A final, two semi-finals, two Irish Junior Records and a World Junior Championships qualification saw Ireland’s swimmers complete their best day so far at the Baku Aquatics Centre on day three of competition at the European Games in Azerbaijan.
Ireland’s quartet of Danielle Hill, Mona McSharry, Emma Reid and Rachel Bethel qualified for the 4x100m Medley Relay in 8th place this morning in a time of 4:19.56. However, they put in a stellar performance in tonight’s Final to set a new Irish Junior Record of 4:16.81, knocking over a second off the 2014 record held by Hill and teammates Gemma Kane, Laoise Fleming and Niamh Kilgallen. Ireland drifted between 6th and 7th over the 400m event but Rachel Bethel brought Ireland home with 57.75 second freestyle to secure 6th place. Russia dominated the event setting a new World Junior Record and took Gold in 4:03.22.
Emma Reid set a new Irish Junior Record of 1:01.97 in the 100m Butterfly semi-final and came agonisingly close to a Final, the 16 year old gave it her all in the swim in which she also qualified for the World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore in August. Reid took over half a second off her previous best time (1:02.53) and broke Sycerika McMahon’s 2011 record of 1:02.05, she was just .37 of a second off the last qualifying place which went to Sweden’s Hanna Rosvall in 1:01.60. Russia’s Polina Egorova will be the fastest qualifier in tomorrow’s Final in a time of 59.67 seconds.
Despite swimming a faster time in her semi-final Rachel Bethel could not progress to the 200m Freestyle Final. Bethel, of Lisburn City SC, swam a time of 2:05.37 in the heats and clocked 2:04.89 in the semi-final placing her 14th overall. Russia’s Arina Openysheva, who has already won Gold in the 400m and Silver in the 100m Freestyle events posted the fastest time in the semi-final in 1:59.42, over 2 seconds ahead of second placed, 100m Freestyle Gold medallist, Marrit Steenbergen (2:01.60) of the Netherlands.
Speaking after today’s finals Head Coach Pearse McGuigan commented “This has been Ireland’s best session so far at the Games, Rachel’s 14th place was excellent and the Irish record in the Relay and 6th place in the Final was fantastic but Emma Reid’s record and qualification was outstanding. The girls did a great job and all went faster this evening, we couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
Ireland will have another busy day in the pool tomorrow with eleven of the twelve swimmers in action. Relay swimmers Rachel Bethel, Danielle Hill and Mona McSharry all swim the heats of the 50m Freestyle. Hill will also swim the 100m Backstroke with Issie Hayes. McSharry joins Niamh Kilgallen in the heats of the 100m Breaststroke while Andrew Moore competes in the men’s event. Alan Corby and Rory McEvoy will both compete in the 50m Backstroke, Corby then returns to the pool for the 100m Butterfly with James Brown and Benjamin Doyle.
Competition continues tomorrow to Saturday. Press releases will be issued daily.
Day 3 Final Results
W 200m Freestyle Rachel Bethel H 2:05.37 19th SF 2:04.89 14th
W 100m Butterfly Emma Reid H 1:02.66 15th SF 1:01.97 10th IJR
W 4x100m Medley Ireland H 4:19.56 8th F 4:16.81 6th IJR
Day 4 Heat Schedule
W 50m Freestyle Rachel Bethel, Danielle Hill, Mona McSharry
M 50m Backstroke Alan Corby, Rory McEvoy
W 100m Backstroke Danielle Hill, Issie Hayes
M 100m Butterfly James Brown, Alan Corby, Benjamin Doyle
W 100m Breaststroke Mona McSharry, Niamh Kilgallen
M 100m Breaststroke Andrew Moore
Issued by Swim Ireland, whose athletes are supported and funded by the Irish Sports Council, Sport NI and the Olympic Council of Ireland.
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Media Contact: Trish Mayon Ph: +353 86 8094786