It was a hugely successful weekend for Larne Swimming Club at the Ulster Age Group Championships with 14 gold medals, 14 silver and 10 bronze, along with 142 individual finals swims and 200 personal best times!
Five hundred swimmers from 40 clubs all around Ireland converged on Bangor for the first-ever Ulster Long Course Meet at the new Aurora 50 metre pool.
Larne had 55 swimmers racing over the weekend, with every one competing in finals sessions, either in individual races or as part of relay teams.
Day one of the meet got off to a flying start with Carnmoney girl Danielle Hill striking gold in the 800m freestyle and 200m backstroke. Oonagh O’Neill also scooped gold in the 200m backstroke in her age group.
Hill gained a silver medal in the 200m backstroke along with Conor Ferguson who achieved silver in the 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke. Likewise, Mark Doherty touched in second place to scoop silver in the 200m backstroke.
Closely fought to the end, Erin Barr touched in a third place to gain bronze in the 800m freestyle as well as the 100m breaststroke.
O’Neill achieved bronze in the 100m freestyle along with Finn Purdy in the 200m backstroke.
In the medley team relays (12-14 boys) Scott Kane, Lui Hurson, Ryan Lewis and Charlie George scooped a bronze, while the nine to 12-year-old girls’ team of Sophia Del Castillo, Erin Barr, Lydia Mees and Amy Barr took silver.
On Day Two, Larne continued where they had left off when Sinead Gourley won bronze in the 100m backstroke, with Lydia Mees achieving bronze in the 100m butterfly.
Adam Mahood stepped up to the mark to take silver in the 100m butterfly, while Hill silver in the 400m freestyle.
Finn Purdy was awarded a well-deserved silver in the gruelling 1500m freestyle.
O’Neill, Katie Baird and Hill all struck gold in their age groups of the 100m backstroke events. Hill accomplished another gold in the 200 individual medley, while Conor Ferguson produced incredible swims to finish in pole position in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
O’Neill, Kendra Kemp, Hill and Baird battled out a new Irish and Ulster junior record in the women’s Medley team relay (9-16 years).
Hill again touched in on pole position in one of the toughest events, the 400m IM on Day Three. Ferguson also scooped gold, this time in the 200m IM.
Adam Mahood had a super race in the 200 fly and achieved a very commendable gold. Continuing her incredible medal haul, Hill was placed in silver position in the 100m butterfly with Purdy also achieving second place for silver in his 100m backstroke race.
Erin Barr won silver in the 200m breaststroke, and Georgia Lyttle the silver in the 200m freestyle.
With Mark Doherty and Ruairi Hurson both swimming the 400m freestyle, the pair managed bronze medals in their respective age groups. Patrick George also attained bronze in the 100m backstroke.
Finishing off the session, and a spectacular meet, the 13 – 14-year-old freestyle team relay of Purdy, Charlie George, Ryan Lewis and Lui Hurson scooped Larne’s 14th silver medal.
The women’s 13 – 14 freestyle team relay of Hill, Baird, Georgia Lyttle and Maria Del Castillo battled out a tense race to touch pole position and achieve Larne’s 15th gold of the meet! Hill’s first-leg split in this relay race was a new Ulster 50m record!
To top all of these successes 14 year old Conor Ferguson was awarded the inaugural ‘Madine Trophy’ as the best swim of the meet for his 100 backstroke.