Irish swimmers were in impressive form on the final day of competition at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin to bring to 28 the number of swimmers qualified for International events this Summer.
The Irish Open Swimming Championships acted as the last opportunity for swimmers to meet qualification times for this Summer’s events including World Championships, World University Games, European Games, European Youth Olympics and World Junior Championships.
Shani Stallard achieved the World University Games consideration time as she won the Irish title in the 200m Individual Medley. Stallard’s time of 2:17.58 held of Lisburn’s Bethany Carson (2:20.88) but it was NCSA’s Evie Pfeifer who won the event in 2:14.38. Another American took control in the men’s event with Alex Lebed clocking 2:03.68 ahead of Ireland’s first placed swimmer Ben Griffin (Aer Lingus) in 206.92.
Castlebar’s Nicholas Quinn won the 200m Breaststroke Final in a World University Games Automatic Qualification time of 2:13.18, that’s brings to ten, the number of qualified swimmers for the event in Gwangju, South Korea in July. Westport’s Dearbhail McNamara won the Irish tile in the women’s event posting a 2:38.44 swim.
New Ross’ Grainne Murphy took the 1500m Freestyle out ahead of the competition and was in control up to 1,000 metres before NCSA’s Joy Field caught her. Field went on to win the race in 16 minutes 39.70 seconds while Murphy touched in third to take the Irish title in 16:47.25 bringing her title tally to three over the weekend.
Irish record holder Andrew Meegan won his first national title of the championships in a fantastic battle with Athlone’s Brendan Gibbons. The two were separated by the smallest of margins in the end with Meegan getting the touch in 8:17.65 ahead of Gibbons in 8:17.79. NCSA’s Matthew Hirschberger claimed his third win of the weekend adding to the 1500m and 400m as he placed first in the event in 8:02.57.
Having set a new Irish Senior Record in the 100m Butterfly semi-final, UCD’s Shauna O’Brien went on to win the Final in 1:00.56, just off the 1:00.21 she swam yesterday. Tallaght’s Brendan Hyland won the men’s event in a time of 54.45, also close to his own Irish Record (54.27).
In the 50m Backstroke finals, 15 year old Issie Hayes, who will represent Ireland at this Summer’s European Games took her first Irish title in 30.06 seconds while in the men’s event Brian O’Sullivan of the NAC Swim Club won gold in 26.84 seconds.
In the championship’s final event the NCSA swimmers dominated the women’s 50m Freestyle with Katherine Drabot beating her teammates to first place in 25.81 while the first Irish swimmer home was Bethany Firth in 26.30 seconds, claiming her second national title of the weekend. Doubling up on Freestyle titles also was Firth’s club mate at Ards Curtis Coulter, he added the 50m to his 100m title from Saturday in 23.07 seconds.
Commenting on the weekend’s racing Swim Ireland National Performance Director Peter Banks said “It’s great to see 28 swimmers now qualified to represent Ireland this summer in various International events. We have had some disappointments of non-qualifiers but I believe we have a great team building for 2016.”
Next up for Irish swimmers will be the European Games in Baku. A squad of 12 swimmers and 1 diver will represent Ireland at the Games in June.
Day 4 Results
Women 1500m Freestyle Final: 1st J Field NCSA 16:39.70 2nd K Brent NCSA 16:44.53 3rd G Murphy New Ross 16:47.25
Men 800m Freestyle Final: 1st M Hirschberger NCSA 8:02.57 2nd A Meegan Aer Lingus 8:17.65 3rd B Gibbons Athlone 8:17.79
Women 200m IM Final: 1st K Drabot NCSA 2:14.38 2nd E Pfeifer NCSA 2:16.84 3rd S Stallard UCD 2:17.58
Men 200m IM Final: 1st A Lebed NCSA 2:03.68 2nd J Ress NCSA 2:06.13 3rd B Griffin Aer Lingus 2:06.92
Women 200m Breaststroke Final: 1st O Anderson NCSA 2:32.82 2nd R Scott NCSA 2:34.80 3rd D McNamara Castlebar 2:38.44
Men 200m Breaststroke Final: 1st N Quinn 2:13.18 2nd R Palazzo NCSA 2:18.28 3rd E Browne NCSA 2:18.59
Women 50m Backstroke Final: 1st H Whiteley NCSA 29.23 2nd Z Alvestruz 29.25 3rd I Hayes Sunday’s Well 30.06
Men 50m Backstroke Final: 1st J Shebat NCSA 26.29 2nd B O’Sullivan NAC 26.84 3rd D Prendergast UCD 26.97
Women 100m Butterfly Final: 1st S O’Brien UCD 1:00.56 2nd L Case NCSA 1:00.65 3rd C McTaggart NCSA 1:01.20
Men 100m Butterfly Final: 1st B Hyland Tallaght 54.45 2nd Z Harting NCSA 55.31 3rd J Burkett NCSA 55.40
Women 50m Freestyle Final: 1st K Drabot NCSA 25.81 2nd C Fanz NCSA 25.98 3rd C McTaggart NCSA 26.01 5th B Firth Ards 26.30
Men 50m Freestyle Final: 1st C Coulter Ards 23.07 2nd J Williams Jones NCSA 23.23 3rd C Munn Ards 23.43
Qualification Times Met (selection of athletes for all events (except European Games) will be made at a later date)
European Games, 23rd – 27th June 2015, Baku, Azerbaijan (Final Selection made on 23/04/15)
Natasha MacManus (Diving) Rory McEvoy, Rachel Bethel, Mona McSharry, Iseult Hayes, Danielle Hill, Niamh Kilgallen, Emma Reid, Andrew Moore, James Brown, Alan Corby, Benjamin Doyle, Katie Baguley.
World University Games, 4th – 11th July 2015, Gwangju, South Korea
Qualifiers: Sycerika McMahon, Fiona Doyle, Christopher Bryan, Jordan Sloan, Shauna O’Brien, Alex Murphy, Grainne Murphy, Dan Sweeney, Nicholas Quinn, Shani Stallard.
European Youth Olympic Festival, 26th July – 1st August 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia
Qualifiers: Antoinette Neamt, Niamh Coyne, Ellen Walsh, Rebecca Reid, Conor Ferguson, Emma Moloney.
FINA World Swimming & Open Water Championships, 25th July – 9th August 2015, Kazan, Russia
Qualifiers: Sycerika McMahon, Fiona Doyle, Christopher Bryan (Open Water), Alex Murphy.
World Junior Swimming Championships, 25th – 30th August 2015, Singapore
Qualifiers: Conor Ferguson, Antoinette Neamt, Rachel Bethel, Rory McEvoy.