DUBLIN, Ireland, April 27. FIONA Doyle became the first swimmer to earn automatic selection to the Irish world championship team today with a convincing win in the women's 100 breaststroke at the national championships.
Doyle, who trains in Canada at the University of Calgary, won the 100 breast with a 1:08.23, faster than the 1:08.63 needed to earn the trip to Barcelona. it's also a national record, breaking Sycerika McMahon's 1:08.37 from last year's European championships. With Ireland not selecting swimmers for worlds based on 50s of the strokes, Doyle needed the time today in order to also swim the 50 breast, which she won Thursday. Finishing a distant second was Emily Jones with a 1:12.45, with Egypt's Mai Atef third in 1:12.75.
Barry Murphy also needed an automatic qualifying time in the 100 breast in order to swim the 50 breast in Barcelona, but he fell short today with a winning time of 1:01.35 that missed out on automatic selection for world championships by five tenths of a second. Nicholas Quinn took second with a 1:02.88 and Dan Sweeney followed in third with a 1:04.25.
Emulating visiting competitor Katinka Hosszu, 18-year-old McMahon showed poise in winning the 100 freestyle in 56.74, then took the national title in the 400 free less than an hour later with a 4:17.84. Finishing second to McMahon in both races was Great Britain's Sian Morgan, who posted a 58.71 in the 100 free and 4:21.72 in the 400. Dairne Ryan was third in the 100 free with a 58.81 while May-Kate McDowell placed third in the 400 free with a 4:26.77.
Hosszu, again racing in an abbreviated program, won the 200 backstroke convincingly with a 2:12.06. The time improves greatly on her best swim of the year, a 2:15.30 from the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa. Emma Cassidy was a distant second with a 2:20.08 and Loaise Fleming took third with a 2:20.56.
After two days of breaking national records in the distance freestyles, Andrew Meegan fell short of Ryan Harrison's Irish record of 3:55.88 in the 400 free with a winning time of 3:57.76. Seamus Stacey nearly cracked 4:00 with a runner-up time of 4:00.56, and Conor Turner was third with a 4:03.05.
Ahmed Hamdy Salem gave the Egyptian national team a win today with a 2:06.84 in the 200 backstroke, ahead of Benjamin Doyle's 2:10.26 and Mark Keaveney's 2:10.58.
In other finals action, Curtis Coulter won the men's 100 freestyle with a 51.00. Egypt's Adham Abdelmeged had the lead after 50 meters but settled for second with a 51.01, while Great Britain's Jack Thorpe was third with a 51.77.
In semifinals races, Egypt took the top qualifying spots in three events: women's 50 backstroke (Mariem Sakr: 30.68), women's 100 fly (Farida Osman, 1:00.38) and men's 100 fly (Marwan Adel, 54.15, national record). Jordan Sloan was the fastest qualifier in the other semifinal of the day, swimming a 27.46 in the men's 50 backstroke.