Saturday 4th March turned out to be a very busy day for some of the junior squad from Newry and Mourne swimming club. Early Saturday morning saw a group of 21 swimmers head towards Lisburn to compete in the 3rd of Swim Ulster’s development galas. Each swimmer hoping to gain qualifying times to take them further along the competitive pathway. Up against stiff competition each swimmer did their best and all achieved personal best times. Eve Dunford secured the 3 qualifying times needed to move to the qualifying meet level in the 200 IM, 100 back and 100 free and also bagged a division 2 qualifying time in the 100m freestyle. Keven Mc Stay, already with 2 times under his belt, secured the 3rd he needed to also move on to the qualifying meet level.
The afternoon saw some of the swimmers head home to Newry to compete against Limivady in the 3rd Forest
Feast aqua sprint gala of this season. With 2 wins under their belt the junior squad were anxious to try and nail another one. As always proceedings began with the medley relays and this time Newry had to fight hard. Limivady grabbed 3 out of the 4 up for grabs leaving Newry having to make up ground. The individual events were neck and neck throughout but the loss of the initial relays were the downfall and the Newry juniors were narrowly defeated for the 1st time in approx. 18 months. However with 2 more galas left to go the Newry junior squad are still in a strong position to be in the swim off for promotion to the A division.
Although always a team effort some exceptional swims were on display. Tara Haffey won 3 races and was 2nd in her 4th. Amy Hunter and Maeve O’ Hare both won 2 and come 2nd in another. Darragh Quinn won 2 and came 3rd in another. Ella-Grace Heaney, Teagan Carville, Liam Og Mathers and Lewis Gray also won a race each. Undaunted by their defeat the squad are training hard to move forward towards more positive outcomes.