Irish Paralympic swimmers Nicole Turner and Ellen Keane were certainly flying the flag high for their country this evening as they took part in the finals of their events on Day 6 of the IPC European Open Swim Championships.
Dubliner Keane was first to compete for Ireland just after 5pm this evening, when she hit the pool for the final of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8. The event marked Keane’s last swim at the Championships, and she touched home in a time of 1.25.67, an improvement on her heat time of 1.27.54.
Speaking afterwards she stated: “It was a bit of a disappointing time, but being realistic, I came into this Championships with a bit of fatigue, but it was great race practice. I had a better race than this morning.
“Once college is over I will be able to focus completely on swimming so I can’t wait for that. The support from home is brilliant, and my parents came over to watch me swim – as they always do!”
Meanwhile, Laois student Nicole Turner was the pride of her county and country as well this evening when she swam yet another phenomenal Personal Best time in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S6 final to tip home in a brilliant time of 5.53.59, in a race that saw Ukranian swimmer, Yelyzaveta Mereshko break the World and European records by four seconds.
“I’m very tired after that,” Turner said afterwards. “It’s been a busy week for me, I’ve had five heats and five finals so I really need my rest. I have the 50m Butterfly tomorrow, I really love that event so I’m looking forward to it.
“It feels good to be going home with medals and PBs, everyone at home has been really supportive – I couldn’t have done it without them,” she finished.
Earlier on today during the heats, 14-year-old Barry McClements secured another fantastic PB in Heat 1 of the Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB8 when he tipped home in a time of 1.34.54. Elsewhere, Clare man Jonathan McGrath was up next in Heat 2 of the same event (Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB8) and also achieved a brilliant Personal Best time of 1.45.80.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 7th, is the final day of the IPC European Open Swim Championships in Funchal, Madeira. Turner, McClements, McGrath and Ailbhe Kelly will all be in action for Ireland.
The Irish swim team is proudly sponsored by Allianz, an official sponsor of Paralympics Ireland.