Irish Olympic Trials: Wiffen Sets Second Irish Record Of The Meet In 1500 Free

Daniel Wiffen
Daniel Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: Swim Ireland

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Daniel Wiffen set his second national record of the meet as he went 15:16.90 in the 1500 free as the Irish National Team Trials concluded in Dublin.

Wiffen is one of four swimmers along with Mona McSharry, Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan to have made Olympic Consideration Times during the five-day meet at the National Aquatic Centre.

Link to results

So too have 12 Irish records been set with Wiffen adding the 1500 mark to his 800 time of  7:52.68 on the opening day.

The Larne SC swimmer, who trains at Loughborough University, said:

“I wanted to be out comfortable to 800, just under sub-eight minutes, but to be honest I think maybe in the middle of the race I was a bit tired, obviously from the building up of the competition – it’s been a long meet. I’m still happy with the time, it’s a PB and I can’t ask for more than that.

“I was obviously going for the FINA A time at the start of the week and it was good timing the 800m being the first event, because that’s when you’re most rested. I was delighted to get that and I’m looking forward to Tokyo.”

Greene Edges 200Br Thriller; Hyland Puts Defeat Behind Him

Darragh Greene

Darragh Grene: Photo Courtesy: Swim Ireland

Greene – who set an Irish record of 59.76 over 100m breaststroke on the first day – took the 200m following a real tussle with Eoin Corby.

Greene has already been inside the cut of 2:10.35 and he touched in 2:10.40 with 19-year-old Corby – who on Friday dropped his PB from 2:13.24 to 2:10.99 – second in 2:10.50, 0.15 outside the qualification time.

McSharry twice lowered her Irish 100br record on the opening day with her semi-final time of 1:06.29 catapulting her into the world’s top 10.

A new mark of 2:25.92 over 200m followed on Friday morning to the frustration of the University of Tennessee swimmer who was 0.04 outside the qualification standard.

The 20-year-old went 2:27 in the evening semis with Niamh Coyne the fastest through to set up a prospect of a real tussle.

McSharry, however, withdrew from the final leaving Coyne to claim an emphatic victory in 2:27.45 – her second best time – but well outside the cut.

National record holder Brendan Hyland won the 100m butterfly in 52.87 and admitted that he had to reset after the 200 fly where he was second to Paddy Johnston.

He said:

“After that 200 fly final, where the wheels fell off, I was pretty shook.

“Ben (Higson, head coach) told me to just take it easy and try to gain my confidence back. I know people say it happens and all, but I haven’t got run down like that in about 10 years. I didn’t mind losing it, it was just how much the wheels came off.

“When you’re going fast, you dive in, and every single time you look at the board it’s unbelievable. All of a sudden there’s a snowball effect. Whereas when you have a bad swim, it does take a lot to try to get yourself back on the blocks to do a good job.

“I’m just pleased to take something out of the week. I’m now hopefully on the (4×100 medley) relay for the European Championships and it is a strong relay. We’ve got three or four weeks to get ready and fine-tune.”

 Victoria Catterson went third Irish all-time in the women’s 200 free.

The Ards swimmer, who broke the 100m freestyle record on Thursday before Danielle Hill reclaimed her national mark, came close to breaking two minutes in 2:00.15.

Catterson said:

“I was expecting to go quicker than last night, but more like low 2:01, so to turn around and see that it was that close was bittersweet, because 1:59 and maybe an Irish senior record just would have been the perfect ending to the week.

“But that swim has given me the confidence to believe that I am a sub-2:00 freestyler. These performances, they’ve been a long time coming.

“I’d definitely say I’ve really taken advantage of the situation we have been put in. I realise that I am very, very lucky to be in the pool, and obviously there’s not a lot of people in the pool.

“It’s very specialised training groups, only like 10 people. So, we get a lot of time from our coach, and gym time, and there’s been less distractions, like going out with friends to restaurants and stuff like that.”

Hill has rewritten the Irish record books four times this past five days and after setting a new 50 free mark of 25.19 on Friday, she went 25.29 on Saturday.

Just 0.2 separated the top five finishers in the men’s 100 free.

Dolphin’s Max McCusker took the win in 49.51 over Bangor’s Jack McMillan in 49.58 and Shane Ryan 49.64.

In the 400IM Templeogue’s Ellen Walshe won the women’s final in 4:48.99 knocking almost two seconds off her previous best of 4:50.78.

National Centre Limerick’s Cadan McCarthy knocked over three seconds off his best time to win the men’s final in 4:25.80.

In the final event of the trials, Trojan’s Grace Hodgins added the 1500m free title to the 800m in 17:47.37.


Jon Rudd – Photo Courtesy: Jon Rudd

Speaking after the five days of racing Swim Ireland National Performance director Jon Rudd said:

“With five excellent days of racing at the Irish National Team Trials under our belt, we can reflect on another significant and positive step forwards for Irish swimming, across a number of areas with much to be pleased with.

“To have five FINA ‘A’ Olympic Qualifying times achieved at this stage from four athletes is a good place to be at this time, with two stages of our Olympic nomination process still to come.

“There have been some agonising near misses across the five days and those fine margins are the very essence of performance sport.

“Twelve Irish senior records have also been broken this week, another indicator that the nation continues to evolve.

“We set stiff consideration standards for our relays to compete at the forthcoming European Championships in Budapest (in an attempt to qualify for the Olympic Games) and we now have five such relays that can be considered for selection to this event.

“There were 10 athletes over the course of the week that were close enough to the FINA ‘A’ time for them to go again in a final qualification attempt in June and we are already working on what this may look like in a challenging COVID environment.”

“I am delighted that the event itself has run so successfully in such highly demanding and difficult times.

“Athletes and coaches have not had it easy over the last 13 months and the performances this week are testament to their resilience and their dedication.

“The job is not yet done for Tokyo – but the foundations are set”.

Consideration Times Achieved

(Team Selections will be made at a later date)

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, Tokyo, Japan, 23rd July – 8th August 2011

Darragh Greene (100m Breaststroke, 200m Breaststroke), Shane Ryan (100m Backstroke), Daniel Wiffen (800m Freestyle), Mona McSharry (100m Breaststroke)

Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan, 24th August – 5th September 2021

Ellen Keane (100m Breaststroke, 200m Individual Medley, 100m Backstroke), Nicole Turner (50m Butterfly, 100m Breaststroke, 200m Individual Medley) Barry McClements (100m Butterfly, 400m Freestyle), Patrick Flanagan (400m Freestyle), Róisín Ní Ríain (100m Backstroke, 50m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle, 100m Butterfly, 200m IM)





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