THE first half of the Munster Aspiring Champions meet took place at the University of Limerick recently with the second half of the competition due to take place at the same venue on March 25.
Swimmers were hoping to achieve qualification times for summer nationals.
The Dolphin duo, Shauna Murphy and Ruby Swinburne approached the finish line of the 15-16 years 100m breaststroke with little separating them. Murphy clinched victory on 1:23.19 with Swinburne second on 1:23.62. Murphy topped an all-Cork podium, in another close contest, at 50m backstroke. She touched on 33.16 ahead of the SWSC pair, Jenna McArdle on 33.66 and Carrie Harrington on 34.42. McArdle topped the podium over the longer 200m distance, stopping the clock on 2:39.65 ahead of Mary Cassidy, Dolphin in second on 2:43.93.
Liam O’Driscoll, SWSC was impressive in the 13-14 category and held off a chasing Tadgh O’Brien, Dolphin in the 100m backstroke final. O’Driscoll clinched victory on 1:09.33 with O’Brien on 1:09.53. O’Driscoll’s teammate, Culann Harrington completed the podium with 1:17.16.
O’Driscoll was the comfortable victor at 400m freestyle. He had a 7 second PB swim to touch on 4:48.82. O’Brien was again in second with 4:54.54. Liam had to settle for 2nd place in the 200m breaststroke, in another tight battle. He touched on 3:02.00. On that occasion, it was James McIlroy, Dolphin who provided the competition, as he placed third with 3:02.79.
Ellen Lee, SWSC is enjoying a welcome return to competitive swimming and had an impressive swim in the 17&Over 200m backstroke, posting 2:30.69, six seconds clear of Dolphin siblings Hannah & Michelle O’Shea. The sisters were in a battle royale for the remaining positions, Hannah touched for second on 2:36.06 with Michelle in third on 2:36.18.
Alex Barrett, Blackrock, was in excellent form claiming four victories from four events. These came at 400m & 800m freestyle, 200m IM and 100m backstroke. Swimming in the 15-16 category, he topped an all-Cork podium at 200m IM. He touched on 2:24.39 ahead of Noah Switzer, Dolphin 2:27.93 and Vincent Kopczynski, SWSC on 2:35.20. He also topped an all-Cork podium at 100m backstroke, stopping the clock on 1:06.12. Switzer was again in 2nd with 1:07.21 with Zac Daniels-Howard, Fermoy placed 3rd with 1:08.93.
Barrett had impressive swims in the 400m & 800m freestyle. He posted 4:23.85 at 400m with Switzer in 3rd on 4:32.79, but it was his 800m swim which was most impressive. After a long day and three victories from three events, he took to the pool for the final event of the day and posted a 43 second PB swim to claim his fourth victory, posting a time of 9:17.09. Evan Buckley, Mallow placed third with 10:13.73.
Mallow swimmers, Daisy O’Toole and Cadan McCarthy were victorious in the IM events. Daisy, in the 15-16 category, touched on 5:49.28 to claim victory at 400m IM with Amy Hawe, Fermoy in third with 6:01.61. McCarthy, 17&Over, posted 2:10.53 to claim the 200m IM title with Ben Merrigan, Dolphin in third with 2:26.41. Dolphin duo, Rene Malley and Roisin Brannigan placed 2nd & 3rd respectively in the 13-14 400m IM posting times of 6:00.95 and 6:14.49.
Lexi Dunne, Dolphin, had three victories on the day and led an all Dolphin trio at 800m freestyle, 13-14 category. Dunne touched on 10:15.95 with Aoibhe Moroney on 10:28.61 and Elin Manson third with 10:50.81. Dunne’s other victories came at 100m breaststroke, 1:20.14 and 100m freestyle, 1:02.80. On each occasion, Caoilinn O’Connor, SWSC placed third, with 1:24.14 and 1:04.76 respectively. O’Connor topped the podium at 200m backstroke 2:33.73 ahead of teammate Aoife Gardiner on 2:40.53 with Moroney in third on that occasion with 2:43.35.
Thomas Bugler, SWSC, impressed in the 800m freestyle, posting 9:45.81 to claim victory in the 13-14 category. Billy Anglim, Dolphin, placed third with 10:23.30. Bugler also claimed the 200m IM title, touching on 2:30.52. James McIlroy of Dolphin placed third with 2:40.17.
Another in impressive form for the ‘Well’ was Eva Harrington. In a very close 50m 17&Over backstroke final, she clinched victory 33.16 ahead of Hannah O’Shea 33.35 and Holly Marx, Clonakilty, on 34.58 to complete the podium. Harrington had another close encounter at 100m breaststroke, but held off the chasing Michelle O’Shea to claim 2nd place at 100m breaststroke 1:22.24 with O’Shea in third on 1:22.43. She also collected a second silver at 100m freestyle, posting 1:01.54.