THE trip to Bangor was the first Aquasprint gala of the season for the Banbridge youngsters away from their home pool.
The swimmers anticipated a tough gala but were anxious to give it their all.
The event began with a very strong A group of boys and girls in the Medley relay who claimed first place. The two teams involved deserve a mention. They consisted of Ruby McNiff, Dawson Patterson, Julia Knox and James McKee. The second team members were Sam Johnston, Aidin Quinn, Zoe Kilpatrick and Dane McCullagh. These two groups excelled the whole night.
The first individual swim event to take place was the group A girls backstroke. The girls to swim this event were Julia Knox, Ruby McNiff and Zoe Kilpatrick. They did a fine job and produced a first, fourth and sixth place. The boys were Dawson Patterson, James McKee and Sam Johnston and they achieved first, fifth and sixth.
Group B girls led by Lauren Armstrong, took off at a superb speed and she came in first followed in third and fourth by Caitlin Kearney and Lauren Lyttle. Group B boys, led by James Whan who came in a wonderful first position, was followed very closely by Patrick Doyle in second and Luke Milligan in fifth place.
Group C girls, including Sophie Mount, Anna Long and Charlotte Farson, swam their best in fourth, fifth and sixth place. The group C boys, Harry Farson, Harry Dougan and Daniel Kilpatrick also tried hard and brought in fourth, fifth and sixth.
Group D girls, led by Olivia Knox, who swam a fine race and came in first was followed by her team-mates, Ellie Purdy and Emma McElderry who achieved fifth and sixth. Group D boys swam a strong race and Alex Donnelly came in second, Aaron Brown third and Aaron Keegan in fourth.
The next individual event was the breaststroke. Group A girls were led again by Julia Knox. She produced an excellent first and hot on her heels with an excellent time was Aidin Quinn in second place. Ruby McNiff came in sixth. Group A boys, Dawson Patterson, Sam Johnston and Niall McKeown, swam well in third, fifth and sixth place.
Group B girls, produced a fabulous hat trick and Jessica Robinson, Caitlin Kearney and Rebecca Pinkerton came in first, second and third successively. A great swim by all three girls! Group B boys, this time led by Patrick Doyle (James and Patrick take turns winning), achieved a great first, third and fifth.
Group C girls, Anna Long, Eimear McMullan and Sophie Mount swam in fourth, fifth and sixth positions.
Group C boys, William Pinkerton, Daniel Kilpatrick and Christopher Morrow were able to pull off second, fourth and sixth.
Group D girls, Olivia Knox, Ellie Purdy and Emma McElderry, were very successful bringing a second, third and fifth. Group D was led by Eunan Quinn, who swam an excellent time and came in second against a tough Bangor group D. Alex Donnelly and Joshua McAdams also achieved fifth and sixth positions.
The butterfly was the next exciting event. Again Julia Knox took to the block. This was proving to be a superb gala for Julia with all 1st place positions. Zoe Kilpatrick swam an excellent time in third place and Aidin Quinn produced fifth place. Group A boys, Dawson Patterson, Niall McKeown and Dane McCullagh swam a tremendous race and came in first, third and fourth.
Group B girls, Lauren Armstrong, Caitlin Kearney and Rebecca Pinkerton, had a super race and achieved excellent first, second and third places. Group B boys, led by James Whan, had another successful race. James swam an extremely fast race to come well in the lead and he was accompanied by Patrick Doyle in third and Declan McKeown in fourth.
Group C girls, Sophie Mount, Eimear McMullan and Anna Long, achieved fourth, fifth and sixth in the butterfly. Their opposition was very strong. Group C boys, were led by a superb flier, Harry Farson. His first place time was tremendous and he actually beat the group D boys time in his own team. Harry Dougan and William Pinkerton also swam admirable times to come in fourth and fifth place.
Group D girls, Olivia Knox, Ellie Purdy and Charlotte Farson achieved first, fifth and sixth positions.
Group D boys, Alex Donnelly, Matthew Brown and Joshua McAdams came in third, fourth and fifth place.
The final individual event was the frontcrawl. Group A girls took off again with a fine performance. Julia Knox came in first place - her fourth individual win of the night. Ruby McNiff and Aidin Quinn followed closely with third and fourth places. Group A boys, Dawson Patterson, James McKee and Dane McCullagh swam well in third, fourth and sixth.
Group B girls was led again by Lauren Armstrong who achieved three individual wins on the night and was followed closely by Caitlin Kearney in second and Jessica Robinson in sixth. Group B boys was led by a very strong Patrick Doyle, who achieved first place. Of course, James Whan was right up there too with a very close second and a strong fourth from Declan McKeown.
Group C girls, Sophie Mount, Anna Long and Charlotte Farson came in third, fifth and sixth place.
Group C boys was led by a superbly strong Harry Farson who came in first and close behind was Daniel Kilpatrick in third and Conor Woods in fifth.
Group D girls was again led by Olivia Knox who achieved three first places and a second on the night. Purdy swam well in fifth and Kate Allenby followed close behind in sixth.
The final event of the night was the freestyle relay event.
Group A girls and boys again produced first place. An excellent win was achieved by Niall McKeown, Dane McCullagh, Zoe Kilpatrick and Aidin Quinn.
Group B girls and boys, again produced a wonderful first place. These swimmers were Patrick Doyle, James Whan, Caitlin Kearney and Lauren Armstrong.
Group C girls and boys, Daniel Kilpatrick, Sophie Mount, Anna Long and Harry Farson came in a close second.
Finally, to the last swim of the night, the Group D girls and boys. This race gave an exciting climax to the night as our Group D were winning up to the last few seconds. Ellie Purdy, Eunan Quinn, Alex Donnelly and Olivia Knox did their utmost to hold on to their lead but a strong opposing team shattered their hopes just at the end.
The final score was Banbridge 193 vs Bangor 207
The Banbridge team deserve plenty of praise for their sportsmanship. They kept their dignity throughout, swam their best and congratulated their opponents gracefully. Thanks to all the coaches, timekeepers and parents for their hard work and encouragement. Of course a special message goes to the superb Aquasprint team - well done, keep swimming and enjoy this wonderful sport.
The next Aquasprint is in Lisburn on March 11th. Further information can be obtained by visiting our website on www.banbridgeasc.co.uk