Ferguson, Hill and Walshe Secure World Aquatics Championships ‘A’ Times

ByEmma Porter |

Irish swimmers continued to impress on the penultimate day of racing at the 2023 Irish Open Swimming Championships with three World Aquatics ‘A’ Times secured.

Conor Feguson, now based at Loughborough University, commanded the 100m Backstroke Final from start to finish, retaining the National Title in 54.01, two hundredths of a second under the World Aquatics ‘A’ time of 54.03. Ferguson was clearly delighted with the outcome commenting ‘I just wanted that so bad, I can’t describe it, I haven’t done a significant PB in 6 or 7 years, so to do that tonight, I’m over the moon, I’m delighted.’

Finishing second to Ferguson in the 100m Backstroke Final, 200m Backstroke Champion John Shortt of National Centre Limerick posted consideration times for the European U23 Championships, European Junior Championships and European Youth Olympic Festival in 55.26.

This morning, Danielle Hill added her name to the list of those who have achieved the World Aquatic ‘A’ time in the 100m Backstroke Heats. The Tokyo Olympian clocked 1:00.40, just outside her Irish Record of 1:00.18. Hill went on to claim silver in the Final in 1:01.50, behind new National Champion Maria Godden. Godden swam a personal best 1:01.32, adding to her 200m Backstroke title; the National Centre Limerick swimmer also secured a second consideration time for the European U23 Championships in Dublin in August.

Ellen Walshe, who had already secured the World Aquatics ‘A’ time in the 100m Butterfly, after an Irish Record breaking 57.96 swim on the opening day of competition, secured another ‘A’ time in this evening’s 200m Individual Medley Final. The Templeogue swimmer touched in 2:12.93 for her second National Title of the week. In second and third place Ellie McCartney (2:14.94) and Grace Davison (2:17.78) posted further consideration times for the European U23 Championships, European Junior Championships and Commonwealth Youth Games.

In the Women’s 800m Freestyle Final Trojan’s Grace Hodgins claimed her third National Title, the 18-year-old was the only swimmer under the nine minute mark in 8:50.98. Hodgins was adding to 400m Freestyle and 1500m Freestyle Titles, and for the third time this week the same podium was replicated with Rebekah Friel (Trojan 9:09.36) second and Ella Carroll (9:25.58) of National Centre Limerick third.

Darragh Greene upgraded his 100m Breaststroke silver medal to gold in the 200m Final. The National Centre Dublin swimmer passed silver medallist Eoin Corby in the closing metres to win the National Title in 2:12.17. Corby (National Centre Limerick) was second in 2:12.24; a consideration time for the European U23 Championships. Tuam’s Uiseann Cooked claimed bronze in 2:13.85.

National Centre Limerick team-mates Finn McGeever and Jack Cassin took the top spots in the Men’s 200m Freestyle Final. McGeever was first home in 1:50.46, with Cassin just behind in 1:50.77, while New Ross’ Evan Bailey rounded out the podium 1:52.65. Bailey had this morning posted a consideration time of 1:52.07 for both the European Under 23 Championships and European Junior Championships.

In the Women’s 200m Butterfly Final, Banbridge’s Alana Burns-Atkin won her first gold of the week, retaining the National Title from 2022 in 2:20.17. The 17-year-old came home ahead of Sundays Wells’ Sharon Semchiy (2:22.48) and Dolphin’s Hannah O’Shea (2:24.75)

Day 4 Results

Women 100m Backstroke Final: 1st Maria Godden National Centre Limerick 1:01.32 2nd Danielle Hill Larne 1:01.50 3rd Lottie Cullen Swim Belfast 1:02.91

Men 100m Backstroke Final: 1st Conor Ferguson Larne 54.01 2nd John Shortt National Centre Limerick 55.26 3rd Matthew Walsh-Hussey NAC 57.50

Women 800m Freestyle Final: 1st Grace Hodgins Trojan 8:50.98 2nd Rebekah Friel Trojan 9:09.36 3rd Madison Emment Guildford 9:19.84 Commemorative 3rd Ella Carroll National Centre Limerick 9:25.58.

Men 200m Freestyle Final: 1st Finn McGeever National Centre Limerick 1:50.46 2nd Jack Cassin National Centre Limerick 1:50.77 3rd Evan Bailey New Ross 1:52.65

Women 200m Butterfly Final: 1st Alana Burns-Atkin Banbridge 2:20.17 2nd Sharon Semchiy Sundays Well 2:22.48 3rd Hannah O’Shea Dolphin 2:24.75

Men 200m Breaststroke Final: 1st Darragh Greene National centre Dublin 2:12.17 2nd Eoin Corby National Centre Limerick 2:12.24 3rd Uiseann Cooke Tuam 2:13.85

Women 200m IM Final: 1st Ellen Walshe Templeogue 2:12.93 2nd Ellie McCartney National Centre Ulster 2:14.93 3rd Grace Davison Ards 2:17.78

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