Sunday marked the final day of the Allianz World Para Swimming Europeans, wrapping up a fantastic event and a brilliant performance by Team Ireland. With several achievements, whether personal or international success, each member had strong performances in their own right but it was the girl power that brought home the medals this time around for Ireland. Ellen Keane and Nicole Turner had an exceptional Europeans, collecting three medals between them.
Day one saw Nicole Turner and Ailbhe Kelly in action, with both swimmers progressing to the final of their events. Turner was competing in the 50m freestyle S6 final, clocking a time of 36:52. Ailbhe set a new personal best by 9 seconds, swimming 3:15.97 in the 200m individual medley heats in the morning session, going on to swim her second fastest time ever of 3:16.82, in the SM8 final finishing 7th.
Nicole Turner was in action in the 200m individual medley on day two, qualifying for her second final of the Europeans and finishing 5th overall. She achieved a new personal best of 3:09.34, bettering her time from the Summer Nationals a few weeks earlier. Ailbhe Kelly took to the water for the 400m freestyle and it was yet another final for Team Ireland. Finishing 5th, she swam a PB of 5:34.00.
There was full representation of the Irish female team on the third day of competition, with much excitement for the athletes. Both Turner and Keane just missed out on a podium finishes finishing in 4th, with Nicole Turner in the 100m breastroke, while Ellen Keane made her Dublin 2018 debut in the 100m butterfly. Here’s Keane post race:
Keane’s next event was the 100m backstroke which again saw her finish just touching distance from a medal, finishing 4th after an exciting race in the 100m backstroke. Pushing on in the second 50m, she made up ground and managed to finish just under a second behind bronze medal position. Nicole Turner and Ailbhe Kelly were also in action in the 100m backstroke. Turner was competing in the S6 category, finishing 7th overall in a time of 1:37.94, while Kelly finished 5th in the final in 1:26.50.
It was a momentous occasion for Ireland as paralympian Ellen Keane picked up the first medal of the competition on day 5 of the World Para Europeans in Dublin. An extraordinary crowd, proud parents and well deserving athlete. With several close calls during the week, Keane made sure to pick up a medal for Ireland and got the ball rolling. Swimming an exciting 200m individual medley, she cemented her third place podium finish, claiming bronze. Ailbhe Kelly was also in action, competing in her final event of the competition. Taking on the 100m freestyle, Kelly again progressed to the final and finished in 8th position. It was a great competition for Ailbhe Kelly, with several personal bests and finals – an exciting future for the swimmer.
The floodgates had opened for Team Ireland and Nicole Turner went on to pick up a silver medal on the 18th of August, the day following Keane’s bronze. Grinning from ear to ear, Turner, who finished her Junior Cert just a few weeks earlier, was clearly incredibly proud of her great performance and new silverware. She finished 2nd in her heat, qualifying as second fastest in a time of 37.04 for the 50m S6 butterfly final. Holding true to her seeding, Nicole Turner secured the silver in the final, bringing home Ireland’s second medal of the competition.
Turner was in action again on the final day of competition in the 100m freestyle, finishing 5th overall in a time of 1.18.70.
Ellen Keane brought great joy and excitement to the Irish supporters on the final day of the World Para Swimming Europeans as she brought home a gold medal in a time of 1:23.29! Having won bronze at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, she would have been aiming high in the 100m breastroke event. A magnificent performance secured her second medal of the Europeans, now crowned the European Champion of 100m breastroke – a fantastic achievement for an athlete who has been a great ambassador for para sport in Ireland.
Coach David Malone and Para Swimming Manager, Hayley Burke, will be incredibly proud of their European medallists and of the great performances of all the Irish swimmers. A full list of results can be found here.