Aer hail Houghton haul

by Gazette Reporter

 sport@gazettegroup.com

MELANIE Houghton produced a memorable weekend’s work in Aer Lingus colours as she landed four titles last weekend at the Swim Ireland national age group championships as part of a great weekend for the club.
The sprint specialist closed out the weekend with the 50m butterfly on Sunday to add to the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well as the 100m butterfly.
In Sunday’s 50m butterfly she held off a strong challenge from UCD’s Shauna O’Brien touching in 27.56, with Shauna finishing in 27.78. Natasha Pollock of Lisburn completed the podium.
Earlier in the meet, Houghton had led home a 1,2,3 finish for the High Performance Centre swimmer with a 56.97 in the 100m freestyle, followed by Lisburn’s Bethany Carson (58.50) and in third place was Tallaght swimmer Clodagh Flood (58.76).
Carson has been working hard to come back from a serious ankle injury and is starting to see the awards of her recent move to living on the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown.
Living so close to her support team in the National Aquatic Centre and Irish Institute of Sport, including physiotherapist Sarah Jane McDonnell, has helped her to recover quickly and prepare for next season.
On day one, Houghton had two seconds to spare over Clodagh Flood in the 100m butterfly before adding the 50m breaststroke while she also played her part in Aer Lingus’s 4x100m bronze medal winning relay team.
They were just pipped to the girls 4x200m freestyle title by Galway SC while they held off Sunday’s Well in an exciting battle for second. The Aer Lingus girls managed to pull through to take the silver medal in 8.52.04, out-touching the Sunday’s Well girls by just 0.28 seconds.
Ben Doyle led home a one-two for the club in the Over-16 boys final of the 200m backstroke, seeing off Ben Griffin with a 2.08.83 time. Griffin recently represented the club and Ireland at the European Junior championships in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
In the men’s 50m breaststroke, Olympian Barry Murphy (Aer Lingus SC) returned to the pool after a busy year to retain his breaststroke sprinting title. Murphy will also be heading to next month’s Senior European Championships and the win will give him confidence before heading to Germany.
Irish swimmers were also swimming outside of Ireland this week as Portmarnock’s Fiona Doyle competed in the Canadian Swimming Championships.
She swam in the 50m,100m and 200m breaststroke as she warms up for next month’s European Senior Championships. Doyle was delighted with her swimming as she came away with a gold in the 100m, silver in the 50m and a fourth place finish in the 200m.

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