December 16, 2018
Team Ireland swimmers concluded a remarkable World Short Course Swimming Championships in China today with yet another Irish Record, taking the total for the 5 swimmers over six days of competition to eleven.
Conor Ferguson (Backstroke), Darragh Greene (Breaststroke), Brendan Hyland (Butterfly) and Shane Ryan (Freestyle) had all set individual records in their respective strokes across the week as well as a new record in the 4x50m version of the Medley Relay. But this morning’s swim, knocked an astonishing 18 seconds off the previous record set in 1991. The quartet combined for a time of 3:27.23, deleting the oldest men’s Irish short course record from the books, the previous record had stood at 3:45.66.
Speaking after the relay, the four were feeling positive, Greene saying ‘It was great to race together this morning, this was our second time racing together at a major championship, so just to get the experience is what we need heading into the Summer at World Championships, where we hope to qualify the relay for Tokyo 2020.’ Ferguson added ‘I feel we all swam incredibly well and were unlucky not to make it back, as we’d have been going in fourth into the final if it was Windsor (2016 World SC Championships). Hearing we broke the record after all of us swimming so well is another bonus.’
Also, in action this morning, Niamh Coyne swam a huge 3 second personal best in the heats of the 200m Breaststroke. The World Youth Olympic silver medallist was swimming in her first senior international meet this week and clocked personal bests in all three of her swims.
The team in China this week have had three Top-10 performances with two semi-finals, a final and a medal for Shane Ryan in the 50m Backstroke, Ireland’s first ever at a World Championships - alongside 11 Irish National Records (9 individual and 2 relay), National Performance Director Jon Rudd commented "I don't think that we could have expected much more from this group of athletes. To come out of a World Championships with a 93% lifetime best strike rate and a 100% conversion rate from heat to semi to final is outstanding. It's a drum that we're constantly beating and have done so since this performance team first came together; if we have athletes that can walk into a global arena such as this, feel an ownership around their own performance and feel that they have a performance right to be in such an environment, then you can look forward to lifetime best performances in the heats.’
Looking ahead to 2019 Rudd added ‘We will keep our feet on the ground, as we know this was a short course event and it will be quickly forgotten come our Trials at the end of March 2019 as we prepare for the next World Championships in Korea in the summer - with Olympic relay qualification and Olympic individual pre-validation both up for grabs. But a first ever medal at a senior World event and a five-athlete team that could not have done much more is most encouraging for all of us and it is very much hats off to Ben Higson and all of the Performance Team who enabled this and have now created such a tremendous impetus for Swim Ireland into the long course season ahead"
In Sheffield, Jack McMillan continued his record breaking assault, twice breaking the 100m Freestyle Irish Junior Record yesterday. McMillan broke Gerry Quinn's 2016 record of 49.13 in the heats touching in 48.37, he then went on to win the B Final, lowering the time once again, to 48.17. McMillan competes in the 200m Freestyle today where he will be surely aiming to set another mark.
Results Day 6
4x1000m Medley Relay