Sycerika McMahon rounded off an incredible four days of competition for the sixteen year-old, at the National Aquatic Centre during the Irish long course National Swimming Championships – claiming her ninth gold medal.
McMahon, who showed outstanding form in front of a home crowd this weekend swam a gutsy race against nineteen-year old Bethany Carson in the 200m Individual Medley to take the title from the Lisburn swimmer in 2.17.09. Not long after, McMahon was back in the pool and went on to win the splash and dash 50m freestyle event, against rivals and Olympians Aisling Cooney and Melanie Nocher in a nail biting finish. McMahon claimed her final gold of the evening and of the competition – her ninth overall National title – in the 100m butterfly, after setting a new Irish Junior record in that event the previous day.
The Portaferry teenager had already annexed 12 Golds and 2 Silvers in the Ulster Swimming Championships and took full advantage of Grainne Murphy’s absence. The latter decided to concentrate on her preparations for the 2012 World Championships according to coach Ronald Claes. McMahon at 16 still has time to make an even bigger impact and qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games as well as Grainne Murphy. Both are likely to dominate women’s swimming in Ireland for several years to come and fans will eagerly await their rivalry when the two meet ‘head to head’.
Dubliner Niall Wynn, who trains full time at the NAC-High Performance Centre in Dublin and is coached by Paul Donovan, continued his solid form shown earlier in the meet, by taking the 200m Individual Medley title from close rival Johnny Quinn (Dolphin). Earlier in the meet, Wynne broke the Irish senior record for the 400m Individual Medley held previously by double Olympian Andrew Bree.
Nicholas Quinn of Castlebar swimming club had an impressive performance in the 200m breaststroke final, clocking a 2.20.65 to win the National title which also qualifies him for this summer’s European Junior Championships in Serbia. St. Paul’s swimmer Phillip Duffy swam within 1% of the qualifying standard for the European Juniors in his premiere event, the100m butterfly final (55.95) and will be considered for selection onto the squad.