25 August 2018
European Paralympic Success!
The World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships took place in our home pool of the National Aquatic Centre from 13th - 19th August. With an Irish team of 9 athletes consisting of Patrick Flanagan, Barry McClements, Jonathan McGrath, Sean O'Riordan along with our very own Ailbhe Kelly, James Scully, Nicole Turner and Ellen Keane, it was set to be an action packed Championships. There was excellent swims from all our Irish athletes, with numerous finals and personal best times throughout the week, cheered on by the huge support of the home crowd.
Our very own Ailbhe Kelly was one of the first Irish swimmers to start off in the 200m Individual Medley SM8, where she finished seventh in the final in her third Para Swimming European Championships since her debut in 2014. The 19 year old finalled in all four of her events with a seasons best in her favourite event the 100m backstroke S8 and personal best times in both the 400m Freestyle S8 finishing sixth overall and 100m Freestyle S8 in a time of 1.18.27.
At 25, James Scully is the oldest memeber of Team Ireland competing at the Championships and indeed one of the oldest and most valued members of the NAC Swim Club. With a truly impressive career since his International debut in 2010 at the Para Swimming World Championships, James was ready to set his home pool alight competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle S5 events. In his best event, the 200m Freestyle, James swam his fastest time since competing at the Rio Paralympic Games finishing fifth in a time of 2.58.34. He finished his Championships with two more impressive swims in both the 50m and 100m freestyle.
Special Mention of course to our two Irish medalists, Nicole Turner and Ellen Keane. Nicole, the 16yr old NAC swimmer, won the Silver medal in the S6 50m Butterfly in a time of 36.75 just behind Great Britian's Eleanor Robinson. She surpased her Bronze medal finish in the same event in the 2016 IPC European Swimming Championships while finaling in her other five events.
Ellen, also one of our NAC swimmers, was able to successfully add to her Bronze medal from 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and two Bronze medals at the IPC World Championships in the fifth European Championships of her career to date. She secured a Bronze medal in the SM9 200m Individual Medley and Ireland's only Gold medal of the Championships in the SB8 100m Breaststroke, winning the final by over five seconds in a time of 1.23.29 on the final day of the competition. She was delighted to be presented with her medal by our own Head Coach and Paralympic High Performance Director Dave Malone.
Along with the athletes a special mention has to be given to all of the Team Staff and Coaches for Team Ireland from the Championships. In particular our own coaches Dave Malone, Hayley Burke and Niamh Buffini along with Team Manager Andrea Laughlin for their continued hard work and unconditional support to all the athletes.