Big medal hauls for McCartney and McManus

Lakelanders at the NAC, from left, Ben Lynch, Lewis McCartney, Kealan McShea, Oisin McManus and Ellie McCartney

The 2018 Irish Summer Nationals took place last week in Dublin with swimmers from all over Ireland and Europe and beyond participating. The largest swimming event in Ireland saw 130 events and finals split into almost 500 heats with 4,630 entries by 830 swimmers competing at the National Aquatic Centre.
Some 36 clubs from outside Ireland participated. The event took place over five days with three sessions each day. Older swimmers first thing being followed by the 14 and under mid morning with Finals taking place each evening. The Enniskillen Lakelanders had five swimmers involved in individual events and a relay returning. They returned with five golds, a silver and two bronzes.
The youngest member of the squad, Ellie McCartney (13), swam in 10 events and qualified for finals in every event with PBs. She returned home with four Irish titles, winning gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke as well as the 200m and 400m IM.
On the first day of the meet McCartney qualified fastest in the heat for the 100m breaststroke and the 400m IM. That evening McCartney returned to the pool to win gold in the 100m breaststroke in a 1:14.51 PB – a new club record and ending her season as the fastest 13-year-old girl in the UK and Ireland. This was followed within the hour by the 400m IM where McCartney slashed 18 seconds off her time to win another gold in a time of 5:12.41 – another club record at any age.
The second day saw McCartney compete in the 50m freestyle where she finished 5th fastest with a PB. She swam the 100m butterfly, finishing 7th and the 200m breaststroke. The Erne swimmer qualified for all three finals, targeting the breaststroke as the priority. During the evening session McCartney swam a fantastic race to win the 200m breaststroke by 10 seconds in a time of 2:38.58 – another gold and club record, but more importantly a consideration time for the Swim Ireland Irish National Squad.
Her performance was noted by the Swim Ireland website as Swim Of The Evening as well as being singled out by the National Performance Director Jon Rudd as one of the picks of the day. “A National Squad consideration time from Ellie, one year earlier than projected in this event with a storming back 100 for close to even pacing across the two halves,” said Rudd.
The following day the Enniskillen star swam a PB in the 400m finishing seventh overall before knocking 7 seconds off her 200m IM to win her fourth gold of the meet in a time of 2:26.72. On Saturday she finished 12th in the 100m freestyle and excelled in her weakest event, the 100m backstroke, completing the final in seventh. On the last day McCartney swam the 800m freestyle for the second time ever, ending the meet as the seventh fastest in Ireland. Credit must go to the Lakelanders coaching team as well as Andrew Bree for his recent help in getting these results.
Oisin McManus qualified for ten events at the National Finals. On day one he swam a PB in the 400m IM, recording a PB and qualification for the final, where he took silver. Day two saw McManus compete in the 100m butterfly and the 200m breaststroke, where he posted two excellent swims with PBs in both, narrowly missing out on a medal with 4th place in the breaststroke.
Day three saw his two strongest events, the 200m IM and the 1500m freestyle. However, with 8th and 6th place rankings, he knew he’d need to work hard. The 200m IM prelims, brought another PB and another final, where he claimed bronze. In the 1500m freestyle, the Erne swimmer showed his talent for an event he won in 2016. Starting steadily, he was 25m adrift of the leaders at the midpoint, but he passed the leader in the last 15m to finish first in his heat on a time of 17.39m, a huge 22.15s PB. But the ranking 1st position swimmer had yet to swim and so there followed
a nail biting 17.41 minutes of the second heat where on the final 15 metres it became clear that McManus had taken gold.
On the final day, he put in a storming performance in the 800m freestyle to finish with a 13s PB and bronze, taking his event tally to four medals. Kealan McShea, who turned 16 this week, entered seven events in a very competitive age group. He impressed his coach on day 1 when he reached the final of the 400m IM to finish in
fifth overall with a 9 second PB in a time of 4.58. He followed this with a swim to his PB in the 100m breaststroke.
On Day 2 McShea had a great swim in the 200m breaststroke reaching an unexpected final with a PB of 6 seconds finishing in an excellent eighth overall. He missed day four of the meet as he travelled to Castlewellan to compete in the Ulster Fleadh. On Sunday he returned to round off a successful meet in the 200m backstroke once again achieving a PB of 5.55secs and reserve for the final.
Ben Lynch competed in five events and showed great improvement in the 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle where he had a 13 second PB to finish in 5th place and a 20 second PB to finish
in 6th place respectively.
Lewis McCartney was attending the Championships for a third year and is continuing to challenge in this difficult age group. Participating in seven events the 16-year-old finished inside the top 20 in each of them, narrowly missing out in two finals. Some great PBs in the 100m and 200m breaststroke following additional training with double Olympian Andrew Bree and the 100m butterfly saw Lewis finish the season on a high. The three boys were joined by Connor McKenzie for the 4 x 200m freestyle relay on Wednesday evening where they finished 15th.
All swimmers and parents were grateful to sponsor, Cavanagh Kelly, for providing their Div 1 event kit. Special thanks were reserved for Enniskillen Lakelanders Committee and coaches Rob Eynon and Fionna Martin for their support and guidance throughout the season and their close coaching during the five days of the event.


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