Asgard Swimming Club is making a big splash

THE ASGARD Swimming Club is entering its tenth year next year and yet it is still exceeds to be a vibrant club with its existing growing members.

Asgard S.C. is a competitive swimming club based at the Coral Leisure Centre, Seaview Avenue, Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Asgard S.C. currently has over seventy members which continue to grow under the excellent guidance of its coaching team.

The club was set up voluntarily almost ten years ago by Head Coach, John Kealy and members of the first committee; Patsy Breen, Nancy Quinn and Margaret Bracken.

With its unexpected popularity and performance, the club has excelled over the years by its past and present members in the club to this day. Asgard S.C. has members from the age of seven onwards with different groups to suit different age groups and ability.

Training times range between one hour per week, two hours, four hours, six hours, seven and half hours to ten and half hours per week for the senior squad. Entry to the club is based on ability and assessed by one of our coaches when the swimmer is invited to do a trial.

The club is coached by three qualified coaches; Head Coach, John Kealy from Arklow, Assistant Coaches; Julie Roche from Wexford and Aimee Armstrong from Australia with a new committee that has been set up following the Annual General Meeting recently with a new Chairperson; Bernie Kehoe, Secretary; Nicole McInerney, Treasurer; Alison Weadick, Committee PR; Rachel Kealy, Gala Secretary, Grainne Kelly, Committee Members; Pauline Green, Annette Hedderman and Joanne Keogh.

The current swimmers participate in many competitive galas throughout the year, culminating in National competitions in June and July. These competitions have resulted in numerous records for some, as well as getting enjoyment out of competing.

There are some swimmers who are listed as the top three best in Ireland in their age groups such as Lydia Kehoe (11) from Gorey, Rory O’Carroll (13) from Wicklow and Darragh McDonald (15) from Gorey also who is second best in the world rankings.

Darragh McDonald is one of the current members of Asgard S.C. who has participated in the Paralympics in Beijing bringing home one silver for his favourite event 400m Freestyle as well as breaking the Irish record.

He has just recently taken part in the European Championships in Reykjavik, Finland, winning two silver for 100m and 400m freestyle event. He is currently training hard for the next Paralympics in London 2012.

The Junior Squad members has recently taken part in the Trojan Gala in Newpark, Dublin for the Under 12 Age Group and gained some now PBs such as Gavin Bently, Keith Bently, Shane Bermingham, Hana Blake, Nicole Devitt, Joel Goodwin, Ellen Green, Ciara Hannon, Emer Kelly and Dylan Murray. Congratulations on their exceptional performances!

Members of the Senior Squad for Asgard are competing in top Irish Nationals with great skill, determination and new PB’s such as sisters, Lara and Jessica Nolan, Hannah Hedderman, Lynne Duffy and Rory O’Carroll to name a few.

Head Coach John Kealy commented that some swimmers in Asgard have great potential to continue succeeding in both National and International Competitions and some may have a chance to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil if they keep up their hard work and determination!

The club recently took part in their first away swimming camp in La Santa Resort, Lanzarote last February which accommodates an Olympic size pool. Twenty-three members of the senior squad took part in an intensive but yet satisfying training schedule for ten days.

The Irish School Galas in the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) last Saturday saw few swimmers such as Ciara Weadick (11) from Arklow, Lydia Kehoe (11) from Gorey, Ellen Green (12) from Tinahely and Emer Kelly (10) from Wicklow bringing back the gold more than their rival club, Aer Lingus, who are renowned as one of the top clubs in Ireland.

Asgard S.C. is a non-profit organisation and in the current climate will be trying to fundraise as much as possible to help all the swimmers of the club to reach their full potential while keeping costs at minimum.

All funding or sponsorship will be gratefully accepted through direct contact with the club committee or by supporting our future fundraising events throughout the coming year.

We are hoping to replace equipment and fund extra long course training as the closest pool for extra training is in NAC, Blanchardstown, Dublin. Any sponsorship can be acknowledged by their name or company name being printed on the Asgard sports bags/hats etc.

Asgard Swimming Club will be taking part in a sponsored Lion’s Club Swim on St. Stephen’s Day and would appreciate the local support!

Asgard Swimming Club is eager to introduce more new members to the club and if you have an interest in joining the club or would like more information, please contact the Club Secretary Nicole McInerney at 0878175850 or email nicoledowdall@eircom.net or contact the Chairperson Bernie Kehoe at 0877468736 Asgard S.C website can be viewed at www.asgardsc.ie.

Original Article first posted in the Wicklow People, November 29th 2009