Irish teenager Nicole Turner swam superbly to finish sixth in the S6 50m Freestyle Final at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Glasgow this evening. In a final that was won in a new world record time of 34.14 by Yelyzaveta Mereshko of Ukraine, the thirteen year old, from Portarlington in County Laois, swam just 03. of a second out of the massive PB she set in qualifying this morning. This was Turner’s fourth final in as many days in this her first major championships in which she is excelling. In a fiercely competitive final Great Britain’s Ellie Simmonds, who took bronze in this event at London 2012 was just one place and 0.7 of a second ahead of Turner in fifth.
Speaking after the final a beaming Turner said; “I’m proud of all of my swims so far, and I’m really looking forward to the last two events!”
Also commenting on the thirteen year old’s performance was Irish team manager Hayley Burke; “Nicole has just blown us away with her performances this this week. She’s really lifted the whole team and is completely unfazed by this world stage that she’s now on!”
Tomorrow will be the busiest day of the Championships for the Irish team with five of the six strong team in action. Ellen Keane will be looking forward to second best event; the 100m Butterfly, the heats are on 11.16am. Jonathan McGrath will make his first appearance at these Championships tomorrow in his leading event; the 400m Freestyle. James Scully will also be back in action racing in the heats of the S5 50m Freestyle. Ailbhe Kelly will race in her second event the S8 400m Freestyle and Nicole Turner will be back to race for the fifth day in a row in the SM6 200m Individual Medley.
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.