Kilkenny swimmers recently competed in the 2022 Winter Nationals in the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin where they were up against Ireland’s top international swimmers. It was an excellent week with Marcus Bowen, Matthew McAviney, Paddy Cuddihy, Abby Cunningham, Nessa Godden and Brendan Pretorious representing Kilkenny Swimming Club.
Nessa Godden set two new personal bests in the 400m firstly in the heats and then in the final. Over the longer 800m distance she reduced her PB by over six seconds and in doing so won a bronze medal in the Junior 800m freestyle. Also in the 800m free, Paddy Cuddihy swam very well to finish 8th overall in an event won by Daniel Wiffen who set a new European record.
Marcus Bowen knocked 2.43 seconds off his 200m breaststroke while Abby Cunningham set a PB in the 400m free. Swimmers to make finals were Paddy Cuddihy in freestyle and Matthew McAviney in butterfly.
Third Level Swimmers
Kilkenny swimmers who have recently transitioned to third-level college and train in Dublin and Limerick respectively did very well. Maria Godden once again showed her prowess in the backstroke by claiming three silver medals over the three distances – 50, 100 and 200 metres. Brogan McAviney is proving to be a flyer with silver in the gruelling 200m butterfly and bronze over half that distance of 100m. Another swimmer showing his butterfly ability is Alex McCleland Maher who finished fifth and seventh in the finals of the 50m and 100m butterfly respectively. Maria, Brogan and Alex now train with the Swim Ireland National Centre in Limerick.
Naomi Trait now trains at UCD and has adapted very well. Naomi claimed silver in the 200m freestyle and bronze in the 200 metre individual medley where the swimmer completes 50 metres of each stroke – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and finally freestyle.
There will be many galas around the southeast for the junior swimmers to target PBs. However, the focus now for the senior (A squad) Kilkenny swimmers is long-course racing which means a return to the 50-metre pool. The target will be to achieve qualifying times for the National Long Course Championships in Dublin and the National Age Group Championships in Limerick both of which are held in July.
John Duffy – A Squad Coach
John Duffy, Kilkenny Swim Club “A” squad coach was a recent guest on Scoreline and gave us a fascinating insight into what goes into fashioning an athlete for top competitions and the dedication involved;
“It is one of those sports that you need to put a huge amount of time into and a lot of unsociable hours. It is a tough sport.
“The ones in my squad are doing six two-hour sessions a week, some doing seven or eight if they can get in to do some extra work. They also do some pilates work and gym sessions as well, so they are training eight, nine, or ten times a week. They are in the water five mornings a week 5.30 until 7.30, so they do a lot of kilometres a week.”
“So maybe it gives people a bit of perspective. Some of my swimmers are swimming 10 km a day or more. It is a lot of lengths and tiles to count when you are going up and down, and a lot of one line’s of songs going thru their head.”
“But it gives them that skill, that development so that they do not have to think about their skills when racing, they just get in and do it because it is what they are doing every day.”
“The importance to be able to do it without thinking about it is really really important. “
Listen back to the full interview on Scoreline Extra below: