Gala success for Lurgan team

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LURGAN’S team of young swimmers have won the Arthur McDonald Novice Gala.

Boys and girls aged 8 to 11 from Lurgan, Portadown, Armagh and Newry swimming clubs competed in this popular annual gala in Newry pool.

Novice swimmers, in each of the four age groups, competed over a distance of 25 metres in all four strokes.

All finalists were awarded points for their club with the medley and freestyle team relays also contributing points.

Top individual performers from Lurgan were Oran McCaffrey, Emma Mulholland and Daniel Wiffen who each won an age group trophy.

Lurgan achieved an amazing 11 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze medals.

The eight year olds did not show any first gala nerves. Charlie Daniels, Victoria Silva Reyes and Rachel Girvan all recording excellent times. Erin O’Neil qualified for the backcrawl finals and seven year old Sarah Girvan took the fifth placed ribbon in butterfly.

The youngest boys, Conal Fearon, Domhnall McConville, Teelin Cahoon, Eoghan O’Carroll, Mark Keenan and Christopher Creery delighted the Lurgan supporters with brilliant swims.

Oran McCaffrey took gold in backcrawl, silver in freestyle and bronze in butterfly to win the overall age group.

Luke McAleenan was first in butterfly and third in backcrawl. Conor O’Carroll won a silver medal in breaststroke and bronze in freestyle and Jaden Wylie took bronze in breaststroke.

The nine year old girls, Robyn Daniels, Lily Towe, Aoife McConville and Mia Douglas all achieved personal best times.

Casey Li qualified for the breaststroke finals, winning the fourth place ribbon. Angela Loughran swam all the finals and impressively brought home medals in breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.

Emma Mulholland was in great form , winning gold in backcrawl and freestyle, silver in breaststroke and butterfly.

Nine year olds Ruari Codd, Joshua Rae, Niall Kelly, Mark Matthews and Dan McCarthy recorded personal best times.

Charlie Doherty qualified for all the finals and won silver in breaststroke, ahead of Justin Burns and Odhran McGibbon who each achieving breaststroke finalist ribbons. Michael McCaughley won bronze in backcrawl.

Holly Rae, Lauren Gelately, Orla Dumigan, Olivier Gibson and Katie McConville produced good early season swims in the competitive 10 year old age group.

Megan Gelately impressively won gold in breaststroke and silver in butterfly and her team mate Megan McKeown was placed fourth in backcrawl.

Ten year old Sean Mulholland achieved excellent personal best times and just missed out on qualifying for finals.

Daniel Wiffen, Nathan Wiffen, Harry Owen and Philip Hayes all qualified for all of the final races.

With almost all Lurgan swimmers in the boys finals, there was great excitement in the supporters gallery when they won 10 medals between them, Nathan winning backcrawl, Daniel winning butterfly and Harry winning freestyle.

Daniel was the overall age group winner, adding silvers in backcrawl and breaststroke to bronze in freestyle. Nathan won silver in butterfly, ahead of Philip in bronze and Harry won bronze medals in both backcrawl and breaststroke.

Lurgan’s 11 year olds really enjoyed their last Arthur McDonald gala, with Ella Beatty, Sarah Kelly and Cliodhna Headley qualifying for all the finals.

Rebecca Magee, swimming in her first ever gala, won a finalist ribbon for butterfly. Ella brought home gold in breaststroke, silver in butterfly and freestyle, and her team mate Cliodhna was third in breaststroke.

Eleven year old Dillon O’Hanlon swam a personal best butterfly time to win fourth place ribbon in the finals.

Ben Sidor won gold in butterfly and freestyle, Theo Dixon won silver in backcrawl and bronze in freestyle, Matthew Carlisle who won bronze in breaststroke and butterfly and Mark Cooper who won bronze in backcrawl.