As a competitive swimmer the ultimate goal is to qualify for the Irish Open or ‘Trials’ as they are called by the athletes!
The Irish Open is where the athletes get the opportunity to show what they can do and secure a place on the Irish National or Regional Squads. Bluefin is extremely proud to see 6 of our swimmers reach their goal and get a chance to compete in what proved to be the event of the year!
Mark Cormican, Thomas Davey, Isolde Hannon, Ethan Lourens and John Shortt (Unfortunately Robin Pfeiffer had to pull out due to Illness), hit the road last Friday for 5 days of gruelling racing. Our team competed in no less than 21 events in total and shared the pool with some of the biggest names in swimming such as Shane Ryan, Mona Mc Sharry, Eoin Corby and Conor Ferguson.
As records dropped like flies and new records were set, our swimmers met the challenges and managed to secure several PB’s as well as reaching 10 finals, while picking up some silverware as well!
On Day 1 Mark Cormican found himself in a heat with Shane Ryan, where do you go with that!! He met the challenge head on and ended up making finals in not only that 50m Back but also in the 200m back, 100m back and securing PB’s across the board. Mark is already part of the Connacht Region Performance squad and so racing at this level is where he is at!
Thomas Davey is a breast stroke specialist and found himself with some big names such as Darragh Greene and Eoin Corby, but the challenge was never too big and Thomas bagged himself a personal best in the 100m Breast, also reaching the final of the 50m breast on Day 3 and again securing yet another PB.
Isolde Hannon, our only lady to qualify for the Open this year, flew the flag high and has paved the way for more of our female athletes to reach for the stars in the coming years and we can’t wait. The 100m breaststroke heat sheet read like a who’s who of Irish sport and Isolde found herself sharing a pool with Mona Mc Sharry and Niamh Coyne. Again Isolde did not disappoint and on Day 3 she carved through the water securing herself another PB in the 50m breast stroke.
Ethan Lourens joined our club 1 year ago moving to Ireland from South Africa, so challenges are in his DNA. Ethan took part in no less than 9 events, an unbelievable challenge over 5 days! He blasted through the water and achieved many PB’s along with securing himself a place in the 200m back finals and the 50m fly finals. Again Ethan is part of the representation from our club on the Connacht squad.
Having a member of the Irish National Squad as part of our team is something we are very proud of. Bluefin is where it all began and John continues to train with his team 3 days a week and the rest of the week he spends training with National Centre Limerick under coaches John Szaranek (Head Coach), Mikey McCarthy and Jade Murphy.
John is fast becoming a backstroke specialist and competing amongst the best in the sport. The roof lifted in the NAC on Sunday night when John bolted down the pool touching the wall in the 200m backstroke in 1:59:23, being only the 2nd Irish man ever to go under the 2 minute mark. John has now qualified for:
- World Aquatics Championship in Fukuoka, Japan in July
- The under 23 European Championships
- The European Junior championships
- The European Youth Olympics
We wish John and the rest of our senior team the very best in the months to come.
The club is made up of the kids that train here and we are so proud to be helping them meet their full potential. This would not be possible without the support of the parents and the coaches and for this we are so grateful. We want to thank especially coach Celine and coach Ian. Our coaches have been a huge support to our kids and we are so grateful for the care they show towards them and also the support they give to us as parents as sometimes this sport can be tough on all. Thank you Celine O’Loan, Ian Claxton and Joanne Shaughnessy, and also a special thanks to Ian for the support you gave the team over the 5 days in Dublin.
The team plans to come and meet the junior squads in the coming weeks to talk through how they got here and to answer any questions, also and most importantly to have a laugh and celebrate, so stay tuned!