Ellie brings home bronze as Bann swimmers shine

Some of the Banbridge swimmers who raced well in Lisburn.
Some of the Banbridge swimmers who raced well in Lisburn.

While many of us were out over the Black Friday weekend looking for cut prices, 16 young athletes from Banbridge Swimming Club were cutting their best times.

At the acclaimed Ulster Short Course Championships held in Lisburn Leisureplex on 28-30 November, there were an unprecedented number of Ulster records broken and the Bann swimmers were more than up for the challenge.

Every one of the 14 girls and two male swimmers smashed their personal best times across a total of 58 events. Fourteen year old Ellie Purdy was the club’s only medallist, awarded bronze for her amazing 800m Freestyle event; amongst her other fast paced events, Ellie secured fourth place in the 100m Breastroke finals with 1:18:72.

Kate Allenby (13) smashed her best swim times across seven events, her greatest achievement in the 200m Breastroke, and took 19 seconds off her time achieving 2:59:76. Kate also streamlined into the 50m finals where again she took a further 0.84 seconds off her time.

The youngest Bann swimmer Julia Knox competed with her usual fierce determination and thundering fast pace, taking a total of over 30 seconds over seven events. Julia’s focus on Butterfly skills paid off, her sprint finish took 9.03 seconds off her personal best time with 1:12:20.

Powering through other events, Sophie Mount (13) cut her time by over seven seconds on the 800m Freestyle swim; Charlotte Campbell (14) took more than three seconds off the gruelling 400m Individual Medley event. Not put out by a goggle malfunction, 13 year old Emma McElderry’s smooth back crawl leg of the 200m IM saw her gain a PB.

Twelve year olds Maeve Cleland and Becki Pinkerton upped their skill levels and spliced their 200 IM and 100m freestyle event personal best times. Jessica ‘lightning legs’ Robinson cut a further 1.47 seconds off her already outstanding 100m breastroke time. Fast off the blocks starts, both William Pinkerton (13) and Kyle Mawhinney (17) sprinted into thei100m Breastroke and 50m Freestyle.

The Banbridge relay teams were also a force to be reckoned with; Jenny Wilson, Poppy Robinson, Jodie Doyle, Esmee Hall and Megan McKenna blitzed in fourth place in the Individual Medley and ninth position in the freestyle relays. Not to be out done, the U14 yrs girls freestyle B relay saw Olivia Knox lead out with a fast back crawl stroke rate, alongside Maeve, Ellie, and Kate to overtake the A team, gaining overall sixth place.

Coach Davy Wilson said: “Overall we are delighted with the positive outcomes for the team this weekend. While everyone is seeing the benefit of hard training, there’s plenty of work to be done to strengthen our underwater work and to speed up the turns.”

January will be a crammed with The Bangor Long Course, Swim Ulster’s Development gala and two home league galas against Templemore and Lisburn.