Swimmers see off Leander in their penultimate gala

Swimmers see off Leander in their penultimate gala

SATURDAY January 15 saw Banbridge PTL squad away to Leander Swimming Club, Belfast in the penultimate PTL gala of the season.

For most this was the first competitive event of the 2011 and the squad, spectators and coaches were all looking forward to seeing the swimmers get back to what they do best, after the Christmas break.

The event commenced in timely fashion, under guidance of Swim Ulster President, Frank Stevens, with the medley team relays. Group A girls were first up with a convincing win for Charlotte Campbell, Emma McElderry, Olivia Knox and Bethany Wilson-Parry.

Group A boys had a comfortable win with Ryan Porter, Eunan Quinn, Alex Donnelly and Max Lyttle. In Group B Poppy Robinson, Jodi Doyle, Esme Hall and Georgia Davies were home first as were Ross Johnston, Patrick McNiff, Joel Milligan and Caolan Quinn.

Group C kept the momentum going with first place for Jenny Wilson, Allyce Nixon, Megan McKenna and Emer Doyle and Robert Lyttle, Scott Donnelly, Cameron McDonald and Graham Stevenson gave Banbridge another win. Group D girls and boys were outpaced by some of Ulster's top senior swimmers but overall a very promising start to the gala.

50m backstroke got underway with Olivia Knox first and Emma McElderry third followed by Alex Donnelly in first place for Group A boys. In Group B Esme Hall was first with Poppy Robinson and Georgia Davies taking second and third and Joel Milligan followed suit in first place with Patrick McNiff and Ross Johnston in second and third.

In Group C Megan McKenna and Jenny Wilson battled it out for first and second with Allyce Nixon in third and Cameron McDonald and Robert Lyttle were second and third for Group C boys. In Group D Heather Wilson claimed fourth place for the girls with James Mateer in third place for the boys.

The second individual event, 50m breaststroke, saw more spectacular swimming from Banbridge. Olivia Knox and Emma McElderry opened with first and third in Group A followed by Alex Donnelly Eunan Quinn and Ryan Porter in first, second and third for the boys. Esme Hall, Jodi Doyle and Jane Kilpatrick had the first three positions for Banbridge in Group B and Joel Milligan was first, Patrick McNiff third and Christopher Burns fourth for the boys.

In Group C last year's new girl Allyce Nixon claimed a first impressive win in PTL over teammates Jenny Wilson and Emer Doyle and Robert Lyttle was convincing with a win followed by Cameron McDonald in third place. In the challenging Group D Olivia Loy was third and James Mateer picked up fourth place points.

With excellent Leander hospitality and a fast pace of events in no time at all the gala had progressed to the third individual event, 50m butterfly, Olivia Knox was in outstanding form with another win followed by Charlotte Campbell in third place for Group A girls with Ale Donnelly also maintaining his perfect record with another followed by Matthew Brown in second.

In Group B Esme Hall took another solid first place with Poppy Robinson in second and Jane Kilpatrick third and Joel Milligan mirrored this performance with Caolan Quinn in second and Michael Rafferty third. In Group C Megan McKenna was back in familiar territory with a win followed by Jenny Wilson in second and Cameron McDonald gave a text book performance in first place followed by Graham Stevenson on second for Group C. In Group D Fionnuala Loy claimed third place points as did James Mateer for the boys.

The 50m front crawl saw Group A back in the water with another win for Olivia Knox followed by Bethany Wilson-Parry in second and Charlotte Campbell in fourth and Alex Donnelly and Max Lyttle looked strong in first and second. In Group B Esme Hall took first with the Robinson sisters Poppy and Elli hot on her heals in second and third and Joel Milligan and Caolan Quinn were first and second for the boys.

In Group C Megan McKenna and Jenny Wilson were back in first and second and Graham Stevenson had a super fast freestyle swim in Group C but was beaten on the touch taking second place with Cameron McDonald in third.

In the final individual event 100m individual medley Olivia Knox was first with Emma McElderry third for the girls and Alex Donnelly was first with Eunan Quinn in third for the Group A boys. In Group B it was maximum points all round with Esme Hall first, Poppy Robinson second and Georgia Davies third for the girls and Joel Milligan first, Patrick McNiff second and Caolan Quinn third for the boys.

In Group C Megan McKenna held on to take first place from Jenny Wilson in second and Allyce Nixon third and Cameron McDonald was first with Graham Stevenson in third for the boys. In Group D Fionnuala Loy and James Mateer both took fourth place points.

With the end of a spectacular night's swimming in sight the teams took to the pool one last time for the Freestyle team relays where Banbridge repeated their earlier performance with a win for both girls and boys teams in Groups A, B and C. With four swimmers winning their maximum five events, Olivia Knox, Alex Donnelly, Esme Hall and Joel Milligan and a multitude of other spectacular performances on the night Banbridge coaches and swimmers were delighted that they had reversed last year's result against Leander and won by 622 points to 502.

The Banbridge Junior AquaSprint Team will compete for the first time this season in Section One of the league, away to Ards ASC on Friday January 28. For further information on this and other events visit our website on www.banbridgeasc.co.uk.