Irish swimmers will feature in three finals on the penultimate day of the Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield this evening after Ellen Keane, Nicole Turner and Barry McClements all advanced impressively from heats this morning.
These World Series races are being run as multi class so athletes from different classes are racing in the same heats, and finals, with placings determined on a points system.
Fourteen-year-old Turner goes into tonight’s 50m Butterfly final ranked third having touched in an impressive time of 37.85sec. The Rio Paralympian may be hopeful of snatching a place on the podium in what is set to be a competitive race.
Paralympic bronze medallist Keane swam close to her best progressing ranked fourth for the 100m Butterfly final securing 814 points with a time of 1:11.45. Keane claimed silver in this event at the inaugural World Series in Copenhagen but there are almost three times the number of swimmers at this meet.
Fifteen year old McClements will take to the blocks in the 50m Butterfly final after a time of 1:05.38 saw him qualify ranked 9th of over 90 swimmers contesting this event. The Ards swimmer also qualified for the final of the 100m Backstroke but team management withdrew him to focus on the Butterfly.
Nineteen year old Patrick Flanagan, who races with UCD, also contested the heats of the 100m Backstroke but finished outside of a top twenty place needed to advance to the finals.
McClements, Keane and Turner have all also qualified for a fun event this evening known as SKINS. SKINS event is by invite only with invitees are selected by the top eight place finishes from the heats of the 200m Individual Medley (IM) for the S5-S13 classes.
SKINS event comprises of seven 50m sprints on a four-minute interval. Each round the swimmer with the lowest points is eliminated. As it’s a medley event, the strokes per 50m will be randomly selected just before the swim, so swimmers won’t know what stroke they’re swimming until they race! With a medley event, every swimmer has their weak points so it’s anyone’s event.
Explaining the event further Irish team manager Hayley Burke said; “The women’s race will begin, then two minutes later the men’s will start, so every two minutes there will be action in the water with swimmers being eliminated until the final two athletes who will swim for the win. At the end of each sprint swimmers have to make their way back to the starting blocks and start the next sprint all inside four minutes.”
She added: “SKINS is a brilliant spectator event, and the athletes rarely get the chance to do it so they will really be up for it! There’s money prizes at stake also so this event always brings out the grit in every swimmer!”
All the action from the finals and the exciting SKINS event can be watched live here https://www.britishswimming.org/browse-sport/para-swimming/bpsim-2017-live-stream/ with the evening session underway at 5pm.