Fab four smash national record

KILKENNY swimmers proved untouchable at the weekend at the Irish National youth and Senior long course gala.

KILKENNY swimmers proved untouchable at the weekend at the Irish National youth and Senior long course gala.

There was some outstanding swimming and exciting finals across the events. Shani Stallard, the Irish senior record holder in the 200m breaststroke turned her hand to freestyle at this event and put her stamp on it, winning the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Having bagged those titles Stallard swam in the 200m and 400m individual medley (IM). She won both and then turned her attention to the breaststroke. Her best event, Stallard shone once more, winning gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m events to land a total of eight national titles.

Not wanting to be outdone by her older sister Jess Stallard proved she was in fantastic form by swimming all the freestyle events at the gala. For good measure she won them all, fighting off some tough competition and enduring a nail-biting finish in the 50m freestyle in the last session of the gala. She put her name firmly on the event, winning the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m national titles.

Fresh from the European Junior championships Irish record holder Jane Roberts booked her place at the European Short Course championships along with team-mate Shani Stallard. Jane won gold in the 100m butterfly and gold in the 100m backstroke, as well as silver in the 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke to cap what has been an outstanding swimming year.

There were good results also for Megan Fitzgerald, who won silver in the 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly and a bronze in the 200m breaststroke, while Kate Walsh won bronze in the 100m butterfly.

In the boys’ events David Prendergast, also just back from the European Juniors, won the 100m freestyle and the 50m backstroke. He added to his medal haul by taking silver in the 200m freestyle and 100 backstroke, adding to his growing reputation as great future prospect.

Liam Lanigan won bronze in the 100m breast-stroke and silver in the 200m breast-stroke. Senior swimmer Mike McCarthy was also among the medals, grabbing silver in the 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle while swimmer and triathlete Brendan Neary set some new personal best times.

On top of all the individual results, there was another high point of the weekend as Shani Stallard, Jane Roberts, Megan Fitzgerald and Jess Stallard teamed up to smash the Irish senior 4x100m freestyle record. The Kilkenny girls made history as they helped their club become the first in Ireland to break the four-minute mark.

The team went on to win the 4x100m medley relay also, an event in which the Kilkenny girls already hold the senior record.

The Kilkenny club’s junior swimmers were also out in force last week in UL Arena, Limerick. The seven-strong squad were in flying form, recording a number of personal best times. Swimmers were Eimear Conroy, Aoife Corr, Thea Harte, Mike Healy, Sarah Kenrick, Callum Maher and Meadhbh Meehan-Grey.