There was a definite Christmassy feel to the air as we merrily trooped down the N7 to attend the Laois Marlins gala on Saturday 30th November.
Coming hot on the heels of the Trojan Gala, Laois had a small (but enthusiastic!) contingent visiting the picturesque Midlands town.
Three members of the Junior Development squad and five members of the (Senior/ Junior?) Squad braved the winter roads. Owing to the level of oversubscription of the gala, only three events per swimmer was permitted. But what a great sign that the galas are so well received, that too many kids want to take part!
The venue, Port Laois Leisure Centre, was spacious and central, which suited parents and kids alike, and ran pretty much like clockwork under the watchful eye of our coach Emer.
Lucy Micks had a nerve wrecking start as she waited with two other competitors behind the blocks whilst the chairperson gave the opening address ahead of the first race. Rachel Quinn took home her first individual Gala medal, and Saoirse Howlett gets Participant of the Gala award for competing in both the Trojan and the Laois galas in back to back weekends. Well done girls!
Well done also to the older members of the swan squad, Eldana Heffernan, Hugo Ivers McCormack, Amy O’Neill, and Isabel Corrigan who also made the trip and managed to collect no less than 5 medals between them despite there being clubs represented from the four corners of the country, and Swan having one of the smallest teams there.
As the sun went down, and the races continued well into the late afternoon and early evening, there was a decidedly festive feel to the venue, as the pool glowed and parents and children alike cheered. All in all, a far preferable way to spend a Black Friday weekend, than fighting your way around the shops!