Ian MacNicol/INPHO Daniel Wiffen.
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Daniel Wiffen sets new European record for 800 metres freestyle
The Co Down swimmer’s time is just 2.5 seconds off the world record.

Updated at 16.13

IRISH SWIMMER DANIEL Wiffen has set a new European record in the 800 metres freestyle at the Irish National Winter Championships in Dublin. 

Wiffen won the race in a time of 7:25.96, which is only 2.5 seconds off a world record set by Grant Hackett in 2008.

The achievement, which is subject to ratification by the European Governing Body LEN, saw the 21-year-old distance star eclipse the previous record set in 2021 by Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri (7:27.94).

Wiffen also secured what is the fourth-fastest swim of all time in this event in the short course pool.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “I’m very happy, it’s obviously a very fast time and number one in the World [this year]. I knew that I’d be sub 7.30 and I was aiming for a top ten in the World, I think that puts me fourth, but I said quietly I’d go for a European record to all my friends in Loughborough, I’m really happy.

“The 1500m was my main focus for the meet [last weekend] and I knew that since I was going to Irish I would do the 800m and 400m there because I thought the 800m could be my quickest, my better event and it’s what I qualified in the Olympics for, and it was nice to get a home crowd watching that.”

The Loughborough University swimmer also registered a new 400m Freestyle Irish Record, with a time of 3:41.63, which beat the previous record of 3:42.42.

In recent weeks, Wiffen has broken the Irish record in the 800m Freestyle three times.

In addition, at the Scottish Short Course Championships, the youngster swam a 1500m Irish record of 14:14.45, leaving him sixth in the world, and the fastest man in 2022.

He returns to the pool on Saturday for the 400m Freestyle Heats while the Irish National Winter Championships continue this evening.

The Co Down man previously competed in the men’s 800-metre freestyle and 1500-metre freestyle at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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