South Lake Leisure Centre hosted its first major swimming event on Sat 31 – Sun 1 Aug, welcoming clubs, coaches and swimmers from across Northern Ireland for the Swim Ulster Festival. This wonderful celebration of swimming was set against a backdrop of Getactiveabc Ambassador Daniel Wiffen storming home to win his heat in the 1500m Freestyle event at Tokyo 2020 on Friday 30 August. Daniel set a new Irish record of 15:07:69, knocking 9 seconds off his previous time!
Following this success, local Portadown swimming legend Jordan Leckey completed a North Channel solo swim on 2 August with Infinity Channel Swimming. His one-way 36km crossing, to Portpatrick, near Stranraer in Scotland, set a new course record of 9 hours 9 minutes 30 seconds. He smashed the previous record which was set back in 2013 by an American woman at 9 hours 37 mins.
Jordan, who works as a lifeguard at South Lake Leisure Centre and is a member of open water swimming group ‘The Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers’, had trained for the swim in Lough Neagh. Travelling alongside Jordan for the duration of the challenge were Monster Dunker founders Chris Judge and Dorothy Johnston. Chris set a world record himself in June when he was part of a group which swam 72 miles across St George’s Channel from Ireland to Wales. Dorothy coached Jordan from age 1o as a member of Lurgan Amateur Swimming Club.
These amazing achievements are truly inspiring for the young swimmers training hard across the borough with our local clubs Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club, Portadown Amateur Swimming Club, Lurgan Swimming Club and Armagh City Swimming Club.