February 23rd, 2019

February 24, 2019

Swim Ireland’s McCullagh International Meet concluded in Bangor today, with Eoin Corby (National Centre Limerick / Limerick) taking home a Breaststroke hat trick of Irish Junior Records (IJR), finishing his streak by breaking the 10-year-old 50m Breaststroke record, previously held by Michael Dawson. Corby touched in gold position shaving 0.18 seconds off to place a new IJR of 28.71, team mate Uiseann Cooke finished second in another impressive time of 28.96 and Kyle Boyek (University of Sterling) took third in 29.11.

Podium’s 1 and 2 from last night’s 200m Breaststroke returned to fight for the Women’s 50m Breaststroke and roles reversed, with Niamh Coyne from National Centre Dublin (NCD) / Tallaght taking the win in 32.24 and Aisling Haughey (Aer Lingus) finishing second in 32.89 leaving Emily Surminski (London Swimming) to touch third in 33.29.

The Men’s 200m Backstroke final was won comfortably by National Centre Dublin (NCD) / Kilkenny swimmer Sean Scannell in 2.06.09 coming back in a strong last 50m, ahead of Jack Muncey (Perth City) who finished second in 2.08.49 and Trojans Ethan Hansen not far behind touching third in 2.08.54.

Women’s 200m Backstroke final was stacked for a great race, with the ladies staying close together over the course of the first 100m, but it was Jasmine Iley from London Swimming who started to edge in front of the group down the third 50m. Iley gaining distance each stroke took the win in 2.18.31, leaving Godden and Amelia Kane (Ards) to fight for the silver position, in which Kane touched just ahead in 2.20.37 and Godden in 2.20.66.

The Men’s 50m Freestyle Final saw Curtis Coulter (Ards) take the win, lowering his heat time by a second to stop the clock at 23.43, David Thompson from Bangor came in second in 23.49 and NCD / Athlone swimmer Robert Powell claimed bronze in 23.77. It was 26’s across the podium for the Women’s 50m Freestylers, with Larne swimmer Danielle Hill taking the win in 26.20, followed by Caroline Lewitt (London Swimming) for silver position in 26.90 and Victoria Catterson (Ards) sneaking in under 27 (26.99) to claim bronze.

Brendan Hyland (NCD / Tallaght) topped off his Butterfly Gold medal collection with the 100m Butterfly, posting an encouraging in season time of 53.62, just 1.01 seconds off his best. Behind Hyland was Sterling’s Eduard Rednic in 55.44 and Ards swimmer Michael Hewitt in 55.56. The Women's 100m Butterfly was another great race with Templeogue starlet Ellen Walshe fighting for a home win against London Swimming’s Lucy Thornton and Ally Larson, touching first in a 1.01.32 ahead of Larson (1.01.63) and team mate Thornton who took third (1.02.17).

The 200m Individual Medley (IM) event is always an interesting race, with swimmers specialties dominating at different stages throughout. It was Brendan Hyland who surprised the field from lane 0 to take the win with a strong Butterfly and Freestyle leg. The NCD / Tallaght swimmer accelerated to finish in a personal best of 2.04.52. NCL / Castlebar swimmer Cillian Melly touched next, also posting a personal best time to take the silver in 2.05.47.

Likewise, in the Women’s 200m IM final, the podium positions were hard to predict, Ally Larson (London Swimming) turned well ahead after the 100m mark but had to hold strong to fight off Ard’s swimmer Rebecca Reid down the last 25m. It was, however, Larson who touched first in 2.17.04, with Reid in second just outside her personal best in 2.18.60 and Julia Knox in third (2.21.35).

The last of the National Relay Titles were claimed today with the 4 x 100m Medley Relay in which Bangor Swimmer Club were crowned champions. The team from Bangor was made up of Emma Reid opening with the Butterfly, Jack McMillan (on Backstroke), Curtis Coulter (on Breaststroke) and Rachel Bethel completing the Freestyle leg to claim the title in a time of 4.06.66. The team from Ards came home with the silver, while Templeogue Swim Team secured the bronze.

The 400m Freestylers closed the evenings events after a tough weekend of swimming with visitor Stephen Milne from Perth City making his intentions clear from the start, storming ahead. Milne was able to hold the rest of the field off comfortably, to touch in 3.56.63. There was, however, a fight for the silver, between Lisburn’s Daniel Wiffen, Archie Price (London Swimming) and Jackson O’Rourke (East Midlands). Price was the one to pip the silver in 4.06.80 with Wiffen taking home the bronze in 4.07.40.

The Women’s 400m Freestylers finished up a great weekend of racing, with the ladies challenging each other throughout. Gold, Silver and Bronze, were separated by a second a piece, London’s Megan Barnes finished strong to take the win in 4.22.01, Amelia Kane from Ard’s took the silver in 4.23.68 and it was Rachel Bethel who claimed the bronze in 4.24.12.

Last but not least, Ards Swimming Club took to the podium to collect the David McCullagh Memorial Trophy. Ards were the first to claim gold at the event by dominating the two women’s relays on day 1, securing the National Titles in both the 4x200m Freestyle and 4x100m Medley Events. Success came streaming in from then on, resulting in Ards claiming a landslide victory for the overall award.

In an interview with National Performance Director, Jon Rudd told Andrew Bree “The McCullagh International is the last domestic competition ahead of the Irish open, where we pick our International teams. We position this so that it provides a 4/5 week window into the Irish Open, so the guys all have the opportunity to race long course against each other. It’s great to see we’ve attracted international competition from the UK, it really adds to the occasion and make it’s a bit tougher for athletes to make finals. Since we’ve introduced the age group events last year, it gives the younger athletes the opportunity to see where they can be in the future. They can see the likes of Shane Ryan and Jordan Sloan race on the same bill as them and hopefully gain inspiration from them”.

There was indeed some fantastic in-season racing over the course of the weekend, which has us all looking forward to an exciting Irish Open Swimming Championships in less than 5 weeks’ time. Irish Open will take place at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin (27th – 31st March). This will be the only opportunity to qualify for the 2019 World Championships, World University Games, European Junior Championships and European Youth Olympics. We have no doubt after this weekend, with final preparations in place this meet will make a very exciting watch!

Swim Ireland would like to extend a huge thanks to all of the athletes, officials, volunteers, kid volunteers, athletes, coaches, team mangers, those who presented medals, parents and staff at the Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor. And a special mention to all of the officials who travelled long distances to be there at McCullagh International, thank you.

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