McCullagh International Gets Underway in Bangor

ByEmma Porter |

The Dave McCullagh International Meet got underway at the Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Co. Down today. The meet, acting as Ireland’s final qualification opportunity for this year’s junior Summer international meets, including the European Aquatics Junior Swimming and Open Water Championships, saw seven swimmers achieve consideration criteria.

For Ireland’s senior swimmers, the four days is an excellent opportunity to tune up for the Irish Open Championships and Olympic Trials, taking place from 22-26 May.

Ronan Fahey cruised to the first gold medal of the evening session in the 1500m Freestyle. The Trojan swimmer clocked 16:37.56 ahead of Dolphins Tadgh O’Brien (16:46.34) and National Centre Limerick’s Daragh Horgan (16:51.66). All three medallists achieved the criteria to be considered for an invitation to the European Aquatics European Junior Open Water Championships in Austria in July.

National Centre Dublin’s Niamh Coyne won the women’s 100m Breaststroke Final, the only swimmer under the 1:10 mark in 1:08.29. National Centre Limerick’s Ellie McCartney collected silver in 1:10.74 and Limerick’s Olwyn Cooke bronze in 1:11.73. Shark’s Niamh Connery, who was fourth in 1:12.45 and Portmarnock’s Ava Jones (1:12.81) both achieved the consideration standard for the European Aquatics European Junior Championships in Lithuania in July.

In the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final University of Stirling’s Alex Meijer was first home in 1:02.19 followed by Tuam’s Uiseann Cooke (1:02.80) and National Centre Dublin’s Eoin Corby (1:03.02).

Paris Olympic Games qualifier Ellen Walshe was the only swimmer under the minute mark and remains the only Irish swimmer to achieve the feat in the 100m Butterfly. The Templeogue swimmer won this evening’s final in 58.47, just off her Irish Record of 57.96. City of Manchester’s Jessica Calderbank won silver in 1:00.73, with Banbridge’s Alana Burns-Atkin claiming bronze in 1:00.75, a time good enough for consideration for the European Junior Swimming Championships.

National Centre Dublin’s Victoria Catterson won 200m Freestyle gold in 2:01.03. The Irish Record holder in the event was home ahead of National Centre Limerick’s Maria Godden (2:02.66) and Ards’ Grace Davison (2:02.81).

In the Men’s 200m Freestyle Final New Ross’ Evan Bailey got the touch in 1:50.26, just ahead of National Centre Limerick’s Finn McGeever (1:50.57) while McGeever’s NCL teammate Cormac Rynn was third in 1:52.09. In the B Final Larne’s Reuben Alty achieved the consideration time for the European Junior Swimming Championships in 1:55.65.

Tom Wilkinson collected gold in the 400m Individual Medley Final. The Ballina Dolphins swimmer topped the podium in 4:29.49 ahead of Blackrock’s Phelim Hanley (4:44.21) and Kilkenny’s Leonardo Reis (4:52.55).

Tokyo Olympian Danielle Hill (Larne) won the final individual event of the opening day of competition touching in 27.75 in the 50m Backstroke, just six hundredths of a second off her Irish Record of 27.69. Maria Godden claimed her second silver medal of the day touching in 29.12, just .05 of a second ahead of UCD’s Jena Macdougald in 29.17.

In today’s Age Group Finals Bangor’s Grace Eyre won Girls 100m Breaststroke gold in 1:16.49, Larne’s Evan Houston won the Boys Final in1:15.53. Banbridge’s Shea Mathers won 400m Individual Medley gold in 5:10.80. In the 200m Freestyle Yifei Li won the girls final in 2:16.59 with Trojan’s Baltazar Allende topping the boy’s podium in 1:57.70. In the 100m Butterfly, Tallaght’s Fiona Weng achieved the fastest time in 1:09.29.

The McCullagh International Meet this week acts as a national championship for Irish relays with Ards and Lisburn picking up the first national titles of the weekend in the 4x100m Freestyle. Ards’ Megan Diamond, Ellie McCartney, Grace Davison, and Zophia Quigley combined in 3:58.82 to win the women’s event ahead of Sundays Well (4:02.91) and Larne (4:03.42). In the Men’s Final, Lisburn’s quartet of Dylan Registe, Alfie Shawe, Christopher Mason, and Matthew Hamilton won gold in 3:33.78 ahead of Coolmine SC (3:34.21) and Dolphin SC (3:40.85).

Competition continues tomorrow through to Sunday.

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