The European Short Course Championships happens every 2 years in December.
For Irish athletes it’s an opportunity to race against the very best in Europe without the pressure of funding or future team selection riding on your performance.
In a season that has Irish Olympic Trials, European Long Course and potentially the Olympics at the end of it, this may not be the most important meet if the year. It is however I vital opportunity to race and gives a nice mid season punctuation before transitioning to the long course season.
Team Larne had 2 athletes selected to represent Ireland on this meet.
Danielle Hill (50, 100 BC, 50, 100 FREE)
Conor Ferguson (50, 100, 200 BC)
The team travelled from Belfast on Monday the 2nd. A training session on Tuesday then racing started on Wednesday 4th.
Danielle 100 BC
You really can’t ask for too much more than stepping up on the 1st morning and posting a best time. This is exactly what D did breaking the minute for the 1st time. This was good enough to qualify for the semi final and just missed the Irish record by 0.08.
In the Semi that afternoon, for me, she produced the swim of the week. Lowering the National Standard to a world class 58.6 just missing out on the final.
Conor 200 BC
This was a switch in focus for Conor this season and he recorded his fastest ever heat swim and 2nd fastest 200. Just missing out on a tough qualification as with no Semi Finals only top 8 progress.
Danielle 100 FREE
The heats produced yet another personal best time for Danielle in what is her 4th choice event.
Conor 100 BC
Another great heat swim saw Conor record his 1st PB in this event in 2 years and break his own Ulster Senior Record.
Mixed FS relay
Both Danielle and Conor has a day off from individual events with a warm up and paddle in the morning and the D was on the mixed Free relay with Shane Ryan, Jordan Sloan and Mona McSharry. Swimming on the 3rd leg she posted a 24.0 and helping the team secure a final place. This is the 1st national relay to qualify for a senior international final.
In the final the team placed 8th and while Shane broke the Senior FS record on the 1st leg Danielle again went 24.0 and the team broke the Irish senior record.
Danielle 50 BC
Having broken the 50BC record 3 weeks ago at BUCS, Danielle swam the heats looking to move up the ranking list and progress to the next round. A time of 26.92 did just that breaking the Irish record again becoming the 1st Irish female under 27 seconds.
At European level the heats, semi and final of 50 events happen in the same day so it was back that night for the semi of the 50 back and an incredible swim of 26.74 smashes the new record and finished top 10 and just outside the final spots.
Both Conor and Danielle were selected for this team with Conor on the lead of leg and Danielle on the glory leg at the end. Conor posted a seasons best and D once again produced a 24.0 to secure a final spot. In the Final the team once again broke the Irish Senior record.
The last day of a long meet can be a tough one to get right with tired bodies and minds that are harder to focus so it’s important to stick to your routines and focus on the process.
Danielle 50 FREE
This record has been switch back and forth between D and Mona for about 2 years now. Each time they break it they lower it by a few hundredths. At BUCS D lowered Mona’s time of 50.03 to 25.00.
The heats saw Danielle produce a new mark of 24.7 to become the fastest female in Irish history and move thru to the semi final. As if that wasn’t enough she then produced an even better swim to lower the Irish standard to 24.44 agonisingly close to getting a 3rd swim finishing in a tie for 9th.
Conor 50 BC
The men’s 50 BC is always incredibly tight and in a blanket finish Conors time of 23.86 was just outside the top 16 places.
Mens medley relay
Conor is staking a claim for the lead out legs of the men’s medley events and will have done himself no harm at all touching in 23.66 (a new Ulster senior record and a time that wud have progressed to the semi final of the individual) helping the team of Darragh Greene, Shane Ryan and Jordan Sloan set a new Irish mark.
High drama in the last final of the week saw 3 teams disqualified and the Irish finish in 6th
Women’s Medley relay.
Danielle’s spot at the Backstroke lead off is secured and she delivered again with a great swim to help the team set yet another Irish senior record.
A fantastic week of racing and confidence building heading into the next block of work and heading to trials in April.
9 best times
7 Ulster records
5 Irish records (4 relay records)
2 relay finals