Family's passion for swimming pays off at Community Games
A DUBLIN family with a passion for swimming achieved phenomenal success at the Community Games finals over the weekend.
Andrew (15), Robert (14), Matthew (11) and Katie (8) Hynes from Iona Road in Drumcondra, Dublin, were among the 2,500 children competing in the finals at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Co Westmeath.
The three boys, who all participated in last year's Liffey Swim, made up three- quarters of an under-16 swimming team at the games.
Proud parents Joan and Billy Hynes have been taking their children swimming in St Vincent's CBS in Glasnevin since they were three.
Katie reached the semi- finals in the girls' under 10 freestyle swimming yesterday, while Andrew took gold in the boys' under 16 freestyle event on Saturday.
Matthew won bronze in the under 12 breaststroke.
"They are absolutely brilliant," said Mr Hynes, "they do sea swims as well, the three of them (boys) did the Liffey Swim last year."
Ms Hynes might need a bigger trophy cabinet in future. "They have seven medals at national level," she remarked. "I'm very proud of them, they trained very hard," she said. "It's a good interest and it keeps them fit."
Ms Hynes said Matthew was the youngest participant in the 2010 Liffey Swim and is likely to be again when he returns to the event this year.
For Andrew, who trains with coach Alan Turner of Aer Lingus Swimming Club, "it's good fun".
He spends 14 hours a week training and hasn't ruled out any other competitions for the future.
Thousands of youngsters gathered in Athlone to participate in the second round of the Community Games national finals over the weekend.
The 2,500 children were supported by family, friends and around 350 volunteers as they took part in a range of sporting and cultural activities.
Community Games CEO, Fiachra O Mathuna, said the games have both a social and competitive dimension.
"We are about being as inclusive as possible," he explained.
Among other initiatives, the Community Games has begun a drive to attract competitors from all cultural backgrounds and leaflets in a range of languages are being distributed towards that end, said Mr O Mathuna.
With over 20,000 volunteers and 200,000 participants across the 32 counties, the community games are constantly evolving.
Over its 44-year history, the Community Games has boasted celebrities such as Grainne Murphy, Sonia O'Sullivan, Niall Quinn, John Treacy, actress Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell among its former participants.
The final weekend of the games takes place in Athlone Institute of Technology from August 19 to 21.