Shortt and Davison star on day three of Swim Ireland’s Olympic trials

Rising teenage talents among the standout stars at the National Aquatics Centre

The rising teenage talents John Shortt and Grace Davison were among the standout performances on day three of Swim Ireland’s Olympic Trials at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin

The 17-year-old Shortt, the Galway swimmer based at the National Centre in Limerick, started the day in telling style in the 200m backstroke, winning his heat just half a second outside his Irish record of 1:58.47, touching in 1:59.03.

Suitably encouraged, Shortt was back in the pool in the evening and took the win in a brilliant 1:57.90 – a national senior record, junior record, championship record, and a qualifier for next month’s European Championships in Belgrade.

Though outside the Olympic qualification time of 1:57.50, it marked another breakthrough for Shortt, and not long afterwards Davison was another teenage to top the podium in the women’s 400m freestyle. After producing another junior record of 55.44 in her semi-final, the Ards swimmer took the win in 55.56, ahead of Victoria Catterson, second in 55.72.


In the men’s 400m Freestyle, National Centre Limerick swimmer Cormac Rynn registered his first sub four-minute swim, topping the field in the heats, which included Daniel Wiffen, in 3:57.79. Wiffen was the only other swimmer under four minutes in 3:59.81, bypassing the final later. There, Rynn took the win in 3:54.66, also a new national junior record.

Wiffen hasn’t tapered for this event, the Olympic Trials doubling as the Irish Open Championships: “I’m in full training, still at 85km a week, just grinding it out. I’ll do the 1,500m heats also. But everything is about Paris at this stage.”

Ards’ Amelia Kane, swimming in heat two, was fastest out of the women’s 400m freestyle heats in 4:23.97 ahead of 2022 and 2023 National Champion in the event Grace Hodgins, who won heat three in 4:25.01, with Kane then winning the final 4:21.93, Hodgins second in 4:28.91.

In the men’s 50m Super Final, Tom Fannon was edged out by Calum Bain, 22.06 to 22.07, after Fannon had already booked his Olympic place on Thursday, swimming 19.94. Darragh Greene also went again in the 100m breaststroke, after winning the semi-final in 1:00.36, then took the final win in 1:00.54.

On Thursday, Darragh Greene set a new Championship Record of 59.91 in the 100m breaststroke, and went into that final chasing the 59.49 needed for Paris; having also clocked 1:00.36 in his semi-final; Greene finished in 1:00.54

Max McCusker also went in the 100m butterfly A final, dipping under 52 seconds with his winning time of 51.97, again just outside the Paris time of 51.67, and ahead of Jack Cassin (54.17).

So far, Paris qualifying times have been achieved by Daniel Wiffen (400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle), Ellen Walshe (200m IM), Mona McSharry (100m breaststroke), Danielle Hill (100m backstroke), and Tom Fannon (50m Freestyle)

Also qualified are the women’s 4x100m medley relay and the Men’s 4x100m medley relay, with two Olympic qualification times are required from the team in order to confirm the Olympic place when invited.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics