International Competition for Sirens ASC in Sicily

Thursday, June 4, 2015, 9:58

29th May, 2015: Maltese swimmers have been flying the flag aboard this month as swimmers from Sirens ASC represented their club and country in two separate competitions in Sicily during May.

Earlier this month, 17 swimmers from the senior squad headed for Catania to take part in the V Fin Sicily Kaos Team Trophy meet, staged in memory of Fabio Guglielmino and Mimmo Raffone, on 9th and 10th May.

The Sirens swimmers were among 1074 athletes from 61 clubs across Sicily battling for personal bests (pb’s) and podium positions. Any nerves that might have been evident soon disappeared as great pb’s and medals of all colours started rolling in. Between them, the squad hauled in 13 golds, five silvers and four bronze medals. The medals were awarded for 50m races across all strokes, the exception being Andre Camilleri, who achieved a stunning silver for his 100m backstroke. And, after so many individual achievements, Issac Calleja, Andrea Mallia, Luke Grech Carr, Matthias Bonnici, Andre Camilleri, Leah Tanti, Sasha Gatt and Ella Calleja Rogers brought home a team gold in the 8x50m relay.

Accompanied by some of the Sirens parents and Head Coach, Daniela Deguara Gatt, many of the squad were experiencing overseas competition for the first time and, winner or not, “the value of accruing international experience cannot be underestimated, said Deguara Gatt. I’m delighted with the squad’s performance and seeing them make good decisions in an alien environment is a great endorsement of their progress as young athletes.”

Two weeks later, 11 members of Sirens elite squad travelled to Messina to compete in the 11th Piskeo Trophy meet, a memorial competition in honour of Mirko Lagana. An excellent backstroker, Lagana was a regional champion and potential Olympian who died tragically aged 16.

Over 1000 athletes drawn from clubs all over Sicily, Calabria and Lombardia took part in two days of highly competitive swimming with the Sirens squad featuring on the second day with older swimmers.

Throughout a brilliantly organised competition, standards were extremely high and the Sirens squad appeared to take some time to settle during the morning session. Out of 15 swims, only four pb’s were achieved by Michaela Cutajar, Matthew Zammit, Liam Gauchi and Daniel Sammut. The mood lightened towards the end of the morning when Kimberley Castelletti appeared on the podium with a silver for her 100m backstroke. As one of the top eight swimmers across all ages groups, she qualified for the ‘Australian Race’, a knock-out competition featuring 50m races in all strokes where the winner of a heat chooses the next stroke. Kimberley hung on for three races, but was knocked out in the 50m breaststroke.

A typical Sicilian pasta lunch, together with some rest appeared to raise spirits for the afternoon session and in the remaining swims great pb’s were achieved by Katryna Briffa, Jeremy Bugeja, Liam Gauci and Karl Cumbo who shaved more than a second off his time in the 100m breaststroke.

Both competitions provided a great experience for all swimmers and, importantly, the excellent relationships laid down by Sirens ASC with Sicilian clubs will undoubtedly lead to further international opportunities in the future.





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