Irish swimmers enjoy successful morning at European Championships in Belgrade

Danielle Hill, Lottie Cullen, Darragh Greene and Eoin Corby all qualify for semi-finals; Ciara McGing will compete in the 10m platform final

Ireland's Darragh Greene won his heat in the 200m breaststroke and qualified fifth overall for the semi-finals at the European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Photograph: Andrea Masini/Inpho

Irish swimmers enjoyed a successful morning as temperatures increased in Belgrade on day three of the European Aquatics Championships.

Danielle Hill, Lottie Cullen, Darragh Greene and Eoin Corby will join Shane Ryan, John Shortt and Nathan Wiffen in Wednesday night’s semi-finals and finals, while Ciara McGing will compete in the 10-metre platform final.

Just three weeks after her showstopping performance at the Olympic Trials in Dublin, Larne swimmer Hill was back in the pool to compete in the 50m backstroke and she blazed through one length in 27.98 seconds to progress through the heats as fastest qualifier.

The Paris-qualified swimmer spoke following her morning swim: “I’m really happy after that, first swim out of the way which is always nice,” said Hill, who has qualified for the Paris Olympics. “I think this morning it was just about how I was feeling, it’s only been three weeks since trials so it’s nice to see where I am.”


Speaking on her aims heading into this meet, Hill added: “It’s just about sharpening up, making sure everything is laid out properly for Paris, this is the last opportunity to go through the rounds which is why I chose to come to Europeans. It’s about working on the little things, not necessarily in the pool but in and around it and iron everything out.”

Cullen, who is competing at her first international meet, will join Hill on Wednesday evening in the 50 backstroke semi-finals after she clocked 29.30 to qualify in sixteenth place.

Cullen said: “Feeling pretty good, it felt quite comfortable and strong, it was pretty fast for a morning swim from what I’ve been all year, so I’m happy to make it through and come back tonight. It’s been a busy couple of days, so it’s nice to have just one length of the pool rather than two or four.”

McGing qualified safely for the final in fifth place on 254.40, her highest score coming in the fourth round (63.80).

Fresh off the back of his first individual international final appearance on Tuesday night, Greene was back on the blocks for the 200m breaststroke and he continued to impress, finishing first in his heat and fifth overall in 2:12.87, advancing to another European semi-final.

Greene’s National Centre Dublin team-mate Corby will also head back to the pool on Wednesday evening after he clocked 2:13.74 to advance from his morning heat in 10th overall.

Uiseann Cooke narrowly missed out on a top 16 finish by just 0.34 seconds, clocking 2:16.15 in 17th in his first senior international competition.

Max McCusker closed out his week in Belgrade with a 23rd place finish in the 100 butterfly in a time of 52.54. He will now head to Rome to compete at the Sette Colli Meet.

Following the race, McCusker said: “It was a good experience, it was never meant to be the main meet of the summer, I came here and gave it a bash and we move on to Sette Colli in a couple of days to get a bit of race experience in.”

Wednesday night will see another strong Irish contingent heading to the blocks and diving platform for the evening session. Wiffen (800m freestyle), Ryan (100m freestyle) and Shortt (200m backstroke) will all compete in their respective finals, while Hill, Cullen, Corby and Greene will look to qualify for finals. McGing will be first in action in the 10m platform final, which is set to get under way at 4pm Irish time.

Day 3 Irish results

Men – 100 butterfly: Max McCusker 52.94 (23rd); 200 breaststroke: Darragh Greene 2:12.87 (5th) Q, Eoin Corby 2:13.74 (10th) Q, Uiseann Cooke 2:16.15 (17th).

Women – 50 backstroke: Danielle Hill 27.98 (1st) Q, Lottie Cullen 29.30 (16th) Q. 10m platform: Ciara McGing 254.40 (5th)

Evening schedule (Irish time)

4.0 – Women’s 10m platform: Ciara McGing; 5.40 – Men’s 200 backstroke final: John Shortt; 5.52 – Men’s 100 freestyle final: Shane Ryan; 6.27 – Women’s 50 backstroke semi-final: Danielle Hill, Lottie Cullen; 6.34 – Men’s 200m breaststroke semi-final: Darragh Greene, Eoin Corby; 7.07 – Men’s 800m freestyle final: Nathan Wiffen.