Irish swimmers concluded a historic week with 4th and 7th place finishes on the final night of racing at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, USA.
With Ireland’s first ever medals at a World Junior Championships secured including gold and bronze for Mona McSharry and silver for Conor Ferguson, the duo had qualified for the 200m Breaststroke and 200m Backstroke Finals this evening.
McSharry was first up in the 200m Breaststroke, the Marlins Donegal swimmer put in a huge effort in the final, leading from the start to the turn at 150 metres, but it was too much over the last 50 metres as USA’s Zoe Bartel (2:25.68) powered through for the win ahead of her USA team mate Ella Nelson (2:27.04) and getting to the wall just two hundredths of a second ahead of McSharry Great Britain’s Anabel Guye-Johnson (2:27.42) got home for bronze. McSharry’s time of 2:27.69 was only her second time under 2 minutes 29 seconds, her fastest time and the Irish Record of 2:27.44 won her silver at the European Junior Championships earlier this year.
Swimming in his third final of the week Conor Ferguson clocked his fourth fastest time ever in the 200m Backstroke touching in 1:59.86. The 17-year-old, who claimed 100m Backstroke silver on Thursday and was fourth in the 50m Backstroke Final on Saturday, was seventh overall in tonight’s final which was won by Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez in a new Championship record of 1:56.69.
Speaking at the end of the Championships Swim Ireland National Performance Director Jon Rudd commented “A World Junior Championships is exactly what it suggests it is – the best young talent in the world coming together under one roof to go head to head. We brought a small in number but highly visible team here and to come home with three medals, one of each colour, seven swims in finals and another two semi-finals on top of that you can’t ask for much more in your first season as Performance Director. Virtually every one of our athletes has swum at least one lifetime best at this meet and we are very much about lifetime best performances on the day that matters. For our Mixed Medley relay to be one of those finalist performances, it shows we have some strength in depth to work with. Hats off to World Junior Champion Mona McSharry and medallist Conor Ferguson in particular. The future is bright in Swim Ireland; it is impossible to remember how many plaudits and comments of praise we’ve heard this week from the swimming world at large. Irish swimming is on the move. Watch this space”
Attention for Irish swimmers now turns to the 2017/18 swimming season with high expectations for this crop of talented young athletes. Niamh Coyne, Ellen Walshe, Robbie Powell and Jack McMillan are all eligible once again for the European Junior Championships. Mona McSharry and Conor Ferguson transition to the senior ranks with focus on the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow while Ferguson with McMillan will be looking to qualify for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
World Junior Championships Day 6 Results
200m Backstroke Conor Ferguson H 2:01.56 (8th) F 1:59.86 (7th)
200m Breaststroke Niamh Coyne H 2:37.40 (27th)
Mona McSharry H 2:30.07 (5th) F 2:27.69 (4th)Read More