December 14, 2017
Swim Ireland’s Irish Short Course Swimming Championships got underway at Lagan Valley Leisureplex Lisburn today with the first set of finals offering up some fantastic racing which included two new Irish Records.
Claremorris’ Niamh Kilgallen was the clear winner of the ladies 200m Individual Medley getting the touch on 2:11.13 to set a New Irish Senior Record in the event. The 18-year-old took over a second off Sycerika McMahon’s 2012 record of 2:12.35. Kilgallen was followed home by Banbridge’s Julia Knox in 2:16.12 with Rebecca Reid (2:16.99) of Ards third.
In the Women’s 200m Buterfly Final Templeogue’s Ellen Walshe retained her National Title breaking her own Irish Junior Record (2:11.51) in 2:10.07. Walshe had touched ahead of Clodagh Flood, National Centre Dublin (NCD) in 2:13.37 with Julia Knox third in 2:15.50.
The Men’s 1500m Freestyle Final got proceedings underway on the first day. In a closely contested race, Andrew Meegan of Aer Lingus regained the title he last won in 2015. Meegan posted a time of 15:34.66 to win ahead of Jack McMillan of Bangor in 15:39.00. The 2016 champion Daniel Wiffen of Lisburn had to settle for third in 15:41.49.
The ladies then took to the blocks for the fastest heat of 800m Freestyle. Spectators were treated to a battle royal between 2016 champion Rachel Bethel of Lisburn and Ards’ Victoria Catterson. On each-others shoulder throughout, it was Catterson who clinched the victory 8:43.32 just 0.17 seconds ahead of Bethel 8:43.49. National Centre Limerick’s (NCL) Edel Daly picked up the bronze in 9:15.72.
With 2016 Champion, Brendan Hyland, at European SC Cillian Melly NCL and Castlebar took full advantage, winning the 200m Butterfly Final touching on 1:58.28 ahead of Finn McGeever NCL in 2:00.26. Robbie Powell of Athlone completed the podium in 2:03.93.
In the men’s 100m Backstroke it was the NAC’s Brian O’Sullivan who stormed home on 53.22 to claim the National Title. Rory McEvoy, NCL claimed silver touching on 54.38. Jack McMillan collected his second medal of the championships when he stepped up for bronze in 55.53.
The ladies 100m Backstroke final was another cliff hanger with Maria Godden, Kilkenny holding off Paralympian Bethany Firth, Ards by just .05 of a second in a thrilling finish. Godden touched on 1:02.29 with Firth 1:02.34, who picked up a commemorative silver medal. Ellen Cassidy, Dolphin took silver in 1:03.58 with Caoimhe Quinn, Aer Lingus, taking the bronze on 1:03.58.
With three of Ireland’s top male breaststrokers in Copenhagen, tonight’s 50m Final was a classic. Thomas Fardal, Norway received commemorative gold in 28.27 seconds allowing Liam Doyle, Dolphin to retain the National Title touching just behind on 28.33. Dan Sweeney of Bangor, also sub 29 seconds, collected bronze 28.93.
The ladies 50m Breaststroke 2016 champion Mona McSharry is busy swimming at the European SC, but there was no shortage of talented young Breaststrokers stepping up to take the title! And it was World & European Junior, Niamh Coyne, National Centre Dublin, who stormed to victory in 31.95 ahead of Mia Davidson (32.64) of Ards and Coleraine’s Molly Curry (32.97).
Jack McMillan returned for his third final of the evening in the 200m IM, and did not disappoint. Posting 2:03.17 he was placed second behind the new National Champion, James Brown of Ards on 1:59.13. Cadan McCarthy (2:03.80), NCL and Mallow Swans completed the podium.
The evening finished with the 200m Freestyle Relay Finals. First up, Ards and Bangor had the Lisburn crowd on their feet as they battled to the finish. The Ards (1:33.41) team of James Brown, Jack Angus, Paddy Johnston and Conor Munn claimed the title by just 0.02 seconds from the Bangor (1:33.42) quartet of David Thompson, Mark Stoops, Curtis Coulter and Jack McMillan. Aer Lingus (1:36.01) won bronze.
The ladies from Ards SC, Rebecca and Emma Reid, Scarlett Armstrong and Victoria Catterson, doubled up for the club taking the Women’s 200m Freestyle National Title in 1:46.57 ahead of Aer Lingus (1:49.61) and (Trojan 1:50.72).
Competition continues tomorrow through to Sunday. Full results available HERE.