December 19, 2020
Swim Ireland’s Irish Winter Meet concluded in Dublin today with a further three records set in tonight’s final long course (50m) session bringing the total to nine new Irish records in the first swimming competition in Ireland since February.
With Tokyo 2021 clearly on his mind and having been just .17 off the FINA Olympic Qualifying Time when he set a new 200m Freestyle Irish Record of 1:47.19 last night, Jack McMillan went all out in the first 200m of the 400m Freestyle Final. The Bangor swimmer was rewarded for his efforts, setting another Irish Record of 1:47.10 and now needs to shave just .08 off that time to qualify for the Games at the Irish Open Championships in April. Loughborough’s Daniel Wiffen ultimately won the 400m Final in 3:58.42.
Speaking after the race McMillan commented ‘I just felt like I could give it another go because it was so close to that FINA A yesterday. I just gave it my best shot. Unfortunately, I was really close again, but it just sets me up well for next year in April time, for trials, for the real thing. It’s given me a real confidence boost.’
McMillan did take a win on the final evening though, with the 20-year-old beating the fastest qualifier Jordan Sloan to the wall in the 100m Freestyle in 49.55, with Sloan second in 49.96.
National Centre Dublin’s Darragh Greene added a 200m Breaststroke win to last night’s 100m first place, touching in an impressive 2:11.09. Eoin Corby (National Centre Limerick) was second in 2:13.24, breaking his own Irish Junior Record in the process, making it a third junior record of the weekend for the 18-year-old who had a previous best of 2:13.35 from 2019.
Corby returned to the pool later in the evening for his fourth junior record, this time in the 200m Individual Medley where he broke Brendan Hyland’s 2013 record of 2:05.77 in 2:04.61.
Commenting at the end of the competition Corby said 'I started off the comp well, I got a nice junior record in the 50m Breaststroke. I was really happy with that, so I just tried to carry that confidence through to my swims in the mornings and evenings. I kinda learnt this morning in the 200m Breaststroke to focus on stroke count and stroke length and efficiency. I tried to apply that then this evening, and that helped, and I got the Irish Junior Record. I think I had probably one of my best training blocks coming up to this, It was definitely one of my hardest, and we came in tapered for this, so it’s good to see the results now. I was probably most happy with the 50m, to see that move on; half a second in 50 is a lot. And I was happy with the 100m IM and 200m IM - I was very pleased with that'
Niamh Coyne completed a Breaststroke treble, adding a 100m win to 50m and 200m wins from earlier in the competition. Coyne dominated the 100m Final touching in 1:09.23.
Larne’s Danielle Hill impressed in the 50m Freestyle, holding off UCD’s Erin Riordan (25.96) for the second time today to take the win in 25.54, just off her Irish Record of 25.29.
Rio 2016 Olympian Shane Ryan was to win his favoured event, the 100m Backstroke. The National Centre Dublin swimmer clocked 54.84 and will be confident come the Irish Open in April 2021 that he can go under the Olympic Qualifying time of 53.85, with Ryan already having a best time of 53.73 in the event from April 2019. In the Women’s 200m Backstroke Final, Kilkenny’s Maria Godden took the win in 2:19.87.
In the Women’s 200m Freestyle Final, Ards’ Victoria Catterson took her second win of the meet, adding to the 100m Freestyle, in 2:04.30 ahead of Kilkenny’s Maria Godden (2:06.07). Catterson’s team-mate Amelia Kane won the 400m Individual Medley Final in 4:56.59.
As it was in this morning’s short course heats, Brendan Hyland was the fastest swimmer in the 200m Butterfly long course final. The National Centre Dublin swimmer touched in 1:58.26 ahead of Ards’ Paddy Johnston in 2:01.44.
There was another Ards win in the 100m Butterfly as team-mates Ellie McKibbin and Rebecca Reid battled it out, with 16-year-old McKibbin touching the wall first in 1:03.49 just three hundredths of a second ahead of Reid in 1:03.52.
National Performance Director Jon Rudd said "It won't be a surprise to anyone to hear me say that 2020 has been a challenging year for our sport, our athletes and all of the aquatics community. But our Performance athletes have stepped up at this meet despite all of the difficulties, the uncertainty and the disruption that they have experienced in the last 10 months. We would have loved to have accommodated our usual contingent of athletes over these three days, but we also have to say that we are delighted to be able to run something for this discrete number of identified athletes as we progress into the Olympic year. To have 5 Senior and 4 Junior National records broken, not only short course but long course too at this meet is a real testament to the resilience and steel of some of these athletes - and their coaches - and we can enter 2021 with a new confidence and conviction that Irish swimming continues to make the kind of strides we both want and need"
Full Results available HERE.