Classy Curtis Coulter on track for Commonwealth Games assault
Curtis Coulter has had a tough year and while he may not be at full strength, the Ards teenager has his sights firmly on making the plane for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.
Coulter finished off his campaign at the Ulster Open championships with a hat-trick of gold medals and will aim for more success at the Irish short course championships in Lisburn's Laganvalley Leisureplex next week.
The 19-year-old Finance undergraduate at Queen's University has been dealing with a problem with his right shoulder which has subsequently led to a problem down his right side.
"It's been pretty frustrating because I haven't been able to go at my training full on," said Coulter, who will head to the Scottish Grand Prix in January for his first long course meet of the season.
"I am pleased with my times at the Ulster short course championships but the Scottish Grand Prix is the main target because I would love to hit the nomination times for the 50m and 100m freestyle for the Commonwealth Games.
"If I could do it in January then that would allow me to have a longer block of training leading up to the Games.
"I have been getting some physio and doing some specific exercises to manage the problem and they seem to be working."
Not only was Coulter pleased with his own performances but also those of his Ards team-mates, such as record breakers Emma Reid and James Brown – all of whom are guided by club supremo Nelson Lindsay.
"As the club captain I am very happy with how all the guys have been swimming. There's a great buzz about the club," added Coulter.
Coach Lindsay added: "Curtis is on course at this stage of the season. Of course he struggles to be patient with the issue with his side but he's managing it very well."
Bangor's Jordan Sloan also stood out on the final night of competition at the Aurora at the weekend when he clocked a new Ulster senior record of 55.24 for the 100m backstroke.
The 20-year-old UUJ Business Studies student said: "I'm very happy with my time but now I need to convert the short course times into long course times for the Commonwealths.
The Larne club are also enjoying plenty of success and Danielle Hill set a new Ulster junior record of 29.99 to win gold in the 50m backstroke at the weekend – breaking the 10-year-old record of double Olympian Melanie Nocher.
Hill and fellow 14-year-old Larne swimmer and Ulster record holder Conor Ferguson are two young athletes who should be part of a very strong Northern Ireland team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.