All three Irish swimmers in action at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Glasgow this evening finished eighth in their respective finals, with James Scully and Nicole Turner posting new lifetime bests in the process.
In the final of the SM6 200m Individual Medley Nicole Turner shaved almost half a second off the massive best she set in qualifying this morning. This was the thirteen year old’s fifth final in as many days and impressively she has set a new PB in each of her five events so far at these Championships, making for a memorable debut. The final itself was won in a huge new World record of 3:01.02 by London 2012 star Ellie Simmonds of Great Britain. Turner will have a well-deserved day off tomorrow returning on Sunday for her final event; the 100m Freestyle.
London Paralympian Ellen Keane also finished eighth in the S9 Women’s 100m Butterfly event in 1:12.96, just marginally outside of the season’s best time she produced in qualifying this morning. The final was won by Tully Kearney of Great Britain in 1:09.04. Keane will be back in the pool on Sunday for her final event; the SM9 200m Individual Medley.
Fellow London 2012 Paralympian James Scully was the last Irish athlete in final action this evening racing in the S5 Men’s 50m Freestyle. Also taking eighth place Scully produced his second lifetime best of the day taking .08 seconds off the mark he set in this morning’s heat. The final was won by the ever dominant reigning Paralympic champion Daniel Dias of Brazil in 32:71.
Speaking after the race twenty one year old Scully said; “I’m happy with my PBs today and as the week progresses my performances are getting better. I had expected to go faster in my main event; the 200m Freestyle, but unfortunately it just didn’t happen. I’m looking forward to the 100m Freestyle on Sunday though.”
Irish team manager Hayley Burke added: “Today was another good day with three of our swimmers progressing to finals. Nicole just keeps impressing and Ailbhe really stepped up to get that Rio 2016 standard.”
Two Irish swimmers are in action tomorrow. London 2012 Paralympian Jonathan McGrath will race in the heats of the S8 Men’s 100m Backstroke at 11.03am. Dublin teenager Ailbhe Kelly will follow him at 11.06am in the heats of the S8 Women’s 100m Backstroke.
Bronze medallist Darragh McDonald will race in his final event on Sunday; the 100m Freestyle.
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.