DOUBLE Paralympian and UCD Swim Team member Darragh McDonald was this week announced by Paralympics Ireland as part of a team of six set to compete at the Paralympic Swimming (IPC) World Championships set to take place in Glasgow from July 13-19.
London 2012 and Beijing Paralympian McDonald won 400m freestyle gold at the 2013 World Championships but did not compete at last year’s Europeans due to surgery. He is currently ranked fourth going into this year’s Worlds but is hopeful to move up in the rankings after Glasgow. The Gorey native will compete in the 400m, 100m and 50m freestyle events in Glasgow.
Looking ahead to the championships, Irish team manager Hayley Burke said: “We’ve just returned from a really positive and productive ten-day warm weather camp in Fuerteventura. All the team worked exceptionally hard fine tuning final preparations there and are in good shape now heading into the championships.
“The world’s best swimmers will all be in Glasgow and there’s no better chance for our athletes to benchmark themselves against them. Should they swim to their potential we are hopeful of making the podium and seeing some lifetime best swims.”
The championships are a milestone on the road to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games qualification. Swimmers who win gold and silver in their events will automatically qualify for Rio, while for others, finishing as high as possible will be crucial as remaining places will come down to world rankings in 2016.
The rest of the Irish team is made up of McDonald’s fellow double Paralympian Ellen Keane, London Paralympian’s James Scully and Jonathan McGrath, and newcomers to the World Championships Nicole Turner and Ailbhe Kelly.