Ellen and Eva Walshe. Bryan Keane/INPHO
Swim Ireland

Five Irish swimmers have now secured Olympic qualification times

Danielle Hill and Tom Fannon joined Daniel Wiffen, Ellen Walshe and Mona McSharry as individual qualifiers.

THE IRISH OPEN Irish Open Championships and Olympic Trials concluded on Sunday evening with five individuals now having secured Olympic qualification times across nine events.

This week, Danielle Hill and Tom Fannon joined Daniel Wiffen, Ellen Walshe and Mona McSharry as individual qualifiers. Ireland have also qualified a Women’s and a Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay with selection to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Across five days, four Olympic qualification times were achieved from Hill, Fannon and Walshe. Twenty-two swimmers achieved consideration times for the European Championships in Serbia in June, while seven Irish Senior and eight Irish Junior Records were set.

Swim Ireland performance director Jon Rudd said: ‘“After what has arguably been the best five days of domestic swimming racing that this island has seen, we can all feel highly satisfied with where Irish swimming is right now.

World Aquatics raised the bar quite considerably after Tokyo 2021 as to what it takes to be an Olympian, and we have a group of athletes who responded to this – some making the grade, and some agonisingly close – the smallest of margins – with seven Irish senior records and eight Irish junior records written and re-written across these days, the moments that matter.”

On Sunday, Shane Ryan once again came close to the Olympic qaulification time of 48.34 in the 100m Freestyle Final. Swimming in front of a packed National Aquatic Centre, Ryan swam 48.66, just outside the Irish Record of 48.49 he swam on Saturday. Ryan claimed gold ahead of Evan Bailey (49.58), who set a new Irish Junior Record of 49.40 in the event on Saturday, and 100m Butterfly Champion Max McCusker (49.98).
In the Men’s 1500m Freestyle Final Nathan Wiffen swam a 14-second lifetime best to blow away the rest of the field.

nathan-wiffen Nathan Wiffin Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Wiffen had entered the competition with a best time of 15:21.11 and lowered that to 15:06.48 to win the national title in a new Championship Record (15:07.07) and consideration time for the European Championships. The 22-year-old was just outside the Olympic qualification Time of 15:00.99. Second place went to National Centre Limerick’s Denis O’Brien with Sean Bugler of Sundays Well claiming bronze in 16:41.50.

In the Women’s 50m Backstroke Final Danielle Hill came close to breaking her own 50m Backstroke Irish Record. Hill, who has qualified for the Paris Games in the 50m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke, was just one hundredth of a second off the 27.64 she swam at the Ulster Championships three weeks ago, touching in 27.65 to win the national title. UCD’s Jena Macdougald was the silver medallist in 29.03 with bronze going to 100m and 200m Champion Lottie Cullen of National Centre Ulster in 29.43.

Ellen Walshe, who secured an Olympic qualification time in this morning’s heats of the 400m Individual Medley in 4:38.05, cruised to victory in this evening’s final in 4.43.62. Templeogue’s Walshe was followed home by Limerick’s Hannah O’Connor in 5:06.70 and European Juniors qualifier Niamh Connery of Shark (5:12.65). Walshe’s younger sister Eva was also competing in the final, finishing sixth in 5:21.57.

John Shortt claimed his second national title of the week, adding 50m Backstroke gold to the 200m gold he won on Saturday night. Shortt clocked 25.80 ahead of Coolmine’s Gavin Keogh (26.11) and NAC’s Matthew Walsh Hussey (26.33).

Banbridge’s Adam Wilson claimed his first national title in the Men’s 400m Medley Final. Wilson clocked 4:38.40 ahead of New Ross’ Emmet Cousins (4:43.42) and Kilkenny’s Leonardo Reis (4:44.76).

The smallest of margins separated Victoria Catterson and Grace Davison in a great battle in the 200m Freestyle Final. Catterson, of National Centre Dublin, got the touch in 2:00.62, just one hundredth of a second ahead of Ards’ Davison in 2:00.63. National Centre Limerick’s Maria Godden was third in 2:04.95.

Earlier in the evening Davison had won gold and the national title in the 50m Freestyle. The 16-year-old won in 26.02 ahead of UCD’s Jena Macdougald and Sundays Wells’ Eva Harrington (26.78).

In the 200m Butterfly National Centre Limerick’s Jack Cassin was the only swimmer under the two-minute mark. Cassin secured a European Championships consideration time of 1:59.84 ahead of his teammate Brogan McAviney (2:04.28) and Glenalbyn’s Sean Donnellan (2:07.18).

Eoin Corby and Darragh Greene went head-to head for the national title in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke. Corby, of National Centre Limerick, got the touch in 2:11.37, just ahead of National Centre Dublin’s Greene in 2:11.95. ESB’s Jack Kelly won bronze in 2:13.11. Corby and Kelly were once again under the consideration time for the European Championships.

In the Women’s 200m Breaststroke Final Ellie McCartney won her second gold medal, adding to 200m Individual Medley gold from earlier in the week. McCartney of National Centre Limerick touched in a European Championships consideration time of 2:29.20 ahead of National Centre Dublin’s Niamh Coyne (2:30.46) and Limerick’s Olwyn Cooke (2:32.70).

Holly McInerney, who won 1500m Freestyle silver and 400m Freestyle bronze, completed her collection of medals with gold in the 800m Freestyle Final. The Templeogue swimmer touched in 9:16.34 ahead of Bangor’s Eva Hand (9:21.09) and Kilkenny’s Nessa Godden (9:25.62).

Winner in the 200m Individual Medley, Lachey Reed of Bangor added the 50m Breaststroke Title on Sunday. Reed clocked 29.05, just one hundredth of a second ahead of Terenure’s Liam O’Connor in 29.06, while London 2012 Olympian and Guinness SC swimmer Barry Murphy was third in 29.87.

In the Women’s 50m Breaststroke Final Sunday’s Wells’ Isabelle Kidney topped the podium in 32.31, Portmarnock’s Ava Jones was second in 32.37 with National Centre Limerick’s Eimear Doyle third in 32.52.

The final event of the Championships, the 50m Butterly, saw Dylan Registe claim the men’s title in 24.61 ahead of Ennis’ Dylan O’Brien (25.17) and NAC’s Isaac Fitzmaurice (25.23) while in the women’s final Ards’ Emma Reid and UCD’s Jena Macdougald shared gold with both touching in 27.92. National Centre Limerick’s Lucy O’Brien was third in 28.48.

2024 Paris Olympic Games qualification time achieved:

Daniel Wiffen (400m, 800m, 1500m Freestyle)

Ellen Walshe (200m, 400m IM)

Mona McSharry (100m Breaststroke)

Danielle Hill (50m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke)

Tom Fannon (50m Freestyle)

Women 4x100m Medley Relay, Men 4x100m Medley Relay*
* Two Olympic Qualification Times (OQT) are required from the team in order to confirm the Olympic place when invited


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