THE highlight of Aer Lingus's medal haul at the National Short Course Championships in Lisburn came in spectacular fashion as the Junior Men's 4x100 Medley Relay team of Rory McMonagle, Sean O'Brien, Ben Griffin and Conor Turner shattered the Irish record to clinch gold.
With the crowd responding with every change-over and the decibel level increasing as each team member swam out of their skins, it was down to Turner on the Freestyle anchor leg to bring them home in a new Irish Junior Record - by half a second - of 3:55.00. An overjoyed team said afterwards that the atmosphere was electric and it was probably the best race they had been involved in. Other gold medal performances from Aer Lingus swimmers over the 25m pool format included that of Andrew Meegan (22) in the 400m Freestyle, who touched in 3:53.78. Barry Murphy (23) continued his preparation for the World Championships in the 100m Freestyle, winning in a time of 49.96, while Ali Berry (15) swam majestically to claim her first National Senior title in the 1500m Freestyle in a time of 17:36.27. Ben Griffin (16) capped a fine weekend by claiming his first Senior National title in the 200 breaststroke, holding off a determined Emmet Crowley of Mallow in a time of 2:21.84. There was also success for the 4x50m Freestyle Relay team of Andrew Meegan, Sean O'Brien, Conor Turner and Barry Murphy, with Murphy swimming a 22-second anchor leg for a gold medal time of 1:36.22. Aer Lingus signed off in style with gold in the final race of the weekend, the 4x100m Freestyle relay. The team of Andrew Meegan, Sean O'Brien, Ben Griffin and Conor Turner commanded the field to take the title in 3:32.73.