Ireland’s teenage swimming sensation Nicole Turner is through to another final after an impressive swim in the morning heats of the S6 400m Freestyle at the Rio Aquatic Centre. On the back of six races already at these Games it was a big ask for the 14-year-old to put in a big performance today, but she did not disappoint, swimming a 1.4 second lifetime best time to secure her place in tonight’sFinal.
The Laois Marlins club swimmer touched in a time of 5:51.99 taking over a second off her previous best of 5:53.39 and finishing in fourth place in her heat and sixth overall. She was delighted with the result commenting “I’m really happy with that, I went in and didn’t know if I’d PB. I thought I’d get two or three seconds around it, to get in the Final, I thought it would be a fight, but I’m in it now so I’m really happy. The swim was great, so I’m chuffed with that, hopefully I can come back tonight and give it more.”
World Record holder in the S6 400m Freestyle Yelyzaveta Mareshko dominated the heats and will be the fastest qualifier for tonight’s final in 5:25.27.
Also in action today, Ailbhe Kelly concluded her first Paralympic Games with a fine performance in the S8 100m Backstroke Heats. The 17-year-old, who will turn 18 at the Games Closing Ceremony on Sunday, clocked 1:29.48 to finish sixth in her heat and 16th overall. Kelly has enjoyed her first Games experience and is looking forward to Tokyo 2020: “It’s been amazing, it’s not like anything else, it’s completely different competing on this level to anything including World Championships, it’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to relaxing for the rest of the week now and cheering on the other swimmers in their events. I’m already looking forward (to Tokyo); the last four years have been amazing.”
Meanwhile in shooting there was disappointment for Dungannon shooter Philip Eaglesham, who finished 30th in the qualifying round of the SH2 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone on his Paralympic debut.
Only the top eight from a field of 34 men and women made the final and Eaglesham’s opening string of 103.7 immediately put him under pressure. He followed that with improved and consistent rounds of 105.4, 105.5 and 105.5 to lie in 20th place, giving himself a decent shot of making it with two rounds to go. However, his concentration then faltered and his two final rounds of 103.2 and 103.5 left him on 626.3 points, well short of the 634.1 that made it to the final in a sport of tiny margins.
“I’m happy that I got here and competed but not happy with my overall performance,” Eaglesham said after the competition. “At the end of the day maybe I beat myself or the occasion beat me but, for only starting international competition last October I’m not even a year in and can’t be that upset in one way.”
“A bit of fatigue and lack of concentration affected me and probably the whole occasion itself,” he admitted. “The whole Paralympic experience has been absolutely amazing and experience is what I lacked here but, by the time it comes around again in four years’ time, I hope I’ll be a lot more competitive. Right now I’d like to do it all again but I only had one shot at it today,” he added.”
At the Sailing venue in Marina da Gloria, due to light wind conditions, the Irish Sonar Sailing team finished in 13th position today to leave them 12th overall. More to follow.