Murphy books Euro spot

by Stephen Findlater
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AER Lingus Swimming Club’s Barry Murphy qualified for the European long-course championships last weekend following his gold medal winning performance in the Dave McCullagh Memorial gala.

The Olympian booked his ticket to the European Senior Championships in Berlin this August in the 50m Breaststroke Heats in 28.01. Murphy once again went under the time in the final in 28.12.

He finished over a second ahead of Ards’ Michael Dawson and third place Dan Sweeney in the final at the event in Bangor’s new Aurora Leisure Centre. It came hot on the heels of a strong showing in the 50m butterfly race, taking gold in a time of 24.87 seconds.

It means that phase one of his season is complete, and he said afterwards that this can help define the year ahead.

“The plan was to get the qualification time for the Euros and it’s a case of job done. I have five months to plan a programme which will get me up on that podium in Berlin,” Murphy said this week.

Elsewhere at the event, the 400m Freestyle proved one of the most exciting events of the evening with the top three finishers all within 0.46 of each other. Distance specialist Andrew Meegan showed his form touching the wall first in a time of 4.01.53. Second went to Hyland and third to Clare man Bernard Cahill.

Meegan, who was a finalist at the World University Games last year, will now look for European Championships qualification at the Irish Long Course nationals in April.

The women’s 400m freestyle was the final win of the weekend for GB Olympian Hannah Miley, who had already ruled the pool in the 50m breaststroke, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley and the 100m butterfly.

Miley posted the fastest time in 4.17.30 ahead of the young Irish star Antoinette Neamt, narrowly missing the podium finishing in fourth in 4.21.44.

The three-day saw some of Ireland’s best swimmers compete at the first national event of 2014. The competition is served as a qualifier for Commonwealth Games plus European Junior, Senior and Paralympic Championships taking place this summer. Ireland’s junior swimmers also faced off against their Scottish counterparts in the Junior Celtic Duel Meet.

In the men’s 100m butterfly, NAC Performance Centre swimmer Brendan Hyland was just 0.07 shy of his Irish senior record in a winning time of 54.63.

On day one, Hyland had made the 200m Butterfly European senior time. Hyland, the current Irish 200m Butterfly record holder swam a time of 1.59.45 to book his place in Berlin in August and to claim the gold medal. The Swim Ireland NAC Performance Centre swimmer touched ahead of Nova’s Luke Howdle (2.00.53) and Stirling’s Lewis Smith (2.03.24).

As such, Hyland will join teammate Murphy at their training base in Dublin as they both prepare for a summer of swimming at the European Championships.

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