Daniel Wiffen showed his world-class abilities finishing fourth in the World Championships 800m Final in a new European Record, the Magheralin man is now the holder of both the long (50m) and short (25m) course European records.
In an incredible final Wiffen was just .52 away from bronze finishing in 7:39.19, taking almost five seconds off his Irish Record of 7:43.81 set in yesterday’s heat, and .08 of a second off Italian Gregoria Paltrinieri’s European record of 7:39.27 set at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The 22-year-old is now the number nine all-time performer in the event.
A delighted Wiffen commented ‘It was a good race, I’m really happy with the personal best and really looking forward to the 1500m Freestyle later in the week, but that race was great to be part of. Missing the podium you know, I came into this and I just wanted to be better than last year and I’ve done that by a lot so I’m happy enough.’
It’s a golden age for men’s distance swimming and Wiffen is relishing being part of it ‘It’s so good, I’m happy there’s a race in that, because I just love to race and that was definitely one of the best races I’ve ever had, and I loved every minute of it, I’m looking forward to what’s next.’
The final was won by Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui in 7:37.00, silver went to Australia’s Sam Short in a new Oceania record of 7:37.76 and another continental record finished the podium with the UAS’s Bobby Finke bagging bronze ahead of Wiffen in 7:38.67.
Speaking about his race plan going in Wiffen said ‘My plan was to try stick with them for as long as possible, I was happy the way I did it to be honest, I was just on the hip the whole time, my third 200m was probably a bit off and my last 200m was great, so maybe next time I tweak the third 200m but I can’t really complain about my plan’.
Wiffen returns to the pool on Saturday for his main event, the 1500m Freestyle, where he is third ranked, he said ‘I said on poolside there that if I can take 5 seconds off my 1500m that I’m under the world record, so let’s hope that happens!’
In the women’s 50m Backstroke semi-final, Danielle Hill clocked 28.10 for thirteenth place overall.
Speaking after the race Hill, who is competing at her first World Championships said ‘I’m a little bit deflated, I expected a little bit more of myself, I’m usually quite a good morning to afternoon swimmer but I think I’ve got to be positive with this, 48 hours ago I was in a much worse position, I’ve got two more swims individually and I’ve got a relay and that backstroke has given me a bit of a confidence boost heading into Sunday (4x100m Medley Relay) with the girls, so yeah, disappointed, but happy to get that first semi-final under my belt.’
Hill returns to the pool on Friday for the 50m Butterfly Heats.
There is another big day of action for Ireland in the pool tomorrow with Mona McSharry making her return in the 200m Breaststroke after her fifth-place finish in the 100m Breaststroke final on Tuesday. Victoria Catterson returns for the 100m Freestyle, Darragh Greene for the 200m Breaststroke and 16-year-old John Shortt will make his senior international debut in the 200m Backstroke Heats.
Wednesday 26th July Results
Women 50m Backstroke Danielle Hill 23.03 (13th) SF 28.10 (13th)
Men 100m Freestyle Shane Ryan 49.04 (33rd)
Men 800m Freestyle Daniel Wiffen 7:43.81 (4th) F 7:39.19
Thursday 26th July Schedule
Women 100m Freestyle Victoria Catterson 2:32am (Ireland)
Men 200m Backstroke John Shortt 2:53am (Ireland)
Women 200m Breaststroke Mona McSharry 3:08am (Ireland)
Men 200m Breaststroke Darragh Greene 3:25am (Ireland)