Conor Ferguson just misses out on Olympic qualifying time

Larne swimmer will get another chance on Saturday after missing out by just .05 of a second

Mona McSharry in action during  the Swim Ireland Irish Open  Championships at the  National Aquatic Centre in Dublin. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mona McSharry in action during the Swim Ireland Irish Open Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Conor Ferguson came agonisingly close to the Olympic A time in winning Friday night’s 100m backstroke final on the second day of competition at the Irish Open Swimming Championships. The 16-year-old from Larne clocked 54.41, a new Irish senior record, but was just .05 of a second shy of the required Olympic qualification time of 54.36. Ferguson will have another shot at the time on Saturday as he leads out the Ireland 400m medley relay.

Mona McSharry was also in impressive form, breaking her own Irish junior record in the 100m breaststroke semi-final. The 16-year-old, who has already qualified for the European Senior Championships, clocked 1:08.79 to take the middle lane for Saturday’s final. Alex Murphy led the field in the men’s event and the UCD student will have another chance to target the Olympic qualifying time in Saturday’s final after a 1:01.31 swim on Friday.

Tallaght swimmer Brendan Hyland collected his second national title of the weekend, adding the 400m individual medley to the 200m butterfly title in a time of 4:29.87 seconds. In the women’s event Galway’s Aoife Shorten clocked 5:03.54 to take the gold medal.

The women’s 100m backstroke final saw Danielle Hill retain her national title in 1:04.25. In the 50m butterfly Shauna O’Brien won with 27.34 seconds while visitor Ivo Staub won the men’s event in 24.58. Conor Munn of Larne was named national champion in the event with a 24.88 swim.

There will be a loaded field in Saturday’s men’s 100m freestyle final following two exciting semi-finals. Gerry Quinn (50.91), Curtis Coulter (50.94) and David Prendergast (51.08) topped the semi-finals but David Thompson, Calum Bain and Shane Ryan are sure to be contenders for the blue riband event. The women’s semi-finals were led by swimmers from Luxembourg, Germany and Scotland with Niamh Kilgallen the best of the Irish swimmers in 58.47.

Friday night’s final event saw Aer Lingus Men (7:56.54) and Ards Women (8:42.35) win the 800m freestyle relays.

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