Andrea Staccioli/INPHO

Daniel Wiffen completes European gold medal double with sensational time

The 22-year-old spent the first 1,000 metres under world-record pace before clocking the third-fastest time in history.

DANIEL WIFFEN CONTINUED his rise as one of the world’s most promising swimmers as he claimed a second European title with the third-fastest time in history in the final of the 1500m Freestyle at the European Aquatics Short Course Championships in Otopeni, Romania.

In a thrilling final, where the 22-year-old spent the first 1,000 metres under world-record pace, he eventually came home just outside it in 14:09.11, the third-fastest time in history after Germany’s Florian Wellbrock (14:06.88) and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrineiri (14:08.16).

The Magheralin man finished the race an incredible 12 seconds ahead of his closest competitors, David Aubry (14:21.78) of France and Mykhailo Romanchuk (14:22.18) of Ukraine.

It was Wiffen’s second gold medal of the competition after he won 400m Freestyle gold on Tuesday, his time over five seconds faster than his Irish record of 14:14.45.

“It’s a great time,” said an overjoyed Wiffen.

“I knew I was going fast as I took it out fast, and I just wanted to see how long I could hold on.

“I got to the 500m and I was really feeling it. It definitely hurt but I expected to be that fast building on from the 400m title.

“I guess I’m just taking loads of confidence from this and hopefully will bring it back and convert it into long course.”

Adding to the history of the race, Ireland were represented by twins for the first time in a European final as Daniel’s brother Nathan made his final debut.

Nathan swam a personal best time of 14:38.75 to finish eighth overall.

“I got to the first 1,000 and thought I’m hurting a bit here but I’d told my coach I wanted to go out with the pack,” he said.

“You’ve got to learn to stick with them in the 1500m because that’s how the race goes so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Daniel and Nathan will be back in the pool on Saturday in the heats of the 800m Freestyle, an event in which Daniel is the European record holder.

Danielle Hill put in another fantastic performance in the 50m Backstroke semi-final and was just on the Irish record of 26.59 that she had set in this morning’s heats, clocking 26.62 to finish fourth in her heat and sixth overall to progress to tomorrow’s final.

Speaking after the race, Hill said, “It’s nice to be on the right side of it this time and I can now look forward to the 100m (backstroke heats) tomorrow and carrying a little bit of that speed into it.

“I’m excited and I just want to get going again.”

Hill will be back in action tomorrow morning in the heats of the 100m Backstroke ahead of the 50m Backstroke final in the evening.

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