Wednesday 22 October 2014

Swimmers move to top tier after great performances

Niamh Aine Ryan

Published 17/07/2013 | 05:36

Kingdom Swimming Club Division One team on their way to the Swim Ireland Championships in Dublin this Thursday. Back; Ger McDonnell, Conor O'Donoghue, Jack Grace, Dylan Fitzgerald. Front: Ailbhe Connell, Sandra Lynch, Laura O'Shea, Sarah Gavaghan and Caomhan Daly.

KINGDOM Swimming Club are making waves this month as they make their way to a major event this weekend.

The club came in second place in Division 2 of the Swim Ireland Irish Age Group Championships recently beating off over 70 clubs from around the country and now they are heading up to the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin to compete in the Division 1 championships starting .

A lot of training has gone into these galas and competitions including a training week in Spain last month. They also train seven days a week in Tralee, including swim and gym time.

Ger McDonnell from Clogherbrien has been coaching the teenagers for eight years. "We've 11 swimmers heading to Dublin for the Division 1 event which is an outstanding achievement for the club. We should have 12 but Aisling Dwyer from Blennerville is out due to injury and she is hugely disappointed about it." said Ger.

The Kerryman caught up some of these superb swimmers in Tralee's Sports and Leisure Complex ahead of their trip to the National Aquatic Centre. The team are relaxed and confident for their races and are going to take it one swim stroke at a time.

Connor O'Donoghue (15) from Oakpark qualified for Division 1 last week in the 14/15 age category because he was faster than the qualifying time for Division 2. Connor has just completed his Junior Certificate in Mounthawk, and explains that juggling his studies with training was difficult, he even missed out on the Spanish training week. He's back on track now and excited for this weekend's competition.

Sarah Gavaghan (14) from Ballyard has been swimming for most her life. She won gold in the 100m Butterfly 13/14 female category in Division 2. "To prepare for a competition I load up on carbs and then I suck sweets at the side of the pool to keep my sugars up," she said. The Presentation Convent student swam twice a day for her training in Spain.

Dylan Fitzgerald (16) lives between the two beaches in Fenit but much prefers to swim in the pool. The Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí student's favourite stroke is the 400m freestyle and is competing in five different races this weekend.

Caomhán Daly (13) from Listowel is training seven days a week and will compete in a gruelling eight different events this weekend. "I've met some great new friends through swimming and am looking forward to travelling up to Dublin this weekend with them" said the Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí student.

Jack Grace (14) from Causeway has worked extra hard in training the last few weeks and is looking forward to putting himself to the test in Dublin. "I've been swimming since I was five and love everything about it, the training, meeting new friends, the water, everything" said Jack.

Laura O'Shea (17) is the proud club caption. The Kielduff woman and Presentation Convent, Tralee student is very excited for the forthcoming weekend. Laura's plan for the next week is to train and eat loads of carbs.

Sandra Lynch (16) is from Kielduff and has been training very hard - seven days a week for the past month. She is really looking forward to travelling up the National Aquatic Centre and competing as best as she can.

Ailbhe Connell (15) from Camp is three years with Kingdom Swimming Club and has met loads of new friends. The competitions are important to this Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí student and she is still as excited about getting into the swimming pool, as she was when she first joined.

The group was full of enthusiasm for what lies ahead in the capital. Best of luck to all of them.


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