Hill continues to shine in Bangor with second Irish Senior Record

ByEmma Porter |

The penultimate day of the 2024 McCullagh International concluded in similar fashion to the previous night as Danielle Hill continued to steal the headlines setting a new Irish Senior Record.

Larne’s Hill continued to perform impressively setting a new standard of 1:00.16 in the 100 Backstroke Final; shaving .02 of a second off her record of 1:00.18, set at the 2021 Irish Olympic Trials.

The 24-year-old has her sights firmly on the Olympic Trials in May as she vies for a seat on the plane to Paris, and will need to be the first Irish swimmer to break the one minute mark in the event with the Olympic Qualification Time set at 59.99. Ellen Walshe (Templeogue) and Lottie Cullen (National Centre Ulster) shared the silver medal, both stopping the clock at 1:01.90.

The Men’s 800 Freestyle got evening proceedings underway in Bangor with Denis O’Brien (National Centre Limerick) coming home in 8:30.62 to claim gold; achieving the criteria to be considered for an invitation to the European Aquatics Junior Open Water Championships this summer. Trojan swimmer Baltazar Allende clocked 8:34.99 to claim silver with bronze going to Daragh Horgan (National Centre Limerick) in 8:41.01.

John Shortt was the only swimmer to dip under the 26 second mark in the 50 Backstroke, stopping the clock on 25.72 to finish first. David O’Loughlin (Tallaght) was second with 26.47, while Dolphin swimmer Charlie Cassidy was in third (26.66).

The 400 Freestyle Final followed with Victoria Catterson dominating, the National Centre (Dublin) swimmer came home in 4:17.90 to claim gold. Rebekah Friel (Trojan) was second in 4:21.44 and in third place was Mary Lily Doyle (Kingdom) with a time of 4:28.90.

New Ross’ Evan Bailey continued his impressive form adding the 100 Freestyle gold (50.03) to his collection, just .03 off the Irish Junior Record. University of Sterling swimmer Harry Robinson was second in 51.28 while Thomas Leggett took bronze in the outside lane with 51.30. In the morning heat, Reuben Alty (Larne) went a flat 53 seconds to go under the consideration time of 53.10 for the European Junior Championships.

Uiseann Cooke of Tuam was first home in the gruelling 200 Breaststroke, claiming top spot on the podium in 2:13.29. National Centre (Dublin) swimmer Eoin Corby followed closely behind to take silver (2:15.54), third place went to Adam Bradley (2:21.03) of Bangor.

Sticking with the 200 Breaststroke, Niamh Coyne (National Centre Dublin) and Olwyn Cooke (Limerick) went stroke for stroke as they battled for the gold medal. It was Coyne who edged it in 2:29.81, touching the wall ahead of Cooke 2:29.94. In third place, Niamh Connery (Sharks Galway) was in fine form on day three, clocking 2:36.90 to go under the consideration time (2:37.12) for the European Junior Championships for the second time this week.

The atmosphere was electric for the final event of the evening as National Centre Limerick’s Jack Cassin claimed gold in the 200 Butterfly in a time of 2:01.31. Sean Donnellan, who narrowly missed the consideration time earlier in the day, showed great determination and character by getting back on the blocks tonight and going under the consideration time (2:02.80) for European Juniors in 2:02.69 on his way to silver. Bronze went to Finn McGeever (2:03.33) of National Centre Limerick.

In the age group finals, Julia Dziedzic (Aer Lingus) claimed her third gold of the week, this time in the 400 Freestyle with 4:43.21. Baltazar Allende (Trojan) claimed his second medal of the evening, this time it was in the 100 Freestyle in 54.95. The girls 100 Backstroke gold went to Trojan swimmer Georgia May Agnew in 1:10.59. Cookstown’s Eoghan Griffin topped the podium in the boy’s 200 Breaststroke with 2:43.09. In the girl’s event Ella Kanis-Dickson (Portadown) was champion with a time of 2:55.15. Garvan Gillard (Blackrock) was first home in the boy’s 200 Butterfly to take the gold medal in 2:30.63.

Earlier today Ards claimed national gold in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay for a second consecutive day, this time it was Mathias Pickett, Charlie Eatwell, Michael McCann and Ben Wilson clocking a combined 8:05.76. Cork club Sundays Well claimed silver (8:26.00) with bronze going to Leander (8:54.53).

In the Mixed 4×100 Freestyle Relay, Wexford club New Ross quartet of Evan Bailey, Luca Power, Leagh Bailey, and Eva Bayley clocked a combined 3:47.97 to take national relay honours. Ards claimed silver in 3:49.72 and bronze went to Dolphin (4:02.66).

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