By Ray McMenamin in Tampere
McMahon swam 4:16.00 in the girls’ 400m freestyle to finish second behind Charlotte Bonnet of France. The time is also a new Irish junior record, more than a second faster than the previous mark set recently by Gráinne Murphy at the European Junior Championships in Prague.
Despite this, McMahon, who turned 14 last April, showed she has a winning mentality and confessed that silver wasn’t the medal she wanted. “I suppose I’m disappointed with silver, it’s second best, and everyone wants to be number one,” she said. “I’ll save it for another race, I guess,” she added.
McMahon has a full schedule this week, competing in many disciplines including the 200m butterfly and both the 200m and 400m individual medley
There was also a good day in the pool for the two other Irish swimmers in action. Jordan Sloan improved his personal best in the boys’ 100m freestyle. He clocked a sub-54 second mark for the first time in his career, coming home in 53.95 seconds.
Also swimming a new PB was Nicholas Quinn, who did it not just once but twice yesterday in the boys’ 200m individual medley. He took seven tenths off his best while qualifying for the ‘B’ final, and improved by another two tenths in the final. His PB now stands at 2:13.01 and he is the 15th best swimmer of his age in the event in Europe, although his time would have been good enough to come 7th in the final proper.
Coach Bobby Madine was very happy with the performance of his charges. “They’re swimming in a positive frame of mind and hopefully it will be a very successful week for Swim Ireland,” he said, adding “We’re very pleased with their performances and we hope they’ll continue on.”
Day One was also a good day for the Track & Field athletes, with four of the five competitors progressing to the next stage despite adverse weather conditions. Joan Healy qualified for today’s girls’ 100m final. She ran 11.95 yesterday, finishing third in her heat and progressing as a fastest loser. There was very little time between all of the qualifiers for the final. Healy knows this could stand to her. “It’s anyone’s race, it’s going to be a blanket finish and it’s down to my dip really,” she said.
Also progressing to finals were Cathríona Farrell in the girls’ high jump which concludes today and Paul Scanlan in the boys’ 400m which takes place tomorrow. Adam Ingram is through to the semifinals of the boys’ 800m, while Caoimhe King was unfortunate to miss out on a 12-person final – she ranked unlucky 13th.
Coach Karen Mills was happy with the team’s performance. “I’m absolutely delighted, everyone performed well in desperate conditions and showed true grit and determination,” she said. It was also a good day for team spirit with many of the athlete not competing coming along to support their teammates,” she added.