The Irish Long Course Swimming Championships got underway today at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin. This is the main swimming competition in the calendar and represents the last opportunity in Ireland to qualify for the major summer competitions such as the World Championships and World University Games.
2008 Beijing Olympian Aisling Cooney broke the Irish senior 100m Backstroke record in the semi-final of the event. Cooney broke her own record of 1:02.24 by .37 of a second just .17 of a second off the qualifying time for the World Championships. Cooney swims in the final tomorrow.
There was also great excitement in the final of the Women’s 200m Freestyle, which featured a top class line up including 2008 Olympian Melanie Nocher, Leander’s Sycerika McMahon, Nuala Murphy (Trojan), Niamh O’Sullivan (UCD) and Bethany Carson (Lisburn). Sycerika McMahon, who has already qualified for the European Junior LC Championships in Belgrade won the event breaking the Irish Junior record she had previously held in a time of 2:00.79, followed closely by Melanie Nocher 2:01.35 (Ards ASC) and Niamh O’Sullivan (2:03.52) of UCD SC. McMahon also took gold in the Women’s 200m Butterfly final (2:15.82) and just minutes later added another for a hat trick of gold by touching in in 1st place in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke final.
In the men’s 1500m Freestyle final Leander ASC swimmer Conor Donnelly (16:09.35) took the first gold medal of the competition. Conor Turner (16:12.13 Aer Lingus SC), who has already booked his place to Belgrade, finished in second place. In the women’s event HPC UL and Trojan swimmer Nuala Murphy (17:19.13) took first place.
Today also saw a number of swimmers meet the consideration standards for various meets this Summer including Brian O’Sullivan, Brendan Gibbons and David O’Sullivan who all met the standard for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Trabzon, Turkey. O’Sullivan of NAC SC made the time in the Men’s 100m Backstroke this morning in a time of 59.83. Athlone’s Brendan Gibbons qualified in the 1500m Freestyle competition whilst David O’Sullivan qualified in the men’s 200m Butterfly. Jane Roberts, Kilkenny SC met the standard for the European Junior Championships in the Women’s 100m Backstroke.
The competition continues tomorrow Friday until Sunday evening (1st May).