Masters coach, PJ Langton led six swimmers to success in the Ulster Masters Championships, which took place in South Lake Leisure Centre in Armagh in May.
Swim Ulster coordinated the competition, offering 22 different swimming events to over 300 competing swimmers. South Lake Leisure Centre’s new state-of-the-art 50-metre pool was heavenly to swim in; the Sligo Masters were in their element for the day.
Up at the crack of dawn, the fuel-efficient Sligo gang carpooled to the event.
They travelled up North in convoy, led by Northern native Phil Newell; who flexed his local lore with only one wrong turn.
The relay team tore into the first event, the 200m mixed freestyle relay.
With an epic start, Pat Tuohy launched the race for the team before Phil Newell’s quick turnover and second length sprint.
Elaina Sugrue proceeded to power down the pool and Carley Leydon finished strong with a super speedy swim, snagging bronze for Sligo.
Sligo Swim Club newcomer, and Strandhill surfer, Elaina Sugrue, made a splash at her first gala in over 12 years. Elaina bagged a silver in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle.
Things only went up from there when she won gold in the 100m breaststroke and gold in the 100m freestyle.
Phil Newell competed comfortably on home-ish turf. He bagged gold in the gruelling 400m freestyle event.
Later on, Phil took silver in the 100m freestyle, fuelled by fizz (coca-cola).
Super sprinter Carley Quinn grabbed a gold in her first ever 50m breaststroke.
Carley’s fast and furious swimming continued throughout the day, earning her two silvers in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle, and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.
Coffee-fueled Ciara Gilmartin scored silver in the 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke events. Ciara later nabbed a bronze in the 100m freestyle.
She also took part in the final, and self-proclaimed least exciting, event of the day; the painstaking 1,500m freestyle.
The tired, and regretful, swimmer half-swam/half-sank to a second-place finish.
Speedy Shane O’Doherty scored two gold medals in the trickiest middle-distance events: the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle. He celebrated his victory with a feast of two sausage rolls, a roll for each win.
Beneath Pat Tuohy’s reassuringly cool and calm demeanour was a fiery competitor.
Pat sprinted to victory in the 100m breaststroke, taking gold.
Shortly after, in an exceptionally fast race, he took silver in the 100m freestyle.
Coach PJ Langton had been working all night prior to the gala and still proceeded to coach and cheer the swimmers on with utmost enthusiasm.
The swimmers would like to extend their thanks to PJ, Martin, Elaine and Sligo Swim Club for their support; and also to Swim Ulster for an excellent event.