On Saturday 5 February, 28 swimmers from Banbridge Academy where set to represent the school at the Ulster Schools’ Cup Championship. Due to Covid this is the first time since 2019 that this event has taken place in Aurora Aquatic Centre in Bangor. It was an early start for the younger swimmers and volunteers, with warm up starting at 8.00am.
The 28 swimmers represent 3 different local swimming clubs (Banbridge, Lurgan and Lisburn) and this was the first time for some of these swimmers to be on the same team. It was great to see them come together and show great team spirit. They all swam amazingly well, cheered each other on in the individual swims and got behind the relay teams.
Swimming for Banbridge Academy were:
|Amy Agnew||Girls 17-19 age group||100 Breaststroke & 200 Individual Medley|
|Sophie Black||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Backstroke, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Free Relay|
|Zachary Black||Boys 15-16 age group||100 Breaststroke & 200 Individual Medley|
|Rachel Blemmings||Girls 17-19 age group||100 Breaststroke & 100 Freestyle|
|Alana Burns-Atkin||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Butterfly & 200 Medley Relay|
|Lauren Burns-Atkin||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke & 200 Medley Relay|
|Samantha Burns-Atkin||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke, 100 Butterfly, 400 Freestyle & 200 Medley Relay|
|Ciara Daly||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Breaststroke & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Aimee Dawson||Girls 15-16 age group||100 & 400 Freestyle, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Medley Relay|
|Adam Ewart||Boys 15-16 age group||100 Breaststroke & 100 Freestyle|
|Tara Kennedy||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Backstroke, 200 Individual medley, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay.|
|Rebecca Lane||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Freestyle Relay.|
|Sarah Macauley||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Backstroke, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Cara Magee||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke, 100 Freestyle & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Ella Marshall||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Backstroke, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Hannah Marshall||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Freestyle, 200 Individual Medley & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Ross McCombe||Boys 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke & 100 Freestyle|
|Edie McCusker||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Freestyle & 200 Medley Relay|
|Nancy McCusker||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke, 100 Freestyle & 200 Freestyle Relay.|
|April McFarlane||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Freestyle & 200 Medley Relay|
|Anna McKernan||Girls 15-16 age group||100 Butterfly, 200 Individual Medley, 200 Medley Relay & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Henry Niblock||Boys 15-16 age group||100 Butterfly & 100 Freestyle|
|Oscar Niblock||Boys 13-14 age group||100 Breaststroke & 100 Freestyle|
|Ben O’Reilly||Boys 17-19 age group||100 Breaststroke & 100 Freestyle|
|Rose Turley||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Backstroke, 100 Breaststroke & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Anna Webster||Girls 13-14 age group||100 Backstroke, 100 Freestyle & 200 Freestyle Relay|
|Adam Wilson||Boys 17-19 age group||100 Breaststroke & 200 Individual Medley|
|Finlay Wright||Boys 17-19 age group||100 & 400 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly|
Unfortunately, in the current climate, sickness definitely affected the Banbridge Academy Team. Zachary Black was unable to compete at the gala due to recovering from illness. He was greatly missed by the team, but we know he would have been cheering from home. We also had a number of swimmers who performed very well, considering they had just recently returned from being ill – an even greater achievement for these fantastic swimmers, who are so keen to represent their school and give of their best.
Overall, from these Banbridge Academy swimmers there were:
Personal Bests – 31
Finalists – 14
The standard of swimming was excellent, with tight races and some swimmers just missing out on finals by the slimmest of margins.
Those making finals were:
|Amy Agnew||100 Breaststroke|
|Rachel Blemmings||100 Breaststroke|
|Alana Burns-Atkin||100 Butterfly|
|Lauren Burns-Atkin||100 Breaststroke|
|Ciara Daly||100 Breaststroke|
|Aimee Dawson||100 Freestyle|
|Adam Ewart||100 Breaststroke|
|Tara Kennedy||100 Backstroke|
|Ross McCombe||100 Breaststroke|
|Anna McKernan||100 Butterfly|
|Ben O’Reilly||100 Breaststroke|
|Adam Wilson||100 Breaststroke|
|Finlay Wright||100 & 100 Butterfly|
The 200 Individual Medley and Relays didn’t have finals and were what we call “Heat declared winner” so there was only one chance for these swimmers to get medals.
Out of these finalists and the ‘heat declared winner’ events, Banbridge Academy took away 9 medals.
Individual medals went to:
Adam Wilson 1st in 100 Breaststroke and 1st in 200 Individual Medley
Alana Burns-Atkin 1st in 100 Butterfly
Finlay Wright 1st in 100 Butterfly
Tara Kennedy 2nd in 100 Backstroke
Lauren Burns-Atkin 2nd in 100 Breaststroke
Ross McCombe 2nd in 100 Breaststroke
In the teams relay, we won medals in two events:
3rd in Girls 13-14 200 Medley Relay Team was Tara Kennedy, Lauren Burns-Atkin, Samantha Burns-Atkin, April McFarlane
2nd in Girls 14-16 200 Medley Relay Team was Aimee Dawson, Alana Burns-Atkin, Anna McKernan, Edie McCusker
Qualification for the Ulster Interpro Team requires being placed in the top two of the event for the specific age group. This is a significant achievement and means that anyone selected will be representing the school at Regional level against other Irish provincial teams later this season. Those that will be selected for the team will be Adam Wilson, Finlay Wright, Lauren Burns-Atkin, Alana Burns-Atkin, Ross McCombe and Tara Kennedy.
Finally, there are Cups awarded to schools for each age group for the highest scoring teams based on individual events. These are generally won by schools in the Belfast, Bangor or Ards areas and so to win one of these Cups is another great achievement. The Girls’ 15-16 age group narrowly missed out winning the Cup for their age group, finishing second behind a strong Strathearn Team.
The Senior Boys’ 17-19 age group, were not to be beaten and won the Cup for Banbridge Academy. A fantastic achievement from the three boys representing this group, Ben O’Reilly, Adam Wilson and Finlay Wright.
A special mention has to be given to Rachel Blemmings, Adam Wilson and Finaly Wright, as this will be their last year representing the school. These three swimmers have represented the school since Year 9 and some even in the Interpros team.
A final thank you goes to the people who coordinated the competition and supported these swimmers on the day to ensure they could give their best. Thank you, coaches, parents and other volunteers!