Swimming is proving itself to the fore across key areas of equality and diversity this week as the Irish Open Swimming Championships continue at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus.
Ireland’s top swimmers are in action across five days competing for 36 National Titles. We are used to seeing men and women competing at the same Championships but what we especially like about this is that Para swimmers are also competing.
Wednesday saw six new National Champions crowned and three new Irish Records. 12 swimmers also achieved times that will put them in consideration for selection to Major European and World Championships taking place throughout 2019.
Jack McMillan got proceedings underway with an Irish Senior Record in the 400m Freestyle. The Bangor swimmer broke Andrew Meegan’s 2013 Record of 3:54.11, touching in 3:53.31, he was the only swimmer to break 4 minutes. McMillan’s Bangor teammate Rachel Bethel took the women’s title for the fourth year running in 4:20.51.
The Men’s 100m Breaststroke was the race of the night with outstanding performances from a number of swimmers. National Centre Dublin’s Darragh Greene went under the minute mark for just the second time in 59.98 for gold in a new Championship Record. Greene had already secured consideration for the World Championships in July. Rio 2016 Olympian Nicholas Quinn swam a speedy 1:00.98, just off his best time of 1:00.95 and looks to be in great form ahead of his main event tomorrow, the 200m Breaststroke.
National Centre Limerick’s Eoin Corby, who swam three Irish Junior Records last month, completed the podium with a new Irish Junior Record of 1:02.01, the 16-year-old had first posted a record of 1:02.35 in heats, his efforts good enough to be considered for both World and European Junior Championships this Summer. Corby’s team mate at NCL, Uiseann Cooke, was also under the European Juniors time in 1:02.81.
In the Women’s Breaststroke Final, 17-year-old Niamh Coyne clocked an impressive 1:07.94, the National Centre Dublin swimmer finished over two seconds ahead of her closest competitor, Scotland’s Hannah Miley (1:10.24) with Aer Lingus’ Aisling Haughey third in 1:10.61. Templeogue’s Molly Mayne secured a European Youth Olympic Festival consideration time in the morning heats touching in 1:11.55.
16-year-old Otter SC swimmer Jena Macdougald shocked herself when she set a new Irish Record in the 50m Butterfly, the 100m Backstroke specialist set her first Irish Junior Record in the morning heats in 27.07 and went on to take silver in the Final in 27.30, just .01 behind Templeogue’s Ellen Walshe (27.29) who took the National Title. Cookstown’s Calum Bain secured the Men’s 50m Butterfly Title in 24.28.
Ireland’s Para Swimmers were in top form during the morning session with six achieving consideration times for this Summer’s World Para Swimming Championships. Dublin 2018 medallists Ellen Keane and Nicole Turner went under in the 100m Breaststroke while Sean O’Riordan, Patrick Flanagan, Barry McClements and Ailbhe Kelly all hit their times in the 400m Freestyle.
The Irish Open Swimming Championships continue until Sunday.