The Irish regional development and pathway squads took to Glasgow for Scottish Nationals Open Championships which kicked off on Thursday, 28th of June and wrapped up on Sunday. A successful trip for the Irish swimmers who have come home with several medals from the event. 79 swimmers travelled to compete at the event and is great preparation for the upcoming Irish Summer Nationals. The finals were streamed live on Scottish Swimming’s YouTube channel and can be watched back. Catch the first final session below:
Irish Nationals will take place later this month in the National Aquatic Centre, Blanchardstown from Wednesday, 25th July – Sunday, 29th July and will feature many of Ireland’s top athletes. International athletes are known to compete at this event, making for a great display of competition, with all athletes pushing to deliver their best. As one of the most notable events in the Irish swimming calendar, if you’re interested in seeing some top class racing, the National Aquatic Centre boasts ample seating with a great view of the pool.
Emma Reid of Ulster took home the first medal for Ireland in the 100m butterfly final on Thursday. Reid finished in a time of 1:01.43, with Leinster swimmer, Jane Roberts, finishing in 1:02.26 for fourth. The girls were in action again in the 50m fly, which was a very tight race, with Emma again finishing just ahead of Jane. It was bronze for Emma Reid, with Jane Roberts 0.09 seconds out of the medals.
Clodagh Flood was also competing in the butterfly events, making B Final’s in all distances. In the 100m, she finished in a time of 1:02.2, which would have been very competitive and had her in the top end of the group in the A Final and it was unlucky that she didn’t qualify from the heats. In the 50m she finished second in the race, in a time of 28.35 and then went on to win the 200m butterfly in 2:18.58.
Paralympian, Bethany Firth (S14), had a winning weekend at the Scottish Nationals taking home five medals; gold in the 200m freestyle, 200IM and 50m freestyle, as well as two silver medals in 100m backcrawl and 100m freestyle. Alice Tai of Bournemouth beat Firth in both of the 100m events. Bethany competes in the S14 grade while Tai competes in the S8.
17 year old breastroker, Eimear Doyle, was first competing in the 100m she finished 7th in the A final, attaining a new personal best time. She swam a time of 1:14.1, while Kara Hanlon of Edinburgh won in a time of 1:09.37. In the 200m breastroke, Doyle pipped fellow Irish swimmer, Beth Gardiner by 0.2 of a second, leaving them in 18th and 19th position respectively. Eimear was again in action in the A Final for the 50m breastroke and finished just shy of a bronze medal. Kara Hanlon (Edinburgh) took home another gold medal with a time of 32.02, Beth Aitchison of Loughboro took silver and Eve Thompson took bronze. Doyle was 0.34 seconds behind Thomspon. Fifteen year old Mia Davison was also in action in the A Final, finishing in 8th position in a time of 34.05. Jessica Burke of Leinster, finished in second position in the B Final, behind Northampton’s Ailsa McDonald.
UCD’s Kate Kavanagh, finished 5th in the backcrawl A Final with a final time of 30.18. She was the fastest Irish competitor in the 100m backcrawl, finishing 16th overall in a time of 1:05.78. Isabelle Gibbs of Connacht was also in action in the B Final, finishing 18th in a time of 1:06.12.
The 800 Freestyle saw three young Irish swimmers competing. 15 year old Ella Donegan of Ulster finished 21st, in 9:31.85 minutes. Hannah O’Shea followed in 22nd, in 9:35.48, a great achievement for the 14 year old Munster swimmer. Danielle Farrell of Connacht, also 15, swam 9:38.91, giving her 24th place overall. It was great experience for the young swimmers, placing well out of 46 swimmers who competed in event.
Sharon Semchiy of Munster was in action in the 200m freestyle B Final, swimming 2:07.11. It was a tight race, with the top 5 swimmers in the B Final finishing within a second a half of each other. Semchiy finished 4th in the B Final and had the 13th fastest final time overall.
The Irish teams were just edged out of podium finishes in the 4 x 200m freestyle and 4 x 100m freestyle and it wasn’t until the concluding day that they secured a medal in the 4 x 100m Medley relay. The 4 x 200m saw Leinster A with a fourth place finish (8:43.95), Connacht A in 7th (8:52.01), just ahead of Leinster B in 8th who recorded a time of 8:54.18. The 4 x 100m freestyle resulted in a 5th place finish for Leinster A, 8th place for Connacht and 12th for Ulster. The 4 x 100m Medley relay was a strong event for both Leinster A and Ulster B, finishing in 3rd and 4th position in the last race of the competition. The team Kate Kavanagh, Jessica Burke, Jane Roberts and Cara Stapleton secured the bronze, beating Ulster B by just over a second. Strong performances by both teams, demonstrating the potential in Irish swimming going forward.