TWENTY-SIX swimmers from Sligo made their way through a thick freezing fog to Ballina, joining other swimmers from Castlebar, Claremorris, Balllina and Westport for the region's graded B/C gala.
From the youngest swimmer attending, Zoe Melvin (age 7), to those more senior, Sligo Swim Club's B/C squad performed with style and speed.
The first Sligo competitor to step up to the block was Leonardo Donadoni (9) in the 100 metre freestyle.
Donadoni quickly established a clear lead and finished first in his heat, taking nearly six seconds off his time to achieve a PB.
Other Sligo swimmers literally smashed their records: Patrick Maher (11) swam nearly a 15 second PB powering to an amazing 1:25.88 finish, just seconds off an A time.
Oisin Harte (10) knocked nearly 20 seconds off his 100 free and Dylan Martin (12) swam a PB by 11 seconds.
Niall O'Donovan (11) swam a phenomenal race winning the Gold C medal for Sligo and Eoin Dwyer (10) from Riverstown achieved the Gold B medal, swimming the overall fastest Under 11 boy's time in 1:22.97. There were other brilliant finishes in the boys' 100 metre free including fantastic swims from Eoghan Kearns (10) Thomas Maher (13) and first time gala participant Patrick Clarke (13).
The girls 100 free was equally gripping. Zoe Melvin (7) took 36 seconds off her 100 free for a startling PB.
Danielle Farrell (9) swam a phenomenal 1:33.93, just 2 seconds outside a B time, earning her a medal.
Other Sligo swimmers in the 100 free included Tara Monds (10), Cliodhna O'Sullivan (8), Emma McGoldrick (10) Bronagh Holmes (9), and Ella O'Donovan (8). Liadhan Hanley (11) easily cleared the B time in a strong swim, breaking her own record, quickly followed by Mairead Kavanagh (11) and Roisin Durey (14), who was attending her very first gala.
Two of the most exciting Sligo stories on the day were the performances of Caoimhe O'Sullivan (11) from Ransboro who achieved an A certificate in every swim: the 100 free, 100 IM and 50 fly and her teammate Naoise Scott Ryan (10), Collooney, who achieved an A certificate in the 50 fly, adding to her other A certificates. These were phenomenal performances from two promising swimmers.
In the IM, which consists of butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke and freestyle, Sligo again showed strength. In the 100 metre IM Carrie McDaid took six seconds off her time and was just a second away from an A time, an incredible achievement for the ten year old from Dromahair who achieved the Silver B medal.
Rachel Martin also swam her way to a Silver medal and a personal best, followed by bronze medal winner Sarah Melvin (10) from Calry. In the daunting 200 IM, Diarmuid Harte (12), Dylan Martin (12), and David Woods (14) made their debut and did so with courage and pluck, achieving multiple medals for Sligo.
One Sligo swimmer was prevented from swimming due to injury but travelled with his team lending support to his teammates; Sean Keaney (11) from Calry demonstrated what good sportsmanship is all about.