13 Nov 2021

LASC @ Swim Ulster War memorial gala

9 intrepid heroes headed off to Craigavon (we seem to be going there a lot recently) to participate in our first War Memorial gala. This annual event is a relays only event so different than what we normally experience. We sent just a few teams to see what the level was like and to see if its one for our future annual calendar. The short answer is yes, yes, yes.
Right from the off it felt different, with clubs literally arriving by the bus load. We had entered into 3 races out of a total of 10. As a result, there was a bit of a gap after warm up until we raced. So lots of mobile phone activity and for the adults, a close eye on the rugby score.
When race time came, all swimmers as always, swam their hearts out. All 3 teams were competitive in their heats, not withstanding the fact that we had a few swimmers swimming up an age group. However, swimming can be a harsh sport at times. Unfortunately, 2 of our 3 races resulted in disqualification.
DQs are an ever present part of swimming. They occur in almost every gala, and in almost every heat. In the heat and excitement of racing, the slightest infraction can creep in and if spotted, the marshals are there to make the ruling. In both our cases, trying to time the relay exchange perfectly resulted in a swimmer leaving the blocks just the tiniest bit too early. In both cases we were racing in the outer lanes, right under the noses of the turn judges so there was no margin for error.
However, these are all learning experiences for our racers. Whilst there was disappointment, its only swimming. We were very proud of how all 9 swimmers performed and it gives something for the swimmers and our coaches to focus on further at upcoming training sessions.
What's more, our first experience of the War Memorial gala definitely underlined the fact that its a gala we could definitely bring more swimmers to - lets bring our own bus load in 2022.
Well done to all who competed: Miya McCalmont, Alice Caldwell, Anna McGookin, Brooke McCalmont, Abbi Craig, Sam Staats-Howard, Cailean Gallagher, Jude Williams and Joshua Hunt.

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