Daniel Wiffen got the job done this morning in his first race of the World Aquatics Championships securing a place in the 800m Freestyle Final in a Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Time (OQT) and new Irish record. Wiffen is the third swimmer to achieve the OQT with Ellen Walshe (200m Individual Medley) and Mona McSharry (100m Breaststroke) clocking their required time in the first two days of competition.
Swimming in the final heat, Wiffen along with the full Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games 800m Freestyle podium of Bobby Finke (gold), Gregorio Paltrinieiri (silver) and Mykhailo Romanchuk (bronze) took a lead after the first 100 metres and swam stroke for stroke, knowing if they could keep the pace, they would be through to the final. And so it was that all four qualified, advancing in fourth to seventh place to tomorrow’s Final.
Speaking after the race Wiffen said ‘I’m feeling great, that’s obviously job one done which was to qualify for the Olympics, and then to progress to the final was next so I’ve done both in a really great race. My plan was to be as easy as possible, and I was maybe hoping for a tiny bit faster but I’m really happy I made it back and it wasn’t too taxing in the body’.
Wiffen, who ranks fourth into the final did increase his stroke rate for the last 50m to win the heat in 7:43.81, a new Irish Record, erasing his former best of 7:44.45, which was also well inside the OQT of 7:51.65, he said ‘I didn’t go to my legs there I think, it was more that I just wanted to win the heat by a touch, so I knew that if I sped up my stroke rate a tiny bit I’d get it’
Australia’s Sam Short, who won 1500m Freestyle Commonwealth Games Gold ahead of Wiffen’s silver medal last year, is the fastest qualifier for the 800m Freestyle final in 7:40.90.
The Men’s 800m Freestyle Final takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12.02pm.
Also, in action this morning Darragh Greene won his heat of the 50m Breaststroke in 27.54 to finish in twenty second place overall. Victoria Catterson, making her individual world championships debut clocked 2:00.82 in the 200m Freestyle. Both Greene and Catterson return to the pool on Thursday for the 200m Breaststroke and 100m Freestyle respectively.
This afternoon, Mona McSharry will compete in the 100m Breaststroke Final. McSharry is ranked fourth going into the final which takes place at 1:45pm (Ireland).
Tuesday 25th July AM Results
Men 50m Breaststroke Darragh Greene 27.54 (22nd)
Women 200m Freestyle Victoria Catterson 2:00.82 (31st)
Men 800m Freestyle Daniel Wiffen 7:43.81 (4th) ISR/OQT
McSharry 5th in World Final
Mona McSharry came agonisingly close to winning Ireland’s first ever world long course medal at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan this afternoon, ultimately touching in fifth place in the 100m Breaststroke Final.
The 22-year-old Sligo native clocked 1:06.07 and was just .13 of a second off the bronze medal. In a stacked field, McSharry came home behind four Olympic gold medallists including 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, who took gold in 1:04.62, Tokyo 2020 200m Breaststroke champion Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa in 1:05.84, Tokyo Olympic champion in the 100m Breaststroke Lydia Jacoby of the USA in 1:05.94, and Rio 2016 gold medallist and world record holder in the event Lily King of the USA in 1:06.02.
McSharry, who has swam inside the Olympic Qualification Time for Paris 2024 three times in the past two days, spoke after the race commenting ‘I think looking at it, it’s obviously a little painful, especially not swimming fastest in the final hurts, but it’s all learning experience and when I look at the people that came ahead of me, world champions, record holders, Olympic champions, so to be up there and racing against them and have it be such a close race is giving me a great confidence boost. I just have to carry on to the rest of the events this week and not let it take me down. I think it’s great to be able to practice racing against those people for the Olympics next year because that’s the main goal in my mind, it’s just training and preparing for that meet, so look it’s a great result, fifth in the world, I can’t be too upset with it.’
McSharry returns to the pool on Thursday for the 200m Breaststroke Heats.
Tomorrow, Danielle Hill returns to the pool for the 50m Backstroke, Shane Ryan makes his Championship debut in the 100m Freestyle and after qualifying from this morning’s heats Daniel Wiffen, who swam the Olympic Qualification Time in a new Irish record of 7:43.81, will compete in the 800m Freestyle Final at 12.02pm (Ireland).
Tuesday 25th July PM Results
Women 100m Breaststroke Final Mona McSharry 1:05.55 (2nd) ISR/OQT SF1:05.96 (4th) F1:06.07 (5th)
Wednesday 26th July Schedule
Women 50m Backstroke Danielle Hill 2:32am (IRE)
Men 100m Freestyle Shane Ryan 2:47am (IRE)
Men 800m Freestyle Final Daniel Wiffen 12.02pm (IRE)