A strong team of six has been announced to compete at the Paralympic Swimming (IPC) World Championships set to take place in Glasgow from July 13th – 19th.
The team, which is sponsored by Allianz, is made up of four previous Paralympians and two newcomers. Double Paralympians (Beijing 2008 & London 2012) Darragh McDonald and Ellen Keane are joined by fellow London Paralympians James Scully and Jonathan McGrath. Competing in their first World Championships are teenagers Ailbhe Kelly and Nicole Turner.
These Championships are a key milestone on the road to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games qualification. Swimmers who win gold and silver in their events earn automatic qualification slots for their country. For the others the highest possible finish is vital as the remaining slots are allocated based on world rankings in 2016.
Looking ahead to the Championships team manager Hayley Burke said; “We’ve just returned from a really positive and productive ten day warm weather camp in Fuerteventura. All the team worked exceptionally hard fine tuning final preparations there and are in good shape now heading into the Championships. The world’s best swimmers will all be in Glasgow and there’s no better chance for our athletes to benchmark themselves against them. Should they swim to their potential we are hopeful of making the podium and seeing some lifetime best swims.”
London 2012 gold medallist McDonald won 400m Freestyle gold at the 2013 World Championships but did not compete at last year’s European Championships due to surgery. He is currently ranked fourth going into that event this year but is hopeful he can improve on that placing in Glasgow.
Dubliner Ellen Keane who claimed two bronze medals at the 2013 World Championships is currently ranked third going into her best event; the 100m Breaststroke and fourth in her second ranked event the 200m Individual Medley. Fellow National Aquatic Centre club swimmer James Scully, who claimed two European bronze medals last year will be targeting his best performances in the 100m and 200 Freestyle. However, the top ranked swimmers in both of those events are outside of Europe so he will need to swim lifetime bests to be in with a chance of contesting the medals.
Clare athlete Jonathan McGrath swam a lifetime best to qualify for these Championships so will have to do the same again if he is to make the final in his best event; the 400m Freestyle. Sixteen year old Ailbhe Kelly is competing in her second major international having debuted at last year’s European Championships. Her best event is the 100m backstroke and she will be hoping to edge into that final. Thirteen year old Nicole Turner will be competing in her first major senior International Championships in Glasgow. Entered in six events it is a chance for her to gain invaluable experience at this level, and will be hoping to make a final in her best event; the 100m Breaststroke.
Over 580 athletes from nearly 70 countries will be competing at these Championships which are being staged at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre; scene of last year’s Commonwealth Games.
All the heats and finals will be shown live on www.glasgow2015.com
The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz; an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.
Irish team for 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, 13th-19th July, Glasgow
Ellen Keane, S9 class, NAC swim club, from Clontarf, Dublin 3
S9 Women’s 50m Freestyle
S9 Women’s 100 m Freestyle
SB8 Women’s 100 m Breaststroke
SM9 Women’s 200 m IM
S9 Women’s 100 m Backstroke
S9 Women’s 100 m Butterfly
Ailbhe Kelly, S8 class, NAC swim club, from Castleknock, Dublin 15
S8 Women’s 400m Freestyle
S8 Women’s 100m Backstroke
S8 Women’s 100m Freestyle
James Scully, S5 class, NAC swim club, from Ratoath, Co. Meath
S5 Men’s 100m Freestyle
S5 Men’s 200m Freestyle
S5 Men’s 50m Freestyle
S5 Men’s 50m Backstroke
Jonathan McGrath, S8, Limerick High Performance Swim team, from Killaloe, Co.Clare
S8 Men’s 100m Backstroke
S8 Men’s 400m Freestyle
Darragh McDonald, S6, UCD Swim team, from Gorey, Co.Wexford
S6 400m Freestyle
S6 100m Freestyle
S6 50m Freestyle
Nicole Turner, S6, Laois Marlins Swim team, from Portlaoise, Co.Laois
S6 50m Freestyle
200m Individual Medley
Jim Laverty, National Coach
Hayley Burke, Team Manager
Mary Seery, Team support
Alan Swanton, Performance Analyst
Jon Faulkner, Physiotherapist
Ciara Sinnott O’Connor, Physiologist