Hill Sets Irish Record for Fourth in Backstroke Final; Hill, Walshe and McCartney Through to Finals

ByEmma Porter |

Danielle Hill starred for Ireland on day four of racing at the European Aquatics Championships in Romania, pulling off an incredible double that saw her finish fourth in the 50m Backstroke, advance to the final of the 100m Backstroke and set two new Irish Records.

Hill came agonising close to securing her first senior international medal when she touched in fourth place in the 50m Backstroke Final. The Larne swimmer knocked an impressive .26 of a second off Thursday’s heat time of 26.59 finishing in 26.33, just behind bronze medallist Analia Pigree of France in 26.28.

Earlier in the evening, Hill had swum another Irish Record, this time in the semi-final of the 100m Backstroke, where she ranked fifth overall to advance to tomorrow’s final in 57.73. That time bettered her own Irish Record of 58.29 from 2021 by over half a second.

On the 50m Final, Hill said, “I am so happy, someone again has to come fourth, but there’s another record, so there’s nothing left in the tank, and that’s all I can do, so I’m happy’ she added ‘the 100m tomorrow will be fun, it’s my last race of the meet so I just want to get out and go like I have been doing.”

Ellen Walshe also completed a double this evening, securing two finals places in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley as well as an Irish record. In the 100m Butterfly, Walshe touched second in her heat in 56.90 and advances to tomorrow’s final in fourth place overall.

Less than an hour later, in the 200m Individual Medley, Walshe secured the same positioning, second in the heat and fourth overall confirming her place in the final in 2:08.50, a new Irish Record, that breaks her own 2021 standard of 2:08.69.

Speaking after the races Walshe said “I’m delighted to be back in both races, it was a tough morning and a tough evening this evening, but I’m looking forward to doing them one more time and hopefully will be a little bit better.”

There was double delight for Ireland after the 200m Individual Medley semi-finals as National Centre Limerick’s Ellie McCartney confirmed her place in her first senior international final. McCartney improved on her heat time of 2:11.99, placing fourth in her heat and eighth overall in 2:11.72.

Also competing this evening in the 100m Backstroke, Maria Godden placed eleventh overall in a best time of 59.26. 

In the 200m Freestyle Evan Bailey clocked 1:46.57 in his first senior international semi-final. The 18-year-old improved on his heats time of 1:46.65 to place fourteenth overall.

Ireland’s final competitor in action this evening was Max McCusker who clocked 23.08 in the 50m Butterfly semi-finals to place sixteenth overall.

Tomorrow evening will see Danielle Hill, Ellen Walshe and Ellie McCartney compete in finals, while double gold medallist Daniel Wiffen is back in the pool with brother Nathan for the 800m Freestyle Heats in the morning.

2023 European Aquatics SC Swimming Championships (Otopeni, Romania)

Day 4 – Friday 8th December l Results

Women’s 100m Backstroke Danielle Hill 59.24 (14th) SF 57.73 (5th) ISR
Maria Godden 59.39 (15th) SF 59.26 (11th)
Men’s 200m Freestyle Evan Bailey 1:46.65 (15th) SF 1:46.57 (14th)
Women’s 100m Butterfly Ellen Walshe 57.59 (3rd) SF 56.90 (4th)
Men’s 200m Breaststroke Liam O’Connor 2:12.18 (22nd)
Women’s 200m IM Ellen Walshe 2:11.62 (9th) SF 2:08.50 (4th) ISR
Grace Davison 2:14.36 (16th)
Ellie McCartney 2:11.99 (10th) SF 2:11.72 (8th)
Men’s 50m Butterfly Max McCusker 22.92 (11th) SF 23.08 (16th)
Dylan Registe 24.37 (39th)
Women’s 50m Backstroke Danielle Hill 26.59 (3rd) ISR SF 26.62 (6th) F 26.33 (4th) ISR
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