Team Ireland swimmers had one of their most productive mornings so far on the penultimate day of racing at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Day six saw Daniel Wiffen qualify for the 1500m Freestyle Final, and Conor Ferguson and Mona McSharry advance to the semi-finals of the 50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke respectively.
Daniel Wiffen will compete in tomorrow’s 1500m Freestyle Final after an impressive heat swim of 14:43.50. Wiffen lead for much of the race with the USA’s Bobby Finke (14:43.06) by his side. Finke took over the lead at the 1000m mark and the pair were separated in the end by only .44. The duo secured the centre lines for the final with the two fastest preliminary times. 800m Freestyle World Champion Ahmed Hafnaoui (Tunisia) was the next fastest qualifier winning the third heat in 14:49.53.
Wiffen commented after the race ‘It was great, my strategy was to go in and break up the field and I did that quite well and then after about 500m sit back on a good pace that would get me through to the final so I did that, it was good, a good race as well there with the American Bobby Finke, but it was alright, it was fun’.
Wiffen has big plans for tomorrow’s final saying ‘I think I’m still going with my aspirations of hitting that World Record (14:31.01), need to get out now, get some recovery done for tomorrow night, 36 hours, get that done and have a good final. It hurt a little, but I’m holding back still, so still that bit left’.
Wiffen’s best time is a 14:34.91, which he swam in Sweden earlier this year. That swim has him ranked as the fifth fastest man in the world ever and is the fastest time of any of the swimmers competing in tomorrow’s Final.
The Men’s 1500m Freestyle Final will take place tomorrow (Sunday) at 12.16pm (Ireland).
Conor Ferguson advances to his first ever World Championships Semi-Final after a brilliant fifth place finish in his heat of the 50m Backstroke. The 23-year-old placed 11th overall in 24.95, just .14 of a second off his best time of 24.81 from 2021.
Speaking after the race Ferguson said ‘I’m good, happy with that this morning, I think the first swim on Monday (100m Backstroke) I was a bit nervous for. I’ve had a week to really relax, reflect on that swim and use that disappointment to fuel me into this 50m so yeah, I’m looking forward to tonight.
Looking ahead to this evening’s semi-final, the Loughborough University swimmer said, ‘I’ve definitely got a pb in me tonight, bit of a primer this morning will do me good, go back, sleep, recover and get ready for tonight’.
Mona McSharry made it three from three for semi-finals advancing in the 50m Breaststroke this morning. The 22-year-old, who has already been fifth in the 100m Breaststroke Final and featured in the 200m Breaststroke semi-final, progresses in twelfth place in 30.45, just off her Irish Record of 30.29 from the Irish Open Championships in April this year.
McSharry commented after the race ‘I’m happy, you know it wasn’t a bad morning swim, probably one of the fastest I’ve done in the morning, you’ve got to love the 50m, it’s a nice one to end on, a sprint and get the hands on the wall first.’
Looking ahead to this afternoon’s semi-final and McSharry has a target ‘I would love to break the 30 point, we’ll see what happens, in the 50m it needs to be perfect, but I’m well able to do that.’
Also, in action this morning, Danielle Hill clocked 25.55 in the 50m Freestyle in her final individual swim of the Championships. Hill is back tomorrow for the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay ‘I’m happy, yesterday, and today were all about finding a way to swim fast in the morning because I know I have to step up tomorrow and do that, not only for myself but for those girls’.
Saturday 28th July Results
Women 50m Freestyle Danielle Hill 25.55 (30th)
Men 50m Backstroke Conor Ferguson 24.95 (11th)
Women 50 Breaststroke Mona McSharry 30.45 (12th)
Men 1500m Freestyle Daniel Wiffen 14:43.50 (2nd)
Fannon Best of Team Ireland on Day Six in Fukuoka (Friday 27th)
Ireland’s Tom Fannon produced Ireland’s best result on the sixth day of the World Aquatics Championships in Japan, finishing twentieth in the Men’s 50m Freestyle.
Fannon, who holds the Irish Record of 21.95 in the event, was making his senior international debut for Ireland and was just outside the semi-final places by .08 of a second, finishing in 22.13. Fannon, who was hoping to achieve the Olympic Qualification time of 21.96 this morning spoke after his race ‘It was ok, I’m extremely disappointed I won’t lie, I felt like the preparation for this has been the best preparation I’ve ever had going into a meet. At the start of the week, I was extremely fast in training, it felt fast in the water as well and I think that’s why I’m more upset because it felt so good. You have to swim the 50 perfectly, it has to be the perfect race, I felt like I did a good job, but not quite where I need to be at.’
Danielle Hill continued a busy week in the heats of the 50m Butterfly. The Larne swimmer posted her fastest ever morning swim in the event to finish second in her heat and thirtieth overall in 26.90 ‘I’m actually really happy to dip under 27 (seconds), I think that’s my fastest ever morning swim and so yes a massive positive for me as stepping up in the morning is never easy for me; it’s something that I’m learning, unfortunately learning the hard way, but still learning, so yes I’m happy. It’s a nice warm up, hopefully do something nice tomorrow (50m Freestyle) and then finish off with the girls on Sunday (4x100m Medley Relay)’.
In the 100m Butterfly, Max McCusker made his championship debut clocking 53.46, his fourth fastest time ever and was fortieth overall. Speaking after the race McCusker said ‘It was ok, a bit slow, to be honest I thought I’d be faster, but my first race at World Championships, would have been good to do something earlier in the week and flush it out but it’s fine, it was a decent time.’
Tomorrow, on the penultimate day of racing at the World Championships, Finalists and Olympic Games qualifiers Daniel Wiffen and Mona McSharry return to the pool. Wiffen goes in his favoured 1500m Freestyle, where the 22-year-old is currently ranked second, while McSharry competes in the 50m Breaststroke. Ireland’s fastest ever female swimmer Danielle Hill will compete in the 50m Freestyle and Conor Ferguson returns to the pool for the 50m Backstroke.
Friday 27th July Results
Men 100m Butterfly Max McCusker 53.46 (40th)
Men 50m Freestyle Tom Fannon 22.13 (20th)
Women 50m Butterfly Danielle Hill 26.90 (30th)