May 25, 2018

Eleanor Murray, Aura Trim Leisure Centre and Kells Swimming Club represented Ireland in the 1st Open International Swimming Championships for swimmers with Down Syndrome (“Kosovo 2018”) held in Prishtina on 19 and 20 May, 2018.

Eleanor is the reigning European Champion at the 1,500m freestyle having taken the title at the European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Paris, France in November, 2017. In Kosovo she had the opportunity to shine in some shorter events

11 countries participated and the event was a huge success.

Eleanor had a very successful championships doing herself and her country proud. Her achievements in the pool were:

  • Eleanor won the gold medal in the 200m Freestyle final in a time of 3:38:21.
  • Eleanor won the silver medal in the 100m Freestyle final in a time of 1:44:01.
  • Eleanor won the silver medal in the 100m Backstroke final in a new Personal Best (PB) time of 2:03:41.
  • Eleanor won a bronze medal in the mixed 4 x 50m Freestyle relay final on a Team comprising of swimmers from Ireland, the USA and Romania.
  • Eleanor was 4th in the 50m Backstroke final in a new Personal Best (PB) time of 1:01:57.
  • Eleanor was 4th in the 50m Butterfly final in a time of 59:04.
  • Eleanor was 5th in the 50m Freestyle final in a time of 49:07.

Eleanor was ranked third on the overall championship points table for female swimmers behind swimmers from Kosovo and Great Britain and ranked seventh on the combined points table for male and female swimmers.

This 1st Kosovo Open Championships was organised in close cooperation with the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation (DSISO) by the Termopan Swimming Club in Pristina and with the backing and support of the Kosovo Swimming Federation, the Kosovo Down Syndrome Association and generous local sponsors.

For a number of years now at International level, Eleanor has had a great competitive rivalry in the pool with Kosovo’s star swimmer Medina (“Dina”) Surdulli. On this trip, Eleanor and Dina had a great opportunity to strengthen their friendship away from the pool. Eleanor was delighted to spend time socially with Dina and her Mum and Dad as well as with her friends from the other nine competing countries. The Surdulli family were wonderful hosts.

Compiled: Tom Murray

Reviewed: Tsenya – Tessa van Heerden