Irish swimmers will take to the pool this weekend (Friday to Sunday) for the first National competition of 2016. The Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet, which will incorporate the Swim Ulster International Meet, takes place at the Bangor Aurora Leisure Complex in County Down. Over 370 swimmers from 63 clubs, including 9 foreign clubs, will compete in 32 individual and 6 team events across three days of competition.
Ireland’s senior swimmers will be seeking qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August and for the European (LC) Championships taking place in May in London. Thus far, Limerick’s Fiona Doyle has obtained the FINA (International Swimming Federation) ‘A’ standard and has recently been joined by Oliver Dingley who secured a diving place for Rio. Senior swimmers Shane Ryan, Brendan Hyland and Dan Sweeney will be in action and have all made qualifications times for the European Championship. They will now focus their attentions on obtaining the FINA ‘A’ times in their respective events. A strong Scottish team which includes Commonwealth Gold medalist Ross Murdoch will provide some fantastic races across the weekend.
Ireland’s junior swimmers will be looking to qualify for the European Junior Championships in Hungary, while Paralympic athletes, including 2015 World Championship medalist Ellen Keane, will continue their preparations for the 2016 Paralympic Games. They will have competition from members of the British and Scottish Paralympic teams over the weekend including multiple Paralympic Games medalists Ellie Simmonds and Oliver Hynd.
Speaking before the event Swim Ireland National Performance Director Peter Banks commented “This is an important meet for our swimmers just three months from the closing of the window for qualification for the Olympic Games on May 31st.We have a lot of junior swimmers already qualified for the European Junior Championships and we are hoping to add to that team over the weekend”.