A strong Irish team of thirty swimmers made the short trip to Scotland over the weekend to compete at the Edinburgh International Meet, which took place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool from the 10th to the 12th March. Irish swimmers look in great form ahead of the Irish Open Championships in a fortnight with Daniel Wiffen, Ellen Walshe, Tom Fannon and Ellie McCartney all finishing in podium positions.
The Edinburgh meet served as a final opportunity to compete competitively before the much-anticipated Irish Open Championships taking place from 1st-5th April at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre. The Open will serve as a qualification meet for a number of Summer International competitions including World Championships, European U23 Championships, European Junior Championships, European Youth Olympic Festival and Commonwealth Youth Games.
Daniel Wiffen (Loughborough) has started his 2023 season off in similar fashion to 2022, with several strong showings already under his belt. Wiffen was the first Irish swimmer to appear on the podium on Friday, finishing first in the 1500m Freestyle in a time of 15:07.93. Wiffen’s twin brother, Nathan, came home in fifth place in a time of 15:59.09, followed by National Centre (Limerick) swimmer Denis O’Brien, finishing as the fastest junior and in eighth place overall clocking 16:40.94.
Ellen Walshe is another Irish swimmer who has started the year off in good form, the Templeogue swimmer finished first in the 100m Backstroke B Final with a time of 1:01.88 to get the meet underway. National Centre (Limerick) swimmer Maria Godden clocked 1:03.16 in the A Final to finish eighth. In the male event, Conor Ferguson (Loughborough) was fifth in 55.37 in the A Final, while John Shortt (National Centre Limerick) competed in the B Final, also finishing fifth (56.81).
There was a strong Irish contingent featuring in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke, as Olympian Darragh Greene (National Centre Dublin), Eoin Corby (National Centre Limerick) and Uiseann Cooke (Edinburgh University) all featured in the A Final. 21-year-old Corby was the first Irishman to finish, coming home in fifth place (2:15.44), with Greene touching closely behind in a time of 2:15.54 in sixth, while Cooke placed eighth with 2:16.99.
Breaststroke specialist’s Niamh Coyne (National Centre Dublin) and Ellie McCartney (National Centre Ulster) both featured in the 100m Breaststroke A Final, Coyne finished in fourth place (1:09.92) while McCartney was closely behind in fifth (1:10.06).
There was more success on Day Two of the Edinburgh International with several swimmers featuring in A Finals and podium positions. Daniel Wiffen took a second win in as many days, as the fastest finisher in the 800m Freestyle in a time of 7:55.27. Also featuring in this event was Nathan Wiffen who was sixth (8:13.19). Teenager, Denis O’Brien finished as the fifth fastest junior in a time of 8:47.02.
Tom Fannon was first in the 50m Freestyle A Final, the National Centre (Dublin) swimmer clocked 22.51 on his way to taking the top spot. Fannon’s National Centre (Dublin) teammate Calum Bain finished second in the B Final (22.97), while in the Junior Final Evan Bailey placed second (23.63) and John Shortt of National Centre Limerick finished fifth (23.99).
Ellen Walshe put on a strong showing in the 400m Individual Medley, finishing the A Final in second place with a time of 4:44.11, just .44 seconds behind first place.
Rounding out the day, Darragh Greene competed against a strong field in the 100m Breaststroke A Final, which included three-time Olympic gold medallist, Adam Peaty. Greene finished a strong fourth place, clocking 1:01.58, while Eoin Corby finished the B Final in second place (1:02.56). John Shortt won the 50m Backstroke Junior Final clocking 26.73, while Cora Rooney was in second place of the women’s B Final (29.57). Niamh Coyne competed in the 50m Breaststroke A Final clocking 33.08 to finish in eighth place.
Irish swimmers continued to put on a series of strong performances on the final day of competition, Darragh Greene was the first to feature on Sunday evening, competing in the 50m Breaststroke A Final where he placed fifth in a time of 28.28 to bring his weekend to a close. Uiseann Cooke was eighth in the B Final with a time of 29.71.
Ellen Walshe would feature in two A Finals on Sunday evening, finishing in second place in the 200m Individual Medley (2:12.79), not far off her Irish Record (2:12.02) and sixth in the 50m Butterfly A Final (27.14).
There was a top three finish in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke as Ellie McCartney finished third in a time of 2:30.60, while Niamh Coyne featured in the B Final, also finishing in third place (2:33.49).
There was strong Irish representation in the Men’s 400m Freestyle, with four swimmers competing in this event. Daniel Wiffen was the first Irish swimmer home in a time of 3:50.81 taking second place in the A Final, while Finn McGeever finished the B Final in second place (3:58.48) ahead of Irish teammate Nathan Wiffen (4:02.31). Denis O’Brien came home in third place in the Junior Final with a time of 4:10.40.
Evan Bailey finished the weekend strong with a first-place finish in the Junior Final of the 100m Butterfly (55.70) and second in the junior category of the 100m Freestyle (52.02). National Centre (Ulster) swimmer, Victoria Catterson finished fourth place in the women’s B Final, clocking 56.46.
There was a tremendous swim from John Shortt in the 200m Backstroke A Final to close out the competition. The 16-year-old, swimming next to Olympic bronze medallist Luke Greenbank, was not far off a top three place, touching the wall in 2:00.97 to take fourth place and round off a strong weekend in the pool.
Sights will be now firmly set on the 2023 Irish Open taking place in a little over a fortnight featuring the top Irish swimmers over five days of thrilling racing.
Full results – Swim Scotland | Results and Information Service