McMahon close to her best as she takes fifth place in final


SWIMMING EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS:SYCERIKA McMAHON came home fifth in the final of the 100 metres breaststroke at the European Championships in Hungary yesterday, the 17-year-old marginally outside her best in a time of 1:08.72.

McMahon, who booked her place at the London Olympics with an Irish record of 1:08.37 in the heats on Tuesday, made a sluggish start in the final but was within touching distance of the leading quartet at the midway point.

The Portaferry teenager, who skipped the heats of the individual medley earlier in the day in order to concentrate the final, kept up her pursuit after the turn but was unable to bridge the gap as Germany’s Sarah Poewe powered home to take gold in 1:07.33. Jennie Johansson, the fastest qualifier coming into the final, took silver just ahead of Marina Urzainqui Garcia.

Melanie Nocher, another qualifier for the London Games earlier in the week, was unable to replicate that form as she bowed out of the 100m backstroke heats, while Karl Burdis was only able to make the semi-finals of the 50m backstroke.

Later today, the women’s 4x200m freestyle team will make one final bid for Olympic qualification, with Nuala Murphy and Bethany Carson joining McMahon and Nocher.

The quartet will need to improve their personal best of 8.07.66 by over a second to make the grade and force their way into the all-important top 16 in the world rankings.