McDonald has already won a gold medal for Team Ireland. INPHO/Ian McNicol

Paralympics 2012: McDonald into final, Baldwin misses out despite PB

Meanwhile, James Dwyer has placed sixth in the individual freestyle test – grade IV.

IRISH SWIMMER DARRAGH McDonald has qualified for the 50m freestyle S6 Paralympic final, after finishing third in his heat this morning.

McDonald, who has already won gold in the 400m Freestyle, recorded a time of 33.15 – a new personal best for the swimmer.

And following the race, McDonald said: “A .2 second PB, I’m happy it was enough to make the final and there’s room for improvement later on.”

He will now compete again at 5.45pm this evening.

Elsewhere, James Dwyer, who has also won a medal already, was sixth in the individual freestyle test – grade IV.

Riding his horse Orlando, he recorded a score of 74.400.

However, it ultimately wasn’t enough, as Belgium’s Michele George, Britain’s Sophie Wells and Frank Hosmar of the Netherlands all finished ahead of him, taking gold, silver and bronze respectively.

Speaking after the event, Equestrian team manager Dara Kearney said: “I was very pleased with James Dwyer’s performance. James rode superbly achieving a personal best.  He gave it everything, had no wrong moves and the score speaks for itself.”

In addition, Sean Baldwin placed 18th out of 49 competitors in the mixed R6-50m rifle prone-SH1.

It was Baldwin’s best performance of the Paralympics, as he recorded a personal best of 585.

However, the Irish athlete narrowly missed out on a place in the eight-man final by a margin of four marks, and afterwards, he said: “I’m happy with that performance in tricky conditions.  I was aiming for 590 as I reckoned that would be the qualifying mark for the final but I am satisfied with the PB and I am well set up for my final competition tomorrow”.

Finally, James McCarthy came 13th in this morning’s Shot Put F57/58 competition Final, with a throw of 10.70.

After he finished, McCarthy said that the experience of competing in his second Paralympics had been a positive one overall.

“I think in the first put, I may have had a rush of blood to the head. For the second one I needed to relax and start doing what I had been doing in training. For the third one I just went for it and that was my best throw. It was a dream come true to be back here sixteen years after my last games in Atlanta and to have my family here to see it.”

At 4pm today, Irish silver medallist Helen Kearney and Geraldine Savage take part in the Individual Freestyle Test – Grade Ia, while Ray O’Dwyer and Orla Barry participate in the Shot Put F34 Final and Discus Throw F57/58 Final respectively, from approximately 7pm.

Read: Paralympic Breakfast: Kearney bids for more glory>

Read: President congratulates magnificent McKillop on double gold>

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