An incredible first morning at the Swim Ireland Irish National Team Trials at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus saw four swimmers go under the FINA A Olympic Consideration Times (OCT) for the Tokyo Games in July.
Daniel Wiffen, Mona McSharry, Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan all swam under the times in their respective events with Irish Senior Records also coming from Wiffen, McSharry and Greene.
Daniel Wiffen, in the first race of the morning, took an incredible 21 seconds off his best time in the 800m Freestyle to go under the FINA OCT by two seconds. Wiffen, who entered the meet with a best time of 8:13.72, touched in 7:52.68, inside the FINA OQT of 7:54.31. The 19-year-old, who trains in Loughborough University and swims for Larne Swimming Club, also knocked 13 seconds off the Irish Senior Record of 8:05.30 set by Andrew Meegan in 2013.
A delighted Wiffen commented
‘It’s probably the most nervous competition I’ve ever been to. I only managed to eat cereal for breakfast. I was thinking about it all day. I knew I had to be in and around 3:55 out on the 400m Free, so I wanted to be quite comfortable out. I kinda knew I went out the right time and towards the end I had a cheeky look at the clock on the last 50 to see where I was. I just got my head down then to get that time. It’s unbelievable – 19 and going to the Olympics. I am over the moon and I just have to thank my parents, my coaches and all of my friends for helping me get here.’
Irish Record holder in the 100m Breaststroke Mona McSharry clocked 1:06.97, to go under the FINA OCT of 1:07.07 in the event. The 21-year-old was just .03 of a second off the qualification time coming into the meet with a best time of 1:07.10, and with this morning’s swim she’s the first Irish swimmer under 67 seconds.
McSharry, of Marlins Swimming Club and Tennessee University is enjoying the moment, commenting
‘It’s still sinking in, but I am excited to go and jump around my apartment for a little while. Just, talk to my family and be happy about it – soak it all in and make sure that I am actually enjoying the moment. Sometimes you can forget to live in it for a minute, so I am definitely going to work on that today, because I have been striving for this for so long.
I was trying not to think about it this morning, which I’ve been doing the last three weeks. Just trying not to build it up so much in my head – it’s just another 100m Breaststroke and I’m just going to swim it. I had a set plan this morning and I have a very organised way that I do stuff to make sure I don’t have time to sit and worry about my race.
The first 50 felt really good. I could see Niamh (Coyne) beside me, so that was definitely pushing me on. When I turned, I could still see her there and I knew I would have to pick it up and really go for it. It definitely burned in the last 10m. At that point you just have to push through. I did have that wonder, does this burn and I’m not going fast enough, or is it because I’m pushing to new levels. It’s very hard to distinguish sometimes. You just have to push to the wall and see what the time is. I knew I was going to do it, and I knew I could do it, but it was still really nice to turn around and be surprised to see it on the board.’
Darragh Greene of National Centre Dublin, already under consideration time for Tokyo (59.93) in the 100m Breaststroke after a 59.82 at World Championships in 2019, dominated the race from start to finish, blasting a new Irish Senior Record of 59.76 in this morning’s heats to consolidate his position as Ireland’s top male Breaststroker. 19-year-old Eoin Corby has also put himself in contention for an OCT this evening after a personal best swim of 1:00.23. The National Centre Limerick swimmer needs to find just three tenths of a second to meet the time of 59.93.
In the 100m Backstroke Shane Ryan equalled the FINA OCT of 53.85. Ryan, who is already under consideration for the Tokyo Games after a swim of 53.73 at the Irish Open in 2019 was the clear winner ahead of Larne’s Conor Ferguson in 54.67. In the women’s heats Larne’s Danielle Hill swam an easy 1:03.07 and will no doubt be going for the FINA time of 1:00.25 in this afternoon’s second round.
The Men’s 200m Freestyle saw Jack McMillan top the heats with a time of 1:47.43 closely followed by Bangor team-mate Jordan Sloan in 1:48.43. McMillan has a best time of 1:47.10 and with the FINA OCT at 1:47.02, this evening’s race should be very exciting.
National Centre Dublin’s Cillian Melly and Brendan Hyland took the top two places in the 200m Butterfly, Melly getting the touch just ahead of Hyland (2:00.52) in 2:00.45. Hyland, the Irish Record holder in the event, will go for the OCT this afternoon needing to drop just .07 from his best time of 1:56.55.
In the Women’s 800m Freestyle Ards’ Amelia Kane knocked nine seconds off her best time to win the in 9:00.13. Kane will return to the water tomorrow for the final.
A further press release will issue after this evening’s events.
- The Trials are primarily open to Performance athletes currently training in recognised onshore training bubbles in the National Centre (Dublin) at the National Aquatic Centre, the National Centre (Limerick) at the University of Limerick and at Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex, as well as those identified athletes of similar standing who are living and training offshore.
- The competition will comprise of a full Olympic individual event programme with heats, semi-finals, and finals in all 50m, 100m and 200m events and heats and finals in 400m, 800m and 1500m events. It will give our top athletes several qualification opportunities and will provide some very exciting swims over the course of the meet.
- The meet will be live streamed on RTE Player and will be available to view worldwide.