Fiona’s silver streak in Kazan

by Gazette Reporter

PORTMARNOCK swimmer Fiona Doyle produced a superb performance to claim silver in the 100m breaststroke at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia last week.

She had cruised into the final with a second place finish in her heat and the fourth fastest time overall in 1.08.86, a time which was just .6 of a second off her personal best and Irish record of 1.08.23 set in April this year.

And she duly followed up with the swim of her life to lift herself from contender to medallist when she set a new Irish senior record of 1.07.66 when she placed second in the final.

Russia’s Iulia Efimova was the gold medallist in 1.05.66, the second fastest time in the world this year and it makes for an interesting rematch when Doyle and Efimova face off again at the FINA Swimming World Championships.

Clearly delighted with her performance Doyle said: “I’m over the moon, this is what I came here to do and I can’t wait for the Worlds now.”

Following her silver medal win, Doyle was back in action in the heats of the 200m breaststroke in which she touched home in a time of 2.32.82 to finish 14th overall and book her spot in the semi-final.

The University of Calgary-based swimmer is the current Irish record holder in the event, a time of 2.30.21 that she set at the Canadian world championship trials in March.

And she was only able to match that outcome in the semi-finals. She swam 0.63 of a second faster in the semi-final than her morning heat, but unfortunately missed out on a place in the final.

She made her second final of the week in Kazan in the 50m breaststroke following a swim of 31.76 in the morning heats and posted the fifth fastest semi-final time of 31.44.

Doyle upgraded that position in the final but just missed out on a medal with a fourth place finish when she swam a time of 31.40. She was beaten to bronze by the smallest possible margin, by Russia’s Valentina Artemeva in 31.39.

Efimova, 100m and 200m breaststroke champion at the Games, was the gold medal winner in a new World University Games Record of 30.31.

The 21-year-old Doyle will now travel back to Dublin in preparation for the FINA World Swimming Championships starting on July 28 in Barcelona where she will swim the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events.

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