Medal joy as Rachel scoops gold at Irish Open Swimming Championships

Some of the Lisburn swimmers who took part in the Irish Open Swimming Championships.
Some of the Lisburn swimmers who took part in the Irish Open Swimming Championships.

Lisburn City Swimming Club had 13 swimmers competing in 44 individual events at the Irish Open Swimming Championships, which took place in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin from Thursday April 30 to Sunday May 3.

Over 350 swimmers from 60 clubs including a contingent of 51 from the USA and 8 senior internationals from Denmark competed in 34 individual and 6 team events across four days of competition.

This competition was a qualifying meet for the FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia in August, the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, the European Youth Olympics in Georgia, the World Junior Championships, the IPC World Swimming Championships in Glasgow as well as being one of the first home opportunities for swimmers to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

There were eight Lisburn City swimmers in action on day one of competition.

Boys Club Captain, Nathan Jennings was first to race, swimming a personal best time in the mens 200 freestyle event.

In the womens 200 freestyle, Lisburn had Leah Bethel, Caoimhe Quinn, NAC based Bethany Carson, Fiona Cash, Lauren Walker and the Girls Club Captain, Rachel Bethel.

Leah and Caoimhe, two of the youngest Lisburn City swimmers competing in this Open event both swam personal best times. Rachel Bethel and Bethany Carson qualified for the ‘A‘ Final. In the ‘A‘ final Rachel came 4th place overall with a fantastic swim. As the top three in this event were visiting American swimmers, Rachel won the National Gold Medal as the fastest Irish swimmer. Bethany, 6th overall, won the Nation Bronze.

In the mens 200 fly, Nathan Jennings swam a personal best, making the B final and coming 17th place overall. Caoimhe Quinn swam a personal best in the womens 800 free.

Victoria Hunter qualified for the womens 200 fly ‘A‘ final, finishing in 9th place overall.

On day two of competition, Lisburn had five swimmers racing.

The first event for Lisburn was the womens 100 freestyle. Natasha Pollock joined the competition today, swimming this event along with Bethany Carson, Rachel Bethel and Leah Bethel. Rachel and Bethany both made semi finals in this event, with Bethany going on to qualify for the final, coming in 8th place overall.

In the womens 400 IM, Caoimhe Quinn reached a ‘B‘ final.

Natasha Pollock swam a personal best time in the womens 50 fly, reaching the semi finals. At the semi final stage, she qualified for the final finishing in 9th place overall.

Saturday 2nd May, day three had Lisburn City’s largest entry with eleven swimmers competing.

In the womens 400 freestyle, Rachel Bethel, Victoria Hunter, Leah Bethel, Fiona Cash, Caoimhe Quinn and Bethany Carson all raced. Rachel Bethel qualified for the final in this event, finishing in 5th place overall, and a brilliant personal best time. As the third fastest Irish swimmer, she picked up the National bronze medal.

In the mens 400 freestyle, Alexander Haskins, James Edgar, Nathan Jennings and the youngest Lisburn City boy competing at this event, Daniel Wiffen all raced. Nathan Jennings swam a personal best time.

The womens 100 fly event saw Bethany Carson, Natasha Pollock and Victoria Hunter compete. Bethany and Natasha both qualified for the semi finals, and Bethany went on to race in the final of this event, finishing in 8th place overall in a new personal best time.

In the womens 200 back, Caoimhe Quinn and Leah Bethel competed, with Leah achieving a personal best in this event.

In the mens 200 back, James Edgar, Alexander Haskins and Nathan Jennings were racing. Alexander and James both swam personal best times, with James as a reserve finalist and Alexander making a ‘B’ final, finishing in 16th place overall in a new personal best time.

Sunday 3rd May, final day of competition and four Lisburn City Swimmers were competing.

In the womens 200IM, Bethany Carson, Sarah McCracken and Caoimhe Quinn competed with Bethany qualifying for the ‘A’ final. Bethany finished the final in 5th place overall, and as the second fastest Irish swimmer in a new personal best time, she won the National Silver medal.

In the mens 200 IM, Alexander Haskins reached a ‘B’ final, finishing in 18th place overall in a new personal best time.

Sarah McCracken and Alexander Haskins both competed in the womens and mens 200 breaststroke, (both reaching reserve finalist position) bringing the competition for Lisburn City to a close.

Well done to all, qualifying standards for this competition are tough, but it is a fantastic for the swimmers to experience this level of competition with an international flavour.

Particular congratulations to our medal winners, Bethany Carson (Silver W 200IM) and Rachel Bethel (Gold 200 free and Bronze 400 free) Rachel has achieved qualifying times for European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan and for World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore, subject to team selection.

The swimmers were supported at the meet by Head coach Richard Gheel.

Many thanks to all the parents who volunteered their help poolside towards the smooth running of the event.