Last weekend saw yet another exceptional gala for City of Belfast, 23 of our swimmers took part in the Ulster Age Groups over three days, resulting in 75 PB’s out of 86 swims, an amazing set of results. In total CoB picked up 20 medals! 9 Gold, 1 Silver and 10 Bronze. Just to illustrate how far the club has moved forward, in 2013 we had 3 swimmers competing at this event and 12 in 2014. This is a huge improvement and everyone is highly motivated to continue making this amazing progress.
The weekend couldn’t have gone any better; every single swimmer performed incredibly well, making the weekend thoroughly enjoyable the coaches. Day one kick started with the boys 200 Freestyle were Michael and William both made finals in very competitive age groups. The girls didn’t disappoint in the 100 Freestyle straight after, starting off with a 2 second PB from Ellie in her final (11 & U), Emma destroying her previous PB by 3 seconds and finishing in 3rd place in the 12 year old final and then in the 13 year old final we had two of our swimmers on the podium. Alex won gold with a perfectly executed swim and Ollie came in in 3rd place. Next we had a 4 second PB for Max to make the final of the 100 Breast along with Anna and Zara-Jane also making their 100 Breast finals. Between the boys and girls we had 9 swimmers in the 200 Back finals, including Theo in his first ever final (11& U), dropping 8 seconds from his previous PB. Meanwhile COB were well represented in the 13 year olds 200 Back with Ollie, Alex and Fionulla all in the mix, Ollie outclassed her competition to win Gold in this event, 5 seconds clear of the silver medal. The session finished off with some relays where some of our other C2 and C1 swimmers came down to experience swimming at this level. All swimmers had brilliant splits and has hopefully helped them to realize some of their potential!
Day two saw a lot of big barriers broken. The morning started with Michael hitting a huge 3 second PB in his 100 Free and breaking the 1-minute barrier for the first time! Michael, in a very competitive field finished up in 4th place in his final. William made the 13 year old final with a .6 of a second PB but told me not to worry as he was only getting warmed up! The final came and William was ready to go. He pulled out an amazing swim to win the bronze medal as he did in the previous year. Emma was on fire throughout the whole weekend and started her Saturday off with an 11 second PB in 200 IM followed by Ollie winning another bronze medal with a 6 second PB. The Girls 100 Backstroke saw probably the swim of the year so far with Ollie winning in a time of 69.6 (5 seconds clear of the next Ulster swimmer), you could see her determination in this race and there was nothing stopping her winning and breaking the 70 second marker. Alex finished in 3rd place in this event also. Max achieved a 5 second PB in his 200 Breast and made the final where he knocked another second off his time. In the 100 Butterfly Thomas swam a big PB in the heats to make the final where William also joined him. Michael also made the 14 year olds final. The day was finished off again with more impressive relays and splits! Emma broke 30 for 50 Freestyle for the first time while C2 swimmers Jericho and Michael pulled their weight with great splits in their relays. Well done boys.
The final day was tough, everyone was tired and the events were long. The boys were up first with 200 IM where William achieved a 15 second PB and made the final. We had Emma and Zara-Jane in the 400 IM finishing 10th and 11th respectively. Then Alex was up again in the 100 Fly and took Gold in this event with a 5 second PB. Theo had the swim of his life in the 100 Back where he got a 2 second PB and narrowly missed out on a medal by only .08 of a second! Next time he won’t look for the wall! Zara-Jane celebrated her birthday with a 400 IM, 200 breast and the 4×50 Freestyle relay, along with her mum and dad embarrassing her with a birthday cake and the team singing happy birthday to her! She dropped 5 seconds from her previous PB and swam the final in 200 breast. The last individual event was the girls 200 free where we had 5 swimmers (Ellie, Emma, Alex, Ollie and Esmee) all competing in the finals. All the girls were shattered by this stage but somehow managed to still pull out great swims. Emma swam an excellent race and came out with an 8 second PB while Ollie achieved a 9 second PB.
The weekend couldn’t have finished any better with the boys and girls 4×50 Freestyle relays both finishing in 3rd place. All swimmers had amazing splits and huge PB’s over 50 meters. The most impressive was probably William (he was well warmed up by this stage) with a superb time of 26.9, the boys finished in a time of 1.56.5 and the girls in 1.59.1.
Every swimmer represented the club well and all the coaches were very proud of everyone! Well done guys and thanks for a great weekend!
Iain & Conor