Swimmers remember Richard O'Leary
15-10-2019 21:41 by Mark McGowen
Last weekend welcomed the first Autumn Challenge Gala in memory of Richard O'Leary, past chairman and Master swimmer of the March Marlins Swimming Club.
With the support of Richard's employers GMB and his wife Joy, the Marlins club hosted the event in which several clubs participated. Friends and fellow swimmers raced with Richard in mind and the event was poignantly started with a minute's round of a applause in his honour.
A phenomenal 81 personal best times were gained by Marlins swimmers with some spectacular performances by many. In particular, Jacob Lowe who brought home the Top Boy Trophy for his age group, 5 golds, 4 silver, 1 bronze and a fantastic 6 personal best times. Also, Tom Hanley gained 5 personal best times, 4 gold medals, 3 silver, 1 bronze and collected the Top Boy trophy for his age group. Tom swam powerfully in his races especially the 100m freestyle, which saw him finish in a fast 57.73 seconds. In addition, Molly McGowen also proved herself with 5 personal best times, 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze and Top Girl for her age group. Graham Shaw followed suit also receiving the Top Boy accolade plus eight medals, and finally, Martyn Fresher received the Top award for his age group and 4 medals including gold for the 100m breaststroke.
Younger swimmers, Izzy Dolbear-Zaleska and Jude Staton both came away with 4 personal best times each with Staton receiving 2 gold and 2 silver medals and Izzy, 1 gold and 1 bronze.
Other gold winners were Luke Ruggles, Georgia Ambrose, Andrew Fresher, Chloe Cook, Theo Liversedge, Sam Smith, Ciara Mason and Layla Bullman. Harry Smith also came away with 3 gold medals plus a personal best time for his 100 backstroke race.
Also swimming were, Rosetta Schauenburg-Kent, Thea Hanley, Hannah Jordan, Kiera Simpson, Luis Souto-Hill, Luke Cumbridge, Jonas Meckauskas, Jack Stapleton, Henry Gooch, Harry Rayner, Jacob Cowin, Joel Jordan, Abigail Watsham, Maisie Betts, Lucy Mclure, Devon O'Neil, Gracie Moule, Meadow Cullum, Chloe Urbanowicz, Ruby Saunders, Katrina Dale, Connor Rickard, Dan Riches, James Cowin, Hannah Storey, George Milton, Kait Crosby, Millie Walker, Yasmine Waite and Lily Purell.
The event ended with the presentation of top trophies by Joy, Richard's wife. Mrs O'Leary also received a frame of commemorative medals from the gala.
Many thanks to all the officials, volunteers and coaches who gave up their time to support this special event. Also to the the other clubs taking part, Chatteris, Bottisham, Ely, Huntingdon, St Neots, St Ives, Godmanchester, Wisbech and Team Anglia.
And finally, a huge thank you to Richard's friend and Marlins committee member, Mark McGowen for his dedication to the event which enabled it's smooth running and created a fitting tribute to a much loved man.