Ards Swimming Club claimed the Dave McCullagh Memorial Trophy for best Irish team as the McCullagh International ended in Bangor this afternoon. The four-day meet was run to replicate the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with heats in the evenings and finals in the mornings. The competition attracted a number of Irish and British stars as both countries gear up for Olympic Trials in April.
On the penultimate day, Larne swimmer Danielle Hill improved her own Irish 100m backstroke record. Hill, clocked 1:00.90 to cut 0.18 seconds off her previous mark as she took second behind Britain’s European medallist Kathleen Dawson.
On the final day, Hill equalled her 50m Freestyle Irish record of 25.29 to take gold ahead of Marlin’s Mona McSharry (25.83) and Maria Godden (26.78) of Kilkenny.
McSharry was back in the pool for the women’s 50m Breaststroke final where she closed her meet with another silver medal in 31.66. Loughborough’s Sarah Vasey took the win in 31.12.
Commonwealth Games Champion Alys Thomas added 100m Butterfly gold to her 200m in 59.23, one of only two simmers to break one minute, Charlotte Atkinson the other in 59.36. Loughborough team-mates Abbie Wood and Siobhan Marie O’Connor battled for gold in the women’s 200m Individual Medley Final with Wood coming out on top in 2:12.45 ahead of O’Connor’s 2:12.83.
Ards’ Amelia Kane completed the same sweep as Jervis winning the women’s 400m Freestyle Final in 4:23.54.
Grace Davison claimed her fourth and fifth gold medals of the meet in the girls 200m Freestyle and 200m Backstroke. In a fantastic battle with Templemore’s Rosie Whitten, Davison touched in 2:15.52 in the 200m Freestyle with Whitten just behind in 2:16.04. In the 200m Backstroke, the 13-year-old clocked 3:30.88 ahead of City of Derry’s Maeve McClean (2:35.54).
Jon Rudd, National Performance Director said, “This last four days of competition has provided all of the athletes here with an excellent racing platform into their upcoming Olympic Trials, whether that be our Irish version (1st – 5th April) or the British version in the weeks ahead.”
“The environment for racing in Bangor is first class and the format of the competition along with the slick and professional operation of it could not be better for what coaches and athletes are looking for at this stage of the season. Irish athletes now have approximately five weeks into the Irish Open Championships, where our National Teams for the 2020 Olympic Games, the European Championships and the European Junior Championships will be determined, with an element of our Performance programme taking one last opportunity to race before then at the Edinburgh International Meet (12th – 15th March).”
“Swim Ireland are in a good place right now and if supporters of Irish swimming haven’t got their travel plans in place for the Olympic Trials at the NAC in April, they should do so, as it will not be one to miss!”
Results Day 4 Finals
Women 50m Freestyle: 1st D Hill Larne 25.29 2nd M McSharry Marlins 25.83 3rd M Godden Kilkenny 22.88
Women 50m Breaststroke: 1st S Vasey Loughborough 31.12 2nd M McSharry Marlins 31.66 3rd M Renshaw Loughborough 32.57
Girls 12/13 200m Freestyle: 1st G Davison Ards 2:15.52 2nd R Whitten Templemore 2:16.04 3rd A Byrnes Limerick 2:17.21
Women 200m Backstroke: 1st K Shanahan Scotland 2:14.06 2nd Ellie Turner Perth City 2:16.48 3rd M Godden Kilkenny 2:19.18
Women 100m Butterfly: 1st A Thomas Swansea 59.23 2nd C Atkinson Loughborough 59.36 3rd G Melbourne-Smith Wales 1:02.47
Girls 12/13 200m Backstroke: 1st G Davison Ards 2:30.88 2nd M McClean City of Derry 2:35.54 3rd Z Quigley Ards 2:36.67
Women 200m IM: 1st A Wood Loughborough 2:12.45 2nd SM O’Connor Loughborough 2:12.83 3rd
Women 400m Freestyle: 1st A Kane Ards 4:23.54 2nd R Bethel Bangor 4:24.09 3rd V Catterson Ards 4:28.84