Swimming: Sirens Shine in Rome

Friday, June 24, 2016, 10:45

Gavin Muscat

Ten of Sirens finest travelled to Rome last weekend to take part in the second edition of the TiroA Volo Nuoto (TVN) swim meet. Accompanied by Elite squad coach, Catalin Stan, the small squad were determined to shine in a major competition that featured 1300 athletes from 74 teams and four countries.

Intense training at home paid off.  During four days of tough competition every member of the Sirens squad achieved significant personal best times. The squad were also awarded with places in the finals and, for Michael Umnov,  a stunning silver medal in the 200m breaststroke.

Unmov’s silver came on Friday evening as he hit the wall with a time 2.20.14. Michael also reached the finals for 100m and 50m fly together with the 200 IM medley where he placed 5th with a time of 2.09.56.

Other Maltese finalists included Kim Castelletti in the 100m fly achieving a new pb of 1.06.77 and 14 year old Kyle Buhagiar who swam a powerful 2.21.02 in the 200 IM.

Soaking in the atmosphere of pressured international competition, the rest of the squad continued to make an impact throughout the weekend.  13 year old Jessica Powell become the youngest senior squad member to swim a sub-30 in the 50m freestyle by powering home with a 29.84;  Kyra Debono shaved three seconds from her 100m free  swimming 1.12.18 and Michaela Cutajar swam the same race in 1.05.07 from a previous 1.07.41.

The boys were not to be outdone and were no doubt further inspired after a chat with the USA’s Michael Andrew, the current World Junior Champion and tipped as the new Michael Phelps.  Matthew Zammit improved his 100m free by two seconds to achieve 1.02.83; Kyle Farrugia took three seconds off his 100m fly swimming an impressive 1.10.20 and Karl Cumbo scored four new pb’s from five races, the most significant being his 200m free performance where he gained a time of 2.10.20.

The Sirens ASC squad returned to Malta on Monday and were back in the training pool by the evening in preparation for the ASA National Championships later this month.

Over the same weekend,  at the club house in St Paul’s Bay, Sirens ASC took a record number of registrations for its 2016 summer school, ensuring future generations of internationals swimmers.

The Maltese contingent

Michael Umnov with his silver medal





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