Armagh SC hosted Belfast team Alliance in the first home gala of 2016 in the Forest Feast Aquasprint League.
This was the first big home test for the team of 7-11 year olds since many were experiencing their first or second gala since joining the club in September.
Notably two new swimmers Emeid Coogan & Joe Flanagan made significant contributions to their relay teams and both achieved top three placings in their individual races.
After the first 4 events, the Medley Relays, the score was level with both teams having won two and lost two. This can be an indication of how a gala is going to conclude and a draw was not what ASC were after.
Headed up by captains Tiernan Campbell, Ethan McAnerney & Fainche Drumm the Armagh team started to settle and concentrate on listening for the whistle to perfect sharp and streamline starts. In the first individual race, 25m Backcrawl for 8/9 years and under Armagh swimmer Iona Beattie had the team roaring from pool bank when she took the lead and held it to finish in 1st place – an unbelievable achievement from a 7 year old.
This was just what the team needed and so the competition began in earnest. The 8/9 boys took to the water for their 25m back crawl and schools All-Ireland medal winner Ryan Johnson delivered a comfortable 1st place. Eyes swiftly turned to see 7 year old Sean Sands finish in 2nd place – another great achievement from a young promising swimmer.
The team benefited from some dynamic duo performances of 1st & 2nd places from Courtney Johnston & Eleanor McDermott, Laura Lu & Kirstie McCall, Toni Anastasia & Anna-Kate Larkin.
By the end of the individuals the two teams were only separated by a few points in favour of Armagh. But given the earlier relay performances and the high marks allowed for relay wins Armagh couldn’t afford to be complacent and coaches Brian, Fionnuala & Paddy had team talks to encourage the swimmers to dive well, remember their underwater kicks and fast finishes. They didn’t disappoint – Armagh sealed the gala by winning all relay events in the front crawl finale. Final Score Armagh 221 Alliance 179.
The winning Arnagh team were Aoife Drumm, Anna Hughes, Ryan Johnston, Tom Fox, Darragh Maguire, Eleanor McDermott, Joe Flanagan, Courtney Johnston, Emeid Coogan, Laura Lu, Andrew Larkin, Kirstie McCall, Saul McAnerney, Toni Anastovia, Zech McCarragher, Anna-Kate Larkin, Matthew Morrison, Olivia Flanagan, Iona Beattie, Sean Sands, Ronan Hassan, Cliodhna Drumm, James McParland, Aaron Hughes, Fainche Drumm, Roisin Hassan, Niall Maguire, Ella Shortt, Tiernan Campbell, Matthew Morrison, Ethan McAnerney, Ellie Rose White, Katie Olsen, Mys McCooe, Sophie Conn, Hannah Bunting, Daisy Gillespie, Caoimhe Farnan,