The 2020 World Para Swimming European Open Championships got underway today in Funchal, Madeira, with Patrick Flanagan, Jonathan McGrath and Róisín Ní Ríaín all competing on Day 1 for Team Ireland.
Patrick Flanagan was the first Irish athlete in the pool, the Longford man put in a strong performance, finishing with a time of 1.28.93 in the S6 100m Backstroke morning heat.
Speaking after the race, Patrick said: “It’s always nice to get the first race out of the way, the race felt pretty good, time wasn’t great; but I was pretty happy how I swam it”.
Speaking on returning to major competition, Patrick said: “2019 was our last major international Para competition, it’s great, the competition is running really smoothly, and it’s so good to race people with similar disabilities again”.
Patrick will return to the pool on Day 2, where he will compete in the S6 100m Freestyle, following by his main event on Day 4, the S6 400m Freestyle.
Róisín Ní Ríaín made her debut appearance for Team Ireland in a major competition, the Limerick girl did so in the S13 100m Butterfly Final. It was a debut to remember, as she finished in 6th place with a time of 1.11:25, the first of seven races this week for the Limerick girl.
This was the first of seven races for Róisín for the week, having secured several Minimum Qualification Standard times recently for Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo hopeful will benefit greatly from her first major competition.
Following her debut appearance, Róisín said: “It feels great getting out to race and coming to Europeans, it’s been a great experience.”
Speaking on the hopes for the week, she said: “To build on my first swim, do better and hope to get some Personal Bests”.
Róisín will return to the pool tomorrow evening in the SB13 100m Breaststroke Final at 19:28.
Watch her post-race interview HERE
Jonathan McGrath was disqualified from the Jonathan McGrath S8 400m Freestyle. Jonathan will return to the pool tomorrow evening in the Men’s S8 100m Backstroke Final.
Team Ireland Day 1 Results (16th May):
Men’s S6 100m Backstroke – Patrick Flanagan, 1.28:93
Men’s S8 400m Freestyle Final – Jonathan McGrath, Disqualified
Women’s S13 100m Butterfly Heat – Róisín Ní Ríaín, 1.11.25 (6th)
Team Ireland Day 2 Schedule (17th May):
09:56 – Men’s S6 100m Freestyle Heat – Patrick Flanagan
19:10 – Men’s S8 100m Backstroke Final – Jonathan McGrath
19:24 – Men’s SB13 100m Breaststroke Final – Sean O’Riordan
19:28 – Women’s SB13 100m Breaststroke Final – Róisín Ní Ríaín
Live stream and results can be found on the official World Para Swimming website HERE.