Belfast Telegraph

Teenagers Catterson and Johnston the latest Ards aces to show big potential

By David Kelly

The Ards conveyor belt of talent continues at a relentless pace with Paddy Johnston and Victoria Catterson the latest two swimmers to come to the fore.

Currently recognised as the premier Irish club, they left the Ulster short course championships in Bangor's Aurora centre with a total of four Irish senior, six Irish junior, 11 Ulster senior and 11 Ulster junior records.

It has been quite a year for head coach Nelson Lindsay, having guided Bethany Firth to a hat-trick of Paralympic golds, and reflecting on the weekend's action he was very pleased with the development of 15-year-olds Victoria and Paddy.

Campbell College student Paddy was crowned 200m backstroke and 200m butterfly Ulster champion and also picked up silver in the 50m back.

Clubmate Victoria showed her potential when finishing second behind Commonwealth Games competitor Danielle Hill in the 200m freestyle. Last year she clocked 2:15.48 and at the weekend she touched in 2:00.69, hot on the heels of the Larne swimmer.

Coach Lindsay said: "Victoria and Paddy are showing great promise. Paddy is looking very good at this point, he has moved on quite a bit over the past year and I was very happy with his performance at the Ulster championships.

"The same goes for Victoria, who has made a breakthrough. We don't get carried away with what they're doing at this stage but at the same time their potential is clear to see.

"The club is doing very well and I think we had the most records we've ever had at an Ulster championships."

The Reid sisters Emma and Rebecca once again grabbed the spotlight with a record tally of one Irish senior, two Irish junior, three Ulster senior and three Ulster junior records between them.

Overall, the championships have shown that Northern Ireland should have a solid Commonwealth Games team in 2018.

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