Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of October saw 34 young swimmers from Newry and Mourne head to the Aurora Leisure Centre in Bangor to represent their respective schools in the Ulster schools gala. Saturday was the turn of the younger children to take to the blocks and for some it was their first ever gala. As always these youngsters did Newry proud with medals galore coming back to Newry. More importantly in this competition though, Maeve O’ Hare, Tara Haffey, Rachel Kelly, Stephanie Hart, Ciara O’ Hare, Darragh Quinn, Liam og Mathers, Lewis Gray, Jack Donnelly and Ben Rafferty all secured the qualifying times needed to represent their schools in the Irish Minor schools finals in the National Aquatic Centre next February. For young Ben Grant this was his first ever gala and did he do well. Showing the kind of gumption that all the Newry swimmers possess, Ben managed to secure a place in the breast stroke final and swam his way to finish 6th place in the Ulster u9 final knocking a huge chunk of his personal best time.
On Sunday the Newry swimmers were again out in force to represent their schools and as always they swam gusto. Many of the swimmers achieved huge personal best times on the day taking them that step to closer to their goals. For Hannah Gilsenan, Shea Rafferty and David Corkey that also included medals to be proud of. With so many swimmers attending there were relay teams from St. Joseph’s High School, Our Lady’s Grammar School and the Sacred Heart Grammar School. The Sacred Heart just missed out on a relay medal finishing in 4th place. A great day for the swimmers and the schools. A huge thank you has to go to the schools for their support at this event and as always thanks has to go to head coach Paul Rogers and the many parent coaches who give their time so willingly to help these dedicated youngsters achieve their dreams