Bann’s young swimmers improve their times in War Memorial relay gala

Banbridge swimmers at the recent War Memorial gala.

Banbridge swimmers at the recent War Memorial gala.

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Without any doubt, Bangor’s Olympic Aurora Swimming pool was an impressive location to hold the Swim Ulster annual War Memorial relay gala on Saturday 7 November.

This exciting gala saw both Ulster and National records broken as some of the top swim teams from across the province competed in four-person relays.

Against this tough competition, the 20-strong team of Banbridge swimmers smashed seconds off their entry times during the heats, going on to make finals in most events.

The first event of the evening was fast and furious as Bann swimmers Jenny Wilson, Kate Allenby and sisters Poppy and Ellie Robinson came fourth in their heats in a time of 2.12, but just missed out being placed in the finals in the open ladies medley event.

The girls went on to demonstrate speed and streamlining against rival teams in the Freestyle relay.

With an entry time being cut by over three and a half seconds; Ross Johnston, Lee Galloway, Harry Farson and Alex Donnelly sprinted to the finish in the men’s open medley.

Christopher Morrow was first off the blocks, followed by William Pinkerton, Harry Farson and Patrick Doyle in the men’s 14 years and under medley relay; the four boys again brought home fourth position.

While Ards swimming club seemed to dominate first place in most events, the Banbridge 12 and under boys relay of the ‘Bigley duo’ Peter and Ryan, joined by Adam Wilson and Jack Bingham made second position in the heats and the finals.

The 12 and under girls team of Ruby McNiff, Rachel Blemmings, Katherine McGrath and Julia Knox, meanwhile, came fourth in both the heats and finals of the medley relay event.

The medley event for the girls aged 14 and under saw Maeve Cleland, Becki Pinkerton, Kate Allenby and Ellie Wright take nearly five seconds off their entry time, again just missing out on third place in both the heats and finals.

The ladies open freestyle team streamlined with a powerful 1.57 seconds thanks to Jenny Wilson, Jodie Doyle, Poppy Robinson and Kate Allenby.

The centre piece of the evening was, however, when the lights were dimmed and the solemn bugler played the ‘Last Post’ as swimmers lined the edges of pool deck to reflect and pay respects to those swimmers lost.

Emotions were deepended as Banbridge swimmer; Julia Knox read to perfection Binyan’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ with the haunting words ‘we will remember them.’

Julia went on to make the Banbridge Club more proud as Alderman Alan Graham, Mayor for Ards and North Down Council presented her with the Elizabeth Long trophy for the top performing 11 year old girl at the 2015 Ulster Age Group gala, as reported in last week’s LEADER.