Cork swimmers impressive at Munster Short Course Championships at UL

Athletes were seeking qualification standards for the Irish Championships at the National Aquatic Centre this month
Cork swimmers impressive at Munster Short Course Championships at UL

Sunday's Well Swimming Club girls Ciara Myser, Poppy Nolan, Matilda Lyons and Katie Olden at the Munster Short Course Championships at University of Limerick. Picture: Cliona O'Connor

UNIVERSITY of Limerick was the venue for the recent Munster Short Course Championships, which saw entry numbers reminiscent of pre-Covid times. 

There were large teams from the Cork clubs, with athletes seeking qualification standards for the Irish Short Course Championships to be held at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin in mid-December.

It was a good outing for Sunday's Well with sprint specialist, Sharon Semchiy, the top Cork performer of the meet. Semchiy claimed victory at 50m & 100m butterfly and at 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. She touched on 28.87 for 50m fly, followed closely by Hannah O’Shea, Dolphin 29.15 and clubmate Isabel Kidney in third with 30.02. She had two seconds to spare over 100m fly, posting 1:02.87 with O’Shea on 1:04.86 in 2nd. Semchiy touched on 26.58 at 50m freestyle and was followed by the Dolphin duo, O’Shea in 2nd with 27.61 and Laura Killen completing the podium on 27.75. Semchiy was the only Cork representative on the 50m backstroke podium, claiming victory with 30.39.

Isabel Kidney was another in superb form for the Well, claiming a breaststroke treble. Kidney had a comfortable four-second margin of victory at 200m, 2:40.42 with Dolphin’s Michelle O’Shea in 2nd on 2:44.42. She also had a four-second margin at 100m, 1:14.10 with O’Shea pipped into 3rd on that occasion 1:18.61, by Paralympian Róisín Ní Riain, Limerick, 1:18.18. The 50m final produced a nail-biting finish as Kidney was pushed all the way by club mate, Beth Nolan, but it was Kidney who touched first with 33.52, Nolan in 2nd on 33.75 and Dolphin’s Lexi Dunne completed the podium for Cork with 34.84.

Nolan had two victories of her own, they came at 200m backstroke and 100m IM. Nolan was the comfortable victor at 200m back, touching on 2:20.53. Michelle O’Shea was third on 2:28.95. She posted 1:05.95 to claim the 100m IM title with Heather Fane, Dolphin in 3rd with 1:08.36.

Anna Feenan, SWSC, won double gold at the freestyle events. She topped an all-Cork podium at 200m touching on 2:08.68. There was a battle royale behind with clubmate Ellen Lee holding off the chasing Hannah O’Shea. Lee posted 2:09.37 with O’Shea in 3rd with 2:09.45. Feenan was the only Cork representative on the 100m podium, touching on 59.41. Clubmate Isabel Kidney who had qualified in 2nd place for the final, also on a sub-minute time, 59.26, scratched from the 100m free final to concentrate on her preferred breaststroke finals. Feenan’s older brother, Andrew lifted the 200m breaststroke title, 2:22.74 ahead of Limerick’s Aonghus Cooke in 2nd and Dolphin’s Ricky Fane in 3rd with 2:38.13. He had to settle for 2nd over the sprint 50m 31.23 with Ewan Fane, Dolphin in 3rd on 31.88.

PROMINENT

The Fane siblings also featured prominently for Dolphin, with Heather the victor over the challenging 1,500, freestyle 19:24.37, Mallow’s Fiorna O’Keeffe placed 2nd with 20:03.86. Older brother Ewan added silver at 100m breaststroke 1:09.23 and younger brother, Ricky in 3rd on 1:11.75. Ricky added a third bronze at 200m IM 2:19.48. The event was won by clubmate, Charlie Cassidy 2:17.82.

Cassidy was the victor at 200m backstroke 2:10.27 and he collected three silver medals at 100m IM 1:01.80, 100m freestyle 53.17 and 50m backstroke 28.24.

The performance of the meet saw Dolphin’s Izzy McGrath shave two seconds from her preliminary swim, 1:05.92, to win the 100m backstroke final by just 1/100th of a second from Paralympian Ní Riain 1:05.93. Laura Killen completed the podium with 1:06.33.

Alex Barrett was the star for Blackrock with silver at 400m IM 4:53.85 and silver at 200m butterfly 2:19.82. He also collected double bronze at 400m freestyle 4:20.16 and 100m butterfly 1:02.11.

Cadan McCarthy was the only other medallist for Mallow Swans with victory at 400m IM 4:30.81.

The very first event of the championships was the Mixed 200m freestyle relay. In an exciting finish, the team from Dolphin clinched victory 1:43.93 ahead of two teams from SWSC, the ‘A’ team on 1:44.09 and the ‘B’ team on 1:44.97. Another extremely close relay saw the SWSC men’s medley team reverse the placings to clinch victory on 1:51.09 just 4/100th of a second ahead of the team from Dolphin 1:51.13. The team from Limerick completed the podium.

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