The Enniskillen Lakelanders Swimming Club welcomed Armagh Swimming Club to the Lakeland Forum on Saturday for the 1st of their five Forest Feast AquaSprints this season. Armagh beat Enniskillen in the final last year and the local club was looking to reverse that result.
As usual the AquaSprint began with the Medley Relays and although Armagh won the youngest and the oldest relay, Enniskillen won the middle two age groups leaving the teams level on 20 points each. Fantastic swims by Annabel Morrison, Ela Winters and Anna McDade opened up a 23 second difference between their group B and the opposition.
The individual events began with the backcrawl and wins were registered for Abigail Boyd, Connor McLean, Ellie McCartney and Rowan Martin. It not enough to stop Armagh from winning the stroke by six points. Newbies Annie Fowler, Ruairi, O’Connor, James Kelly and Joel McGriskin showed how much they had improved in just a few weeks of the season. Rowan Martin led from the front with a new PB and a first place in group D.
Breaststroke followed and was dominated by the Fermanagh club; wins by Abigail Boyd, Annabel Morrison, Connor McLean, Ellie McCartney, Matthew Dolan and Tara McKenzie left Enniskillen 10 points ahead. Points were also scored by another first timer – Ciara O’Donnell. Personal Bests were gained by Eve Barrett and Will Kennedy.
The hardest stroke is Butterfly and Enniskillen performed reasonably well and matched Armagh’s performance in the stroke. Wins for Abigail Boyd, Patrick Williams, Ellie McCartney, Louie Burns and Jason Mann were vital to keep the home side in with an opportunity to beat Armagh.
The final individual event was the Freestyle. Once again Abigail Boyd, Connor McLean and Ellie McCartney reached the top spot. Eloise Boyd, Ruairi O’Connor, Cora Cassidy, Sinead Barrett, Matthew Dolan and Rowan Martin all contributed important points. In group D there was less than four tenths of a second between the top 3 boys.
The Lakelanders entered the last set of relays 10 points ahead – but that was unknown to them. They knew it was close and that good performances in the relays were important. Although the Group A relay was narrowly beaten the local team won the last three relays leaving them with a win overall by just 12 points. Huge congrats to Abigail Boyd, Connor McLean and Ellie McCartney who scored maximum points from their individual events.
This was a very early AquaSprint and that will help with fixture congestion later in the season. With 48 swimmers participating (16 in a competitive gala for the 1st times) and 29 personal best swims it shows that these swimmers have made a lot of progress in a very short time. With six weeks until the next AquaSprint there is lots of time for parents to ensure that swimmers have good quality goggles and streamline swimwear while the coaches can work on starts and technique. All the kids have to do is to come along participate and have fun.
Many thanks to the coaches and parents – especially those who were helping poolside for the first time. These events wouldn’t take place without their support.