SOME strong individual performances, particularly from the senior squad members, ensured that SWSC retained the Michael Bowles Cup.
In the Open 50m sprint finals, Beth Nolan topped an all SWSC podium in a very close backstroke final, Nolan on 31.07, Lauren Farr 31.93 and Antonia Sech on 32.04.
Nolan and Farr claimed the top two places at the freestyle Nolan 26.88 and Farr on 28.53 with Heather Fane, Dolphin placed third on 28.68.
Nolan was the comfortable victor at 100m back 1:05.64 with Fane in 2nd 1:08.04 and Ciara Gardiner, SWSC completing the podium 1:12.34.
The same trio featured on the podium for 100m IM, Nolan 1:06.37, Fane 1:08.83 and Gardiner 1:13.82. Nolan also added victory at 200m back 2:23.33.
The girls from the Well delivered over the 800m freestyle with Grace Lynch in pole, followed by Viktoria Sarkany and Holly Lyons. Lynch added victory over the shorter 100m free 1:05.87 with Jane Ward, Blackrock in third 1:08.99.
The senior boys, Rory Lee, Marc Galland and Evan McArdle were regulars on the podium. All three featured at 100m free.
A close battle saw Lee clinch the victory 55.00 ahead of Galland 55.26, McARdle on 59.31. Lee and Galland claimed first & second at 100m back and 100m fly while it was Galland and McArdle who shared the top two places at 200m free.
The sprint specialist, Noah Switzer, Dolphin topped the 50m free podium 24.65 with Lee in 2nd 25.29 and Galland 3rd with 25.50.
There were some very close and exciting finals over the two-day meet, most notably, the boys 15-16 400m freestyle.
Local rivals, the Well’s Michael O’Driscoll and Blackrock’s Alex Barrett could not be separated over the 16 lengths but it was Barrett who clinched victory 4:26.13 with O’Driscoll on 4:26.16. Dolphin’s Adam Spillane completed the podium 4:45.65. O’Driscoll was also in another exceptional battle over 1,500m freestyle. With a challenging 60 lengths of the pool ahead of them, local boy, O’Driscoll and Dolphin’s Ben Merrigan produced a classic. On each other’s shoulders throughout the entire race, it was O’Driscoll who touched first with 17:41.78 with Merrigan on 17:41.84. Both were rewarded with tumultuous cheers from an appreciative audience. O’Driscoll made it a distance double with victory at 800m free 9:26.29 ahead of the Dolphin duo Ricky Fane 9:41.72 and Adam Spillane 10:09.51.
Another to grip the attention of the spectators was the girls 13-14 100m free final. Orna Higgins, Dolphin had two seconds to spare 1:05.36 but a battle royale was taking place behind her. The Well’s Caoilinn O’Connor clinched 2nd place, by the narrowest of margins 1:07.24 with Aoibhe Moroney, Dolphin 1:07.25.
Impressive swims from junior swimmers, Sofie Moloney, Blackrock 32.49 and Orna Higgins 32.65 yielded 2nd & 3rd over the sprint 50m butterfly final with Ciara Gardiner, SWSC in pole with 32.11.
In the girls 15-16 age group, SWSC trio, Lauren Farr, Antonia Sech and Laoise Deasy claimed all three places at 200m back with Farr and Sech doubling up over 100m back. Deasy was pipped into third place 1:14.95 by clubmate Amy Lynch 1:14.27.
The visitors took the lion’s share of medals in the boys 15-16 events. Alex Barrett, Blackrock topped the 400m IM podium 5:02.28 ahead of Dolphin duo Ben Merrigan 5:06.40 and Ricky Fane 5:08.08. Barrett is a butterfly specialist and claimed victory at both the 200m 2:21.16 and 1:04.25 over 100m. He was joined by clubmate Gearoid Mahon 1:07.85 in 3rd with O’Driscoll taking 2nd with 1:06.23 at the 100m distance. Barrett and Mahon were again 1st and 3rd at 200m IM with Ben Merrigan splitting the pair. Merrigan and Mahon were 2nd and 3rd over 100m breast with the Well’s Sean Bugler in pole.
Dolphin’s Noah Switzer swam a new Munster Record time 53.61 to take the 100m free title ahead of the Well’s duo Sean Bugler 56.25 and Michael O’Driscoll 57.35.
The Blackrock Club were particularly dominant in the boys 10-12 age group with Garvan Gillard leading the charge with victories at 100m & 200m fly and second place finishes at 100m back, 200m free and 200m IM. Lev Lobanets claimed the 100m free title and placed second at 100m breast, 100m IM and was third at 200m free. Max O’Connor was the double breaststroke champion while Andy Spritzer claimed silver over 400m freestyle.