Grainne Murphy made a welcome return to top form, following her serious glandular fever problems before and since the 2012 Olympics with three Gold Medals as the Irish Short Course Swimming Championships ended in Lisburn on Sunday.
In all there were six new Irish Records bringing the total to fourteen Records over the three days. Andrew Meegan became the first Irishman to swim under 8 minutes in the 800m Freestyle. Meegan, who held the previous record of 8:00.59 which he set in January 2012, lowered that time to 7:59.92 in Sunday’s final. This swim will give him confidence going into the European Championships later this month.
Second place in the 800m Freestyle Final went to Brendan Gibbons in a new Irish Junior Record of 8:06.29 breaking his previous record of 8:09.02 set a day earlier. Both Meegan and Gibbons train at Swim Ireland’s NAC Performance Centre in Dublin.
Having already picked up Silver in both the 800m and 400m Freestyle, Antoinette Neamt raced to Gold in the 1500m Freestyle Final in a new Irish Junior Record of 16:40.22. Neamt, who is also a full time member of the NAC Performance Centre finished over 40 seconds ahead of second place Ali Berry (17:20.30) and Lucy Gaynor (17:46.50).
Shauna O’Brien broke her second Senior Record of the championship, this time in the 50m Butterfly Final. O’Brien’s time of 27.14 knocked .16 of a second off the previous record that she had set at the 2012 championships. Barry Murphy won the men’s event in 23.93 seconds.
Grainne Murphy picked up her third Gold medal of the championships in the 400m Individual Medley Final with a time of 4:52.73. In the men’s event, Brendan Hyland also brought his national title tally to three with the win in 4:21.38 ahead of Ben Griffin (4:29.78) and Ronan Anderson (4:32.39).
Chelsey Wilson added to her 200m Backstroke title with a win in the 100m Backstroke in a time of 1:02.54 while in the men’s event Brian O’Sullivan set his sixth Irish Junior Record of the weekend. O’Sullivan had broken the previous record of 55.53 in the morning’s heat with a swim of 55.52 seconds, he then lowered that time in the final to take Gold in 54.17.
Both the women’s and men’s 200m Freestyle Finals made for exciting viewing with Bethany Carson of Lisburn taking the spoils in the women’s event in 2:00.84 and Curtis Coulter touching in 1:49.47 in the men’s, just half a second ahead of Brendan Hyland (1:50.08).
Niamh Kilgallen and Dearbhail McNamara battled it out in their 3rd Breaststroke event of the weekend in the 200m Final. Kilgallen had already won the 50m and 100m Breaststroke titles but it was McNamara who touched first in the 200m with a time of 2:30.75. Galway’s Andrew Moore won the men’s event in 2:20.99.
In the final event of the weekend Galway’s women (1:49.15) and Ards Men (1:33.27) won Gold in the 4x50m Freestyle Relays.
Grainne Murphy’s 400m Freestyle swim on Saturday secured her the “Larry Williamson Memorial Trophy” which is awarded for the Swim of the Meet. The trophy is awarded to the swimmer who swims closest to a World Record time over the three days of competition.