"We've had some really great results with a lot to look forward to" - Team Manager Hayley Burke reflects on the IPC European Swim Championships so far
It was another busy day in the pool for Irish swimmers today, as four of the squad qualified for the finals at the IPC European Open Swim Championships (Day 3) in Funchal, Portugal, with Personal Best (PB) times for Nicole Turner and Ailbhe Kelly.
Speaking about the Championships so far, Irish Swim Team Manager Hayley Burke stated:“The team is going quite well, there’s a lot of background work going on to get things right before Rio. Results have been really good, we’ve stepped up and done a number of PBs, particularly with Nicole, Barry and Ailbhe, the younger members of the squad - they’re really carrying the flag for us.
“It was fantastic to see Nicole win silver on Monday evening,” she continued. “She went into that event ranked fourth, so best case scenario we were hoping for was a bronze, and it was interesting to see her go for silver and not settle for bronze.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of the week she stated that there is a lot to look forward to: “Ellen Keane hasn’t had any of her majors, today was her Butterfly, that is her third best event, she has her 200m Individual Medley tomorrow, so I’d like to see her go well there, while Nicole is going in ranked second in the 100m Breaststroke so it’d be nice to see another medal there and she should PB too so that is really important.
“Ailbhe has her strongest event still to come in the 100m back stroke, while Barry McClements has his strongest, the 400m Freestyle at the end of the week so there’s a lot to look forward to!"
Indeed, it’s an extremely busy schedule for the swimmers, with four of the squad making finals this evening on Day 3 of the Championships.
First to hit the pool was Meath man James Scully, who was contesting the Men’s 200m Freestyle S5 and was hoping to go one better than his heat time of 2.54.76, but finished the final in a time of 2.55.37,
“I’m a bit disappointed to be honest, I swam faster in the heats, I was looking for a better performance, but training has been going well and though I swam well I didn’t get the result I wanted.
“It’s a good time, it’s the second fastest time I’ve swam this year. I’m looking ahead to my other events now, and hoping for finals and Personal Bests.”
Next into the water for the Irish was 13-year-old, Nicole Turner - who scooped a European silver medal on Monday evening in the 200m IM SM6 – and continued her impressive form in the heats of the 100m Freestyle S6 this morning, when she touched home in a time of 1.19.91. She certainly didn’t disappoint in the final this evening, securing another massive Personal Best to place fifth in a time of 1.19.22.
“I’m really happy with it, it was better than this morning too so that was great. I was trying to break 1.20 last month, so to go sub 1.20 twice today is brilliant. I’m really looking forward to my 100m Breaststroke tomorrow.”
Ellen Keane was up next in the Women's 100m Butterfly S9 final, where she swam home in a fantastic time of 1.12.54.
“I’m really, really happy with that time. I was a bit tired from yesterday, so I wasn’t really expecting much out of my Butterfly, I just gave it my all. Now I’m looking forward to my 200m Individual Medley tomorrow.”
Last in the finals this evening was 17-year-old Ailbhe Kelly who also secured a fantastic PB in the 200m Individual Medley S8 when she finished in a time of 3.27.79.
“I was really happy with my time,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to be in the final, or get a PB and even be lucky enough to get two!”
Earlier on today, 14-year-old Barry McClements hit the pool for the Men's 100m Freestyle S9 and finished in a new Personal Best time of 1.07.57, but just missed out on a spot in the final. Meanwhile, Clare man Jonathan McGrath also secured a new Personal Best in the Men's 200m Individual in a time of 2.55.52 but also missed out on a final spot.
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