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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

'The best moment of my career': James Scully smashes personal best in Paralympic final

The Meath swimmer held his own amongst the world’s best.

Image: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

– Ryan Bailey reports from the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Rio de Janeiro 

AN EXPERIENCE TO savour and treasure for the rest of his life, Ireland’s James Scully smashed his personal best to finish sixth in the final of tonight’s 200m freestyle.

The 23-year-old produced a superb swim at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium as Brazil’s golden boy Daniel Dias delivered in-front of an expectant, and partisan, home crowd.

Scully, who stormed out of Thursday’s heats, once again showed his ability to compete on this exalted stage as he matched his closest rivals stride-for-stride as he tussled for fifth to eighth position.

Turning at the halfway mark in seventh, the Meath swimmer finished strongly, feeding off the deafening noise coming down from the stands, to clock a time of 2:51.45.

It meant he finished one place worse than London four years ago but in quick race, Scully couldn’t hide his delight afterwards as he stopped in the mixed zone with the tricolour draped around him.

“It’s just amazing – a personal best, to finish with a lifetime performance is just brilliant,” Scully, who became the first Paralympian to be shown live on RTÉ television, said.

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Day 1

Source: Paul Mohan/ SPORTSFILE

"I have won medals at Europeans and I really embraced those moments but to get here, get a personal best and get a top eight in the world is the best. This is the best moment in my career so far.

"This atmosphere has never happened before in my category and to have race that's so fast, I'm absolutely thrilled.

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"All the people back home, every single person who has supported me along the way thank you so much and I'm here representing the whole island of Ireland and having those millions of people behind me that's what drives me.

"This is a moment I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, it's so brilliant to be here and have the opportunity to be here. I'm over the moon."

And he's not finished just yet with a return to the pool on Monday for the 50m freestyle heats.

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Follow The42′s coverage of the Paralympic Games from Rio here.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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