Mona McSharry and Ellen Walshe collected more European U23 Championship Titles on day two in Dublin, while Daniel Wiffen added silver to the gold medal he won yesterday, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre.
Mona McSharry opened day two of the LEN European U23 Championships, as she did with the first, with a stunning swim in the 100m Breaststroke to claim a second gold medal in a brilliant battle with the USA’s Kaitlyn Dobler. McSharry added to yesterday’s 50m Breaststroke gold in a time of 1:06.69, by the smallest of margins, one-hundredth of a second on Dobler’s 1:06.70.
A delighted McSharry said “It was just awesome, it was definitely really tight, it’s hard sometimes in breaststroke to tell if you’re ahead or behind but I felt like maybe I was a little behind of the start and so I knew it was definitely going to be a push, but I’m glad I was able to get my hands on the wall first.
“I would say I was probably a bit more nervous than yesterday going in, you know sometimes you can do your best to calm the nerves as much as possible but sometimes they take over a little, you just have to try and use them to your advantage then.”
Ellen Walshe collected her third medal of the meet in the 400m Individual Medley, claiming gold and the European Title in 4:42.37, her third fastest ever swim in the event. Walshe has already won 200m Individual Medley Gold and 100m Butterfly silver. It was a gruelling race with the finish coming down to Walshe and Justina Kozan of the USA. Indeed, it was Kozan who got the touch first in 4:40.97, the American receiving a commemorative medal for her efforts.
Speaking after the race Walshe said “I knew it was going to be a tough one coming into it, I wasn’t feeling my best today but to come away and win another gold medal I’m delighted. I would have liked to have been as close to my pb (personal best) as possible, I’d probably say I’m a little bit disappointed in my competition, but looking back on my year, I’ve had a long year, I’ve come back from a massive illness, so I have to give myself a little bit of credit for that.”
Speaking about the Irish crowd Walshe said ‘The crowd is absolutely epic, thank you to everyone who came out and supported, it really makes such a difference, we never had it before so I’m super grateful’.
Daniel Wiffen closed the night for Team Ireland with a silver medal in the 400m Freestyle, adding to the 1500m Freestyle gold he had won last night. Wiffen went hard to lead out the field for the first 200m of the race, with Bulgaria’s Petar Mitson, taking over at the halfway mark. Mitson, the World Junior Record holder in the event, maintained that lead to win gold in 3:46.16 ahead of Wiffen’s 3:47.57.
Commenting after the race Wiffen said ‘“I went out a bit hard, sadly I faded a little bit. I think last night’s event kinda took it out of me, but we move on, so yeah, good time, good medal. When I got taken over, I knew I had to work hard but I just didn’t have it and I think going into it I probably went out a little hard for the shape I’m in, but I’ll take a silver medal, I don’t really mind. I’ve the 800 tomorrow I’m going to get a lot of recovering in the next 24 hours, hit the 800 and see how close I can get to my PB.”
A determined swim from Maria Godden saw her finish in fifth place, the fourth European, in a strong 100m Backstroke Final. Godden missed the bronze medal by just two tents of a second touching in 1:02.21. USA’s Isabelle Stadden was the first swimmer home and the only swimmer under one minute in 59.27.
Speaking after the race Godden said “I’m still probably taking it all in to be honest, I probably got a little bit excited in the first 50m, it’ll be interesting to see what my splits were. I am disappointed I have to admit, had I swam the time that I did this morning, I would have gotten a medal for Ireland, so I suppose it’s all about learning and just learning from the race, where it went wrong and not making those mistake again the next time.”
Reflecting on the meet so far Godden said, “I wasn’t sure where I’d be, I kind of had a rocky start to the year, so even to be here representing Ireland I’m really, really, happy; I’ve made a final, I’m like great tick, and move onto the next thing now which is the podium, makes me hungry for more and for tomorrow.” Godden returns tomorrow for her main event, the 200m Backstroke.
Eoin Corby was impressive in finishing in sixth place in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final. The National Centre Limerick swimmer clocked 2:12.90 in a rapid final that saw France’s Lucien Vergnes in 2:10.04.
Commenting after the race Corby said, “It’s a bit of mixed emotions, I thought I could have done better, it felt smooth this morning, I thought I’d more in me, but you can’t complain, sixth in Europe is class, it’s not every day you get to put on the Irish cap and represent Ireland in a home competition.”
Ireland will have thirteen swimmers in action and a relay on the final day of competition, including the three European U23 Champions Ellen Walshe, Daniel Wiffen and Mona McSharry.
Results Saturday 12th August 2023
|F 400m Freestyle
|M 400m Freestyle
|F 3:47.57 (2)
|F 100m Breaststroke
|F 1:06.69 (1)
|M 50m Backstroke
|M 50m Freestyle
|W 100m Backstroke
|F 1:02.21 (5)
|M 200m Breaststroke
|F 2:12.90 (6)
|F 50m Freestyle
|M 200m Butterfly
|W 400m Individual Medley
|F 4:42.37 (1)