Ellen Keane ensured the Irish team finished the Paralympic Swimming World Championships on a real high tonight setting a new lifetime best to win bronze in the 200m Individual Medley final (SM9). Nicole Turner and James Scully both set new lifetime bests finishing seventh and eighth in their respective finals.
London 2012 Paralympian Keane raced out of her skin to claw back from fourth at the final turn to overcome Madeline Scott of Australia right at the finish and snatch the much coveted bronze medal in 2:40.31, almost 0.2 of a second quicker than her mark this morning. Having missed out on a medal in this event at last year’s European Championships finishing fourth, this result demonstrates the progress Keane has made in that time with five of the finalists tonight from outside of Europe. The final was won in a new European record of 2:31.08 by Tully Kearney of Great Britain, with Ping Lin of China taking bronze in 2:38.91.
Speaking ahead of the medal presentation a delighted Keane said: “I’m still in shock! I didn’t think I got third! I looked at the clock and registered my time and was happy with my PB, then saw the ‘3’ and couldn’t believe it! I’m just so delighted and especially for my parents after dressing up in their Irish suits all week!”
Irish team manager Hayley Burke said; “What a finish to a brilliant week. For Nicole six from six finals in her first ever major championships is class! For James Scully to PB in such a tough final has topped his week off on a high. Ellen was just so calm and in control going into that race and it all went right for her. She thoroughly deserved that medal after the year she has put in. Credit to her coach Dave Malone.”
Irish national coach Jim Laverty added: “We started the week on a high with bronze and three PB’s on day one! And we finished the week with another bronze and three PBs!”
Earlier on thirteen year old Nicole Turner finished seventh in the final of the 100m Freestyle (S6). The young athlete set yet another lifetime best in the process; 1:21.09, taking almost .03 seconds off the time she set in this morning’s heat. In this her debut World Championships Turner has shone making the final for every one of her six events this week, and even more impressively setting a new lifetime best in each. Showing what a competitive class it is with standards soaring the final won in new world record of 1:12.21 by Ukrainian Yelyzaveta Mereshko.
The final Irish athlete in action at these Championships was twenty one year old James Scully. The London Paralympian finished eighth in the final of the hugely competitive 100m Freestyle (S5) but notably set a big new lifetime best in the process of 1:21.18. Meath based Scully will be particularly pleased with his performance as his previous best of 1:21.66 has stood since the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The Irish team return home tomorrow to Dublin Airport on flight EI3557, due to arrive into Terminal 2 at 7pm.
The Irish team is proudly sponsored by Allianz; an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.