk of the NAC. On Friday evening, Conor Leaney, Shane Traill, Gavin Williamson and Wilson Logan made up the 4 x 200m Freestyle relay team. The junior boys took on the seniors and showed they were a cut above the rest as they set new Ulster Junior and Senior records and a new Irish Junior Record but their success was not to stop there.

On Saturday evening they teamed up again to produce an outstanding performance in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Team Relay. After words of encouragement from both the Head Coach Raymond Skillen and Assistant Coach Andy Hunter, urged on by their supporters, the boys stormed into 1st position in a time of 3.43.03. With the title of Irish National Champions under their belt they smashed records on the way and set new Ulster Junior, Ulster Senior and Irish Junior records.

Not to be outdone, Larne’s senior 4 x 100m Freestyle relay team took to the water in the final event of the Championships with Andy Hunter, Conor Leaney, Shane Traill and Jonny Niblock making up the team. Although two of the swimmers were classed as Juniors, having all been finalists in the 100m individual Freestyle finals, this was the team to watch! From the start they left the other teams in their wake, finishing 1st, seven seconds ahead of nearest rivals Trojan to take the title of Irish National Champions, setting a new Ulster Senior Record and a new Irish Senior Record which had stood for 11 years on the way.

This was a fitting way to finish a successful weekend of swimming and reinforces that Larne Swimming Club remains one of the top clubs in Ireland.