Ireland’s Ailbhe Kelly was flying the tricolour high in Funchal, Portugal this evening as she took to the pool in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S8 final.
The Castleknock star secured her place in the final earlier on this morning after swimming a Personal Best in the heats in a time of 1.19.03. While the rest of the team celebrated her brilliant time in the heats, Ailbhe had other things on her mind and went on to smash her new Personal Best in the final of the same event later this evening in a time of 1.18.84 to finish in fifth place overall in an event that was won by Russian swimmer Vladykina.
Speaking afterward, Kelly was over the moon with her performance: “I am so happy,” she said. “I really wanted to go under 1.19 especially after this morning, I’ve been wanting to do it pretty much all year, and to do it this evening was incredible.” (You can listen to the full interview below).
She will swim in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S8 heats tomorrow.
Elsewhere throughout the first day of the International Para European Open Swim Championships, three other Irish swimmers were in action, with newcomer, Barry McClements taking to the pool first in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S9 heats. The talented 14-year-old, who was making his debut at this level, secured a fantastic Personal Best, finishing the event in a time of 30.07.
Up next, Dubliner Ellen Keane took to the pool in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S9 heats, and finished in 31.24. Last of the heats saw Jonathan McGrath secure a Season’s Best in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S8, with a time of 1.07.73.