McDonald & Turner through to 400m Freestyle Finals at Paralympic Swimming World Championships

Lifetime best swims from Keane and Turner in heats

On the opening day of the Paralympic Swimming (IPC) World Championships in Glasgow this morning Ireland’s Darragh McDonald swam a season’s best time of 5:11.26 to win the first heat of the S6 400m Freestyle and qualify for tonight’s final at 8.13pm.

London 2012 gold medallist McDonald won 400m Freestyle gold at the 2013 World Championships but did not compete at last year’s European Championships due to surgery. Although currently ranked fourth going into these Championships the Gorey athlete will by buoyed by this morning’s performance and is set to contest the medals in tonight’s final.

In her World Championship debut thirteen year old Nicole Turner produced a superb performance to smash her personal best time in the heats of the 400m Freestyle (S6 class) and qualify for tonight’s final at 8.21pm.

Paralympics Swim team preview ahead of the World Championships
Paralympics Swim team preview ahead of the World Championships

The Laois Marlins club athlete showed no sign of nerves to finish fourth in her heat in a best time of 6:01.49, over half a minute quicker than her previous best of 6:35.65 set in March of this year. The S6 class is highly competitive and dominated by Great Britain’s poster girl Ellie Simmonds. Turner has already exceeded expectations in qualifying for tonight’s final as she was ranked tenth going into the event.

Earlier on Dubliner Ellen Keane swam an impressive personal best in her heat of the 100m Backstroke recording a time of 1:18.69; over 1.5 seconds quicker than her previous best of 1:20.23. The National Aquatic Centre club swimmer narrowly missed out on a place in the final with this performance but as her least favoured event of the six she is competing in at these Championships, it is a great start as she contests her top event tomorrow; the 100m Breaststroke (SB8 class).

First up for the Irish team today was James Scully in the first heat of the 50m Backstroke (S5 class), in which he finished sixth in a time of 45.18. Dubliner Scully, who swims out of the National Aquatic Centre swim club will be back in the pool on Wednesday in his top event; the 200m Freestyle.

These Championships are a key milestone on the road to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games qualification. Swimmers who win gold and silver in their events earn automatic qualification slots for their country. For the others the highest possible finish is vital as the remaining slots are allocated based on world rankings in 2016.

Over 580 athletes from nearly 70 countries will be competing at these Championships which are being staged at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre; scene of last year’s Commonwealth Games.

All the heats and finals will be shown live on our dedicated page here.

The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz; an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.

Irish Results 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, 13th July

James Scully, 6th in heat of S5 50m Backstroke 45.18

Ellen Keane, 4th in heat of S9 100m Backstroke 1:18.69 (PB)

Darragh McDonald, won heat of S6 400m Freestyle 5:11.26 (SB), qualifies for final tonight

Nicole Turner, 4th in heat of S6 400m Freestyle 6:01.49 (PB), qualifies for final tonight

Irish schedule – Evening session Monday 13th July

8.13pm S6 400m Freestyle Final – Darragh McDonald

8.21pm S6 400m Freestyle Final – Nicole Turner

Irish Team for 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, 13th-19th July, Glasgow

Ellen Keane, S9 class, NAC swim club, from Clontarf, Dublin 3

Ailbhe Kelly, S8 class, NAC swim club, from Castleknock, Dublin 15

James Scully, S5 class, NAC swim club, from Ratoath, Co. Meath

Jonathan McGrath, S8, Limerick High Performance Swim team, from Killaloe, Co.Clare

Darragh McDonald, S6, UCD Swim team, from Gorey, Co.Wexford

Nicole Turner, S6, Laois Marlins Swim team, from Portlaoise, Co.Laois

Staff

Jim Laverty, National Coach

Hayley Burke, Team Manager

Mary Seery, Team support

Alan Swanton, Performance Analyst

Jon Faulkner, Physiotherapist

Ciara Sinnott O’Connor, Physiologist

About Classification: Classification is a unique and integral part of disability sport. It provides the structure to separate athletes with similar levels of impairments into groups, or classes as they are commonly known, so they can compete in fair and equal competitions against one another, and ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus.

This same principle exists in non-Paralympic sports where athletes are classified according to age, gender or weight divisions to allow for as fair competition as possible.

In swimming classification the S refers to swimming, in particular the Freestyle, Butterfly and Backstroke events, the SB refers to Breaststroke and the SM refers to Swimming Medley, with the numbers denoting the level of impairment, the lower numbers the more severe the impairments and the higher less so.

For a full run down on all the classifications in swimming visit

http://www.paralympic.org/swimming/classification