Banbridge sink Newry and Mourne at home gala

BANBRIDGE swimmers were out in full strength on Saturday February 23 as Banbridge Leisure Centre played host to a gala against Newry & Mourne, who were overwhelmed by the skill and fitness of the home side.

The youngest swimmers in the A group of girls consisted of Lauren Armstrong, Caitlin Kearney, Rebecca Pinkerton, Jessica Robinson, Julia Knox and Lauren Lyttle. Between these very fast swimmers, they succeeded in winning both their medley relay and freestyle relay. Lauren Armstrong came first in backstroke and frontcrawl, second in butterfly and third in IM. Julia Knox achieved first in butterfly and IM and third in backstroke and breaststroke. Jessica Robinson came first in breaststroke. Rebecca Pinkerton came second in breaststroke and IM. Caitlin Kearney came second in frontcrawl and 3rd in butterfly. Lauren Lyttle came fourth in backstroke and sixth in frontcrawl. Well done girls, fabulous swimming!

Group A boys consisted of James Whan, Patrick Doyle, Declan McGeown, Luke Milligan and not forgetting our youngest swimmer on the team, the mighty Dawson Patterson. These boys also achieved first in both the medley relay and the freestyle relay. James Whan was having a superb night with four first place achievements in backstroke, butterfly, frontcrawl and IM. He also came third in breaststroke.

Patrick Doyle was hot on his heels with many great swims. He achieved first in breaststroke, second in backstroke, frontcrawl and IM and third place in butterfly. Declan McGeown did well also with a second in butterfly and a third in IM. Dawson came third in both backstroke and frontcrawl. Luke Milligan came fifth in breaststroke. An excellent team of boys!

Next for the Group B girls and a fine team this was. This group of strong swimmers was composed of Ellie Purdy, Kate Allenby, Olivia Knox, Emma McElderry, Charlotte Campbell and Sophie Mount. Between them they won their medley relay and freestyle relay. Ellie Purdy swam superbly as always and she achieved first in breaststroke, butterfly and IM and second in frontcrawl. Kate Allenby was on top form and produced first in backstroke and frontcrawl and second in breaststroke and IM. Olivia Knox was hot on their heels with second in backstroke and butterfly and third in frontcrawl and IM. Charlotte Campbell came fourth in butterfly and Sophie Mount helped her team pull off the great relay swims.

Group B boys had a fine line-up and it consisted of Alex Donnelly, Aaron Keegan, Harry Farson, Eunan Quinn, William Pinkerton, Aaron Brown, Harry Dougan, Ryan Porter and Ryan Armstrong. Alex Donnelly was in great form and produced 1st in IM and second in butterfly and frontcrawl. Aaron Keegan had a brilliant performance and came first in both backstroke and frontcrawl. Harry Farson produced a fine hat trick with a first in butterfly, second in IM and third in frontcrawl. Eunan Quinn swam a fast breaststroke race and came first and also came 4th in butterfly. William Pinkerton came in second in breaststroke and third in backstroke. Ryan Porter came third in breaststroke, Harry Dougan came fifth in IM and Aaron Brown came fifth in backstroke. Many fine performances by this group!

The line-up for the Group C girls was Poppy Robinson, Jodi Doyle, Hannah Beattie, Elli Robinson and Abbie McCullough. This strong team were up against a tough Newry and Mourne side but they successfully won their medley relay. They had to settle for second in the freestyle relay. Poppy Robinson swam with extreme vigour, all night and was placed first three times, in breaststroke, butterfly and IM. She also achieved second in backstroke and third in frontcrawl. Jodi succeeded in coming second in breaststroke, third in IM and fourth in frontcrawl. Hannah Beattie swam four individual events and she produced fourth in backstroke, fifth in frontcrawl, fifth in IM and sixth in breaststroke. Elli Robinson, swimming in the group with her older sister, successfully obtained a fifth in butterfly and sixth in backstroke. Abbie McCullough swam an excellent butterfly and came in second position. Well done girls!

This next group, the Group C boys, is a very powerful force within the team. Patrick McNiff had a successful night with a first in his IM, second in backstroke, fourth in breaststroke and sixth in butterfly. Caolan Quinn swam very consistently all night and produced several great swims. He came second in both butterfly and frontcrawl and third in both backstroke and IM. Niall McDowell was another powerful swimmer with a win in frontcrawl, second in IM and third in breaststroke.

Michael Rafferty powered through the water with a second in breaststroke and fourth in butterfly. Ross Johnston helped to complete a super team and he came fifth in backstroke in a very close race.

Group D girls totally overwhelmed their opponents by coming first, second and third in three of the individual races, winning both the medley relay and freestyle relay and achieving first, second and fifth in the other two individual races. Jenny Wilson won every race she swam in which was amazing as she swam five individual races and two relays! Superb swimming, Jenny! Her wonderful team-mates included Megan McKenna, Lauren Robinson and newcomer Anna Smith. Welcome aboard, Anna!

Megan McKenna produced second place in four individual events, backstroke, butterfly, frontcrawl and IM. She was certainly very close behind Jenny. Lauren Robinson had a good night with a second in breaststroke, third in IM and fifth in backstroke.

Anna Smith came in third in breaststroke, third in butterfly and fifth in frontcrawl. She certainly was a bonus to this team.

Finally, the Group D boys gave Newry and Mourne some stiff competition. The Galloway brothers, Lee and Nicky are so welcome back to their home club. Watching the senior boys as always, was a sight to behold if not a bit of a soaking match for time-keepers and coaches! Joining the brothers were the club’s very own powerful threesome, Cameron McDonald, Daniel Chambers and Graham Stevenson. Between them, the boys won their medley relay and their freestyle relay. Lee Galloway won his three individual events, backstroke, butterfly and IM. Nicky came first in frontcrawl and second in four other individual events, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and IM.

Cameron McDonald came second in frontcrawl, third in his IM and fourth in breaststroke. Daniel Chambers produced third in breaststroke and 4th in backstroke. Graham Stevenson came third in frontcrawl and fourth in butterfly.

What an impressive sight it was, seeing this team, swim to victory! Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club have one more PTL team gala to swim, against Larne, before the final in April. To date they have won three out of three team galas so far. Their chances of staying in the First Division are very certain at this stage.

Thanks to all the wonderful swimmers, hard working coaches and the parents in the background who help make it all possible.

For any further information on our club, see our website Banbridgeasc.co.uk or follow us on Twitter at Follow@BanbridgeASC.