By Mark McGoldrick
ELLIE McCartney had a week to remember at the final event of the Irish swimming short course season.
The competition, held at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin, was the first National Swimming Championships in two years with 380 swimmers taking part.
Ellie McCartney travelled down the M1 full of confidence after a recent run of impressive form and the 16-year old set the pool alight, winning four individual titles and three Team Relay titles with the Ards Swimming Club.
The competition got off to a great start for the Fermanagh swimmer with her first goal medal coming in the 4 x 50m Freestyle event with the Ards Women’s Relay Team who made a new Ulster record with 1:46.18.
Later on, Ellie smashed her own 100m Breaststroke personal best by more than two seconds to with her first ever Irish Senior title in a time of 1:09.26.
McCartney didn’t stop there however and she was back in the pool for the 100m IM race, within 15 minutes of her previous event. The Ards representative posted a new PB in a time of 1:03.53 but she missed out on a gold medal by three-hundredths of a second.
On Saturday morning, Ellie was back in the pool and helped Ards finish as the top team in the Mixed 4 x 50m Medlay Relay, clinching another gold medal.
Later in the evening, McCartney helped Ards to a silver medal in the Mixed 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay and she won another gold medal in the 200m Breaststroke final by two seconds, with a new PB of 2:27.12.
McCartney’s time in the 200m Breastsroke was the ninth fastest overall time in Europe by a junior swimmer this season.
For the final day of the competition, McCartney finished as the top seed in the 500m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley races.
The Fermanagh swimmer helped Ards to a bronze medal, this time in the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay before completing the clean sweep of wins in the Breaststroke events by taking top honours in the 50m race with a new PB.
Despite the hectic schedule, McCartney kept her best swim to the last event. The Enniskillen speedster won her fourth individual title, this time in the 200m IM with another PB, her seventh of the competition.
For the past three months, Ellie has been training with the National Centre Ulster as part of the Swim Ireland National Squad and there has been a constant improvement and progression in her times.
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