The European Experience

Posted on 20, June 2016

in Category Club News

A marathon endurance, we were queuing for spectating queuing for swimming queuing for your warm up frustration and elation what an experience. This was all part of our trip to the European Championships.
In the magnificent Olympic pool in Stratford London up to 1400 swimmers took part in the championships which also included synchronised swimming and diving. 135 swimmers travelled to represent Ireland in the gala.  Representing Limerick Masters were the following,

Ladies  Andrea Newport; Elif Shanahan; Edmeia Khan; Meabh Scanlon;  Jean Ann Cunningham; Marion Purcell; Jean Sparling;  Rosie Foley; Lorraine Richardson.
Men  Cormac Lyons; Paul Kearney Snr;  Tom O Donnell; John Dempsey; Ross Anderson.
Travelling Limerick supporters were Jean O Donnell and Deirdre Harbison  we also had visits from Helen Patterson one of our former members who is married and now lives in Cawley in Liverpool, also lending his support was John Cunningham our European record holder who could not swim because of injury. All of our squad have one up on him as he has never competed in the Olympic pool we thank them for their support. We travelled over like the wild geese many years ago all arriving at different times.

The Swimming Side
The competition was a logistic nightmare with the amount of entries, over 150 heats in both men and women in most events 250  swimmers in the pool for warm ups  10 minutes per warm up  but after a slow start everything began to run smoothly with the two 50 meter pool going full swing from 6.30am to 9.00pm each day also synchronised swimming and diving was going on at the same time in the diving pool great credit is due to the hard work of all the volunteers who kept the show on the road .  The age groups started at 25 years up to a  100  plus the oldest competitor was 94 years young.  The times achieved by the upper age groups i.e. 60 and upwards were amazing, check the results . Ireland had a great gala winning several gold silver and bronze. Limerick swimmers all committed themselves well and it was a great thrill to swim in the same pool as Michael Phelps  and to see your name up in lights it was an illuminating experience also your family and friends could watch you at home on their lap tops I am sure they were in awe . Well done to our Ladies relay team who put up a great show in their swim .
Swimmer of the gala was the evergreen Paul Kearney. Paul has discovered a new way to improve your breaststroke do plenty of front crawl  tumble turns .  I am going to pass this on to Fiona Doyle who will be representing Ireland in the Olympic Games in Rio.

The  Social Side
 There is an old saying what goes on tour stays on tour so I will leave out the scandal.  As we were all arriving on different days the only night we were together was Friday night so all were invited to the Coaches Table for a meal in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant  Colm I will give you the bill in due course’. Elif’s birthday was on the same night we had a great craic the cake was adorned with night lights  I do not know if it was a séance or a birthday party we were at.  Tom O Donnell in between swims got a Tom job or a Mixer as they are known   in the high court in London I hope he reported it to the Inland Revenue it is rumoured that the guy on trial was the chap who beat him in the 800 Tom gave 15×1500 as a reward. Finally I would like to say it was a fantastic and enlightening experience for us all and the company and the comraderie was great among all the swimmers who were there. Roll on Spain and Budapest and lets increase the numbers.

The European Experience/club news