CORK clubs, particularly the two City clubs brought large teams to the National Winter Championships, held recently at the NAC, Dublin.
Last week we featured the Open final results. However, there was also very strong performances from the Cork contingent, with many qualifying for Junior and Transition finals.
It was a great three days for the Fane siblings, Dolphin, with Heather victorious in the Junior 100m butterfly final. She swam a 1.07 second PB to touch on 1:05.73. She added bronze at 200m backstroke 2:25.30. She also qualified for the 200m IM and 100m backstroke finals. Her brothers Ewan and Ricky went head-to-head in the 200m breaststroke final. Both had significant PBs with Ewan touching for bronze on 2:32.63 with Ricky in 6th on 2:34.86. A 5 second PB at 400m IM 4:55.38 yielded gold for Ricky. He also competed in the 200m IM final.
The women’s 200m IM final pitched neighbours Anna Feenan, SWSC and Hannah O’Shea, Dolphin in a battle for medal placings. O’Shea led after the fly leg but Feenan had a strong backstroke leg to take the lead at the midway point. O’Shea came back strong on the final freestyle leg, but Feenan had built up a strong lead to hold on for silver 2:25.13 with O’Shea just behind on 2:25.17 for bronze. Feenan topped the podium in her specialist 200m freestyle 2:07.82 while her clubmate Ellen Lee placed 2nd in the Junior final on 2:11.03. O’Shea had a significant PB to top the 100m butterfly podium 1:04.05, a time which would have placed her 8th overall in the Open final.
Neddie Irwin was the Cork star on the final day. He had a 1.69 second PB in his prelim swim to qualify for the Open final. He further improved by 2.16 seconds to place second 2:01.57. Ben Merrigan was the victor at 200m IM 2:20.97 and also qualified for the finals at 200m & 100m backstroke and 400m IM. Charlie Cassidy was another to produce a significant PB at 200m freestyle 1:52.92 to claim silver. He also qualified for the 200m backstroke and 50m freestyle finals.
Antonia Sech, SWSC won silver at 200m IM 2:28.53 and bronze at 200m backstroke 2:21.98. She also qualified for the 100m backstroke final. Clubmate, Sharon Semchiy won bronze in the 100m butterfly final 1:02.94 and narrowly missed out on a second bronze when she placed 4th at 50m freestyle 27.05.
Beth Nolan qualified for the Open final at 200m backstroke and 200m breaststroke. She placed 7th overall with 2:22.43 in back and 2:39.99 in breaststroke. Isabel Kidney placed 5th in the Open 200m IM 2:24.33 and was the silver medallist in the Transitional 200m breaststroke final 2:41.08. She placed 4th in the Junior 50m breaststroke final 33.02.
Others to qualify for individual finals include Lexi Dunne, Izzy McGrath, Laura Killen, Michelle O’Shea, Cian George and Noah Switzer from Dolphin. Sean Bugler from SWSC, Alex Barrett from Blackrock and Senan Harvey from Mallow.
There was a local derby swim in the women’s 200m freestyle relay with the Dolphin quartet Laura Killen, Izzy McGrath, Heather Fane and Hannah O’Shea winning bronze at 200m freestyle 1:51.61 marginally ahead of SWSC’s Anna Feenan, Ellen Lee, Isabel Kidney and Beth Nolan 1:51.81. The SWSC team, with a change of personnel, Sharon Semchiy replacing Ellen Lee in the medley relay, reversed the placings when they touched on 2:00.63 to lift National bronze ahead of the Dolphin team on 2:02.21.
On conclusion of the championships, National Performance Director Jon Rudd said, "This has been a terrific three days of racing in Dublin, with those in the stands and those watching the livestream getting the chance to enjoy some truly exciting racing.
"Pride of place must go to Daniel Wiffen for setting a scintillating European Record for the 800m Freestyle, Ireland's first ever such record and to Roisin Ni Riain for setting and then resetting a World Para Record in the 200m Backstroke.
"We have also seen 11 Irish Records broken at this meet and the depth of racing here has been very pleasing to see. Hats off too to Ellen Walshe for some stellar performances on her return to the racing pool. Next up for us is the McCullagh International in February as we head into the Irish Open in April, our Trials for the 2023 summer international meets."