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Portadown Amateur Swimming Club excels at Ulster Championships

Portadown Amateur Swimming Club continued their excellent form last weekend (06th – 08th May) at the Ulster Age Group and Senior Long Course Championships 2022 at the Bangor Aurora Leisure Complex, returning with 10 medals.

A squad of 14 swimmers attended the 3-day gala which is the pinnacle of the local swimming calendar and involved 30 clubs from all over Ulster. Each day was split into a morning heats session for 15 years and over, afternoon heats session for 12 – 14 years and an evening finals session for all ages.

Highlights for Portadown ASC included an amazing performance over all 3 days from Gracie McNeill, aged 12, who won 8 medals over 9 events and setting a total of 7 personal best times. Gracie achieved 1st place in the 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m Individual Medley, 2nd place in the 100m breaststroke and 3rd place in the 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 200m breaststroke.

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Ulster squad swimmer, Lillie-May Ruddy, continued her fantastic form this season with an excellent silver medal in the women’s 50m butterfly final and will stand her in good stead for national galas later this year. The final medal for Portadown ASC was won by Scarlett Watt in the 12 years 200m backstroke, powering home to secure 2nd place in her first-time racing over this distance and smashing her personal best times in the two backstroke events she entered.

Members of Portadown Swimming Club at South Lakes Leisure Centre in Craigavon.

Eimear Todd, 13, achieved a remarkable feat of smashing her personal bests and qualifying for finals in all 5 events she swam and placed 4th in both the 100m and 200m backstroke finals, narrowly missing out on the podium. Dmitry Zaikov qualified in the men’s 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke finals, finishing 5th and 8th place respectively, setting new personal best times in both events.

Christian Davison and Josh Wilson excelled in their 12 – 14 years heat for 50m freestyle, taking 1.2s and 3.5s off their respective personal best times, although the fine margins in this event unfortunately meant both swimmers missed out on the final. Anna Peskova and Aimee McConville raced well in their 12 – 14 years heat for 100m backstroke on Friday, with Aimee returning on Sunday to race in the 200m backstroke final.

There were great swims against top-level competition from senior boys in the Portadown squad, many of whom were swimming in this gala for the first time – Martin Bird (100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle), Max Burkamp (100m backstroke and 50 butterfly), Mark Emerson (100m breaststroke), Daniel McDowell (100m butterfly) and Joshua Herron (50m butterfly – achieving a personal best, 100m breaststroke and 50m breaststroke).

Unfortunately, Portadown swimmers Eimear McDonald and Leon Ruddy both achieved qualifying times for these championships, however, neither were able to participate.

Gracie McNeill from Portadown Swimming Club at the South Lakes Leisure Centre in Craigavon.

It is hoped the participation and success of this group in this premier regional competition will inspire both themselves and the upcoming group of eager and talented Portadown swimmers in future years.

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Members of Portadown Swimming Club at South Lakes Leisure Centre in Craigavon.