Ellen Keane holds her nerve to clinch the elusive bronze
World Para Swimming European Championships sees five Irish swimmers make finals
Ellen Keane of Ireland with her parents Eddie and Laura after winning bronze in the final of the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9 event during day five of the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ellen Keane delivered on her billing as one to watch at the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships as she clinched the bronze medal that had eluded her and Team Ireland throughout the week. In a thrilling race it was Keane that was able to hold her nerve and touch in third place.
Keane delivered a composed performance that saw her comfortably hold off the challenge of Zsofia Konkolyy by 2 seconds. Spain’s Nuria Marques led the 200m Individual Medley home followed by Toni Shaw from Great Britain, with Keane in third position to take bronze.
Longford’s Patrick Flanagan finished 4th in the final of the Men’s 400m Freestyle, losing out by only 0.26 seconds to Yoan Valkinsky. Despite powering home and making up a 5-second gap to third, the finish came too soon and he was forced to settle for fourth position.
Jonathan McGrath brought the curtain down on his Dublin 2018 with a 6th place finish in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S8 event, despite being ranked 8th coming into the final.
Ailbhe Kelly maintained her superb form for the championships as she finished 8th in the Women’s 100m Freestyle. Kelly reached the final in every one of her four events.
Ireland’s fifth finalist was Cork’s Seán O’Riordan, who came home in 8th position and will take a lot from this performance as he looks toward Tokyo. .
James Scully was Ireland’s other competitor in action today, bringing his best-ever performance in the 50m Freestyle S5, although he didn’t progress through to the final.
There were another four records set today at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre. Denise Grahl of Germany set a new European record with a time of 32.83, shaving .09 off her own record in the 50m Freestyle S7. Gilli Carlotta took more than a second off the record for the Women’s 100m Backstroke S13 event. Liesette Buinsma broke the record for the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM11, a record that had stood for eight years. Finally, the Ukraine Mixed 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 49 PTS team brought the curtain down on day five in fine style as they destroyed the existing record by more than 10 seconds.