Bronze for Ireland’s Darragh McDonald at Paralympic Swimming World Championships
Nicole Turner fifth in World Championship final
Ireland’s Darragh McDonald has won a bronze medal in the final of the 400m Freestyle (S6 class) at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Glasgow this evening in a time of 5:12.61. The twenty one year old swam a season’s best performance in the heats this morning to qualify for the final and was just over a second outside that time in tonight’s final behind Andrei Granichka of Russia in silver (5:06.51) and winner Francesco Bocciardo of Italy (5:06.49).
Speaking after the medal presentation McDonald, who is from Gorey in Co. Wexford said: “I’m really happy to make the World Championship podium tonight. It’s been a tough season, and the medal makes for a great finish to it. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead and the road to Rio.”
In her World Championship debut Nicole Turner, who is just thirteen, raced brilliantly to finish fifth in the final of the 400m Freestyle (S6 class) in a time of 6:01.54; just .05 of a second of the massive lifetime best she set this morning in the heats to qualify for the final. Ranked tenth in this event at the outset Turner exceeded expectations by making the final and a fifth place finish is a superb return.
Speaking after the finals Irish team manager Hayley Burke said: “It’s been a brilliant first day for the team. Darragh put in a real battling performance to claim bronze, to get a medal considering he went in these Championships lying fourth shows what a tough competitor he is and how well he raced.”
Burke went on to add; "Nicole was just fantastic; at just thirteen years of age in her very first major Championships to make the final and finish fifth in it and swim a superb lifetime best is so impressive; way above expectations. Ellen swam a lifetime best this morning that we were delighted with and just missed the final by such a small margin. James swam so close to a season’s best in one of his non favoured events; everyone stepped up.”
Earlier on today 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, fractionally outside of a season’s best, good enough for twelfth overall. 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.
Two of the six strong Irish team are in action on day two of these Championships. Nicole Turner is back in the pool first in the heats of the 100m Breaststroke (SB6 class); her leading event. Following Turner Ellen Keane races in two events; the heats of the 100m Freestyle (S9 class), followed by the heats of the 100m Breaststroke (SB8 class); also her leading event.
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.
The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz; an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.
Irish Results 2015 IPC Swimming World Champs, Mon 13th July
James Scully, 6th in heat of S5 50m Backstroke 45.18, 12th overall
Ellen Keane, 4th in heat of S9 100m Backstroke 1:18.69 (PB), 9th overall
Darragh McDonald, S6 400m Freestyle Final; BRONZE, 5:12.61 (Swam SB of 5:11.36 in heats)
Nicole Turner, 400m Freestyle Final; 5th, 6:01.54 (Swam PB of 6:01.49 in heats)
Irish schedule – Morning session; Tuesday 14th July
10.48am Nicole Turner, SB6 Women’s 100m Breaststroke Heats
11.08am Ellen Keane, S9 Women’s 100m Freestyle Heats
12.29pm Ellen Keane, SB8 Women’s 100m Breaststroke
Finals begin at 6pm should they qualify from the heats