Lifesavers lead the way
A team of 60 nippers aged eight to 14 represented Wexford in the inaugural Leinster Nipper Pool Lifesaving competition held in Tallaght Sports Complex.
The win confirmed Wexford as the number one lifesaving county in Leinster, having already won the Sea Surf Lifesaving Nipper Leinster Cup on Brittas beach last summer.
The swimmers competed in three individual events in each age group: a 50m obstacle swim, a 25m underwater swim with fins, and a 50m approach swim fit rescue tube and fins. They also competed in an obstacle relay and medley relay in the 8-11 and 12-14 age groups.
Wexford had 23 individual medal winners. Eight-year-old Emmet Cousins, in his first competition, swam very well and came home with three gold medals. Nine-year-old Rachel Bowe along with ten-year-old Enna Swords, 13-yearolds Anna Kavanagh and Adam Mahon, and eleven-year-olds John Milne and Jack Twomey, all brought home two golds and one silver each.
John and Jack had a ding-dong battle in the eleven-year-old boys' races, dead-heating in the underwater swim, John winning the 50m obstacle by a fraction and Jack winning the tube and fin by a fraction. Wexford dominated this age group with Dylan Cousins finishing a close third in each event and Harry McGuckin fourth. The four boys made up a very strong relay team, coming out on top in both 8-11 relays.
They will be hopeful of doing very well in the All-Ireland in Galway although the coach has told them that they wouldn't want to get too cocky. The other younger boys' relay team of Enna Swords, Robert Leonard, Damon McGannon and Ronan Cleary won silver in the obstacle relay, and the team of D.J. Donnelly, Pierce Doyle, Emmet Cousins and Neil Byrne won bronze in the medley relay.
Others who won gold were Sam Black, Emer Bowe, Robert Leonard and Neil Byrne. Aoife Milne, who won three silver individual medals, recorded very fast times but came up against top-class Wicklow competition.
She won gold with the girls' relay team along with Kate Rossiter, Chloe O'Connor and Anna Kavanagh in the medley event. They had just been pipped by a fast-finishing Wicklow team in the obstacle relay so it was nice to turn the tables in the medley event.
Sophie Mahon and Alanna Doyle did well in the girls' Under-10, winning six of the nine medals between them. Kate Rossiter won a silver and two bronze to add to her relay medals.
Cian Clark won three individual bronze and he, along with Ross O'Loughlin, Adam Mahon and Sam Black, won silver and bronze in the older boys' relays. Fionn Nugent swam very well in the boys' underwater race to win silver. Anna Doyle, Shemie Kavanagh and D.J. Donnelly won two bronze each, and brothers Ross and Hugh O'Loughlin both won bronze in the obstacle swim.
Bethany Donnelly, along with Alice Rush, Anna Doyle and Sophie Mahon, won a silver and a bronze in the younger girls' relays. The top six in each event qualified for the All-Ireland in Galway to be held on April 11.
A big thank you to all the coaches and parents who travelled and the officials. Well done to everyone who competed.