Swimming: Nationals ideal Euro warm-up for Cooney
OLYMPIAN Aisling Cooney is hoping to use the National Championships as the perfect warm-up for European success next week in Eindhoven.
Backstroker Cooney, who competed in Beijing in 2008, has had a tough year, having failed to qualify for the European Long Course Championships in the summer, but coach Bill McCarthy feels her career is back on track.
The Dubliner will be part of a three-woman squad heading to Eindhoven for the European Short Course Championships on the back of the Nationals, which start today in Galway.
"It's been very difficult for Aisling because I was sick and she had to go down to Limerick to train and that didn't quite work out, but since she has been back working with us in the club, she has been going a lot faster and she's more relaxed," said McCarthy.
"She competed in Berlin a couple of weeks ago and didn't do the times she has been doing in training, but I expect her to be back to her best at the Europeans.
"The Nationals should get her ready for Eindhoven. She's feeling very positive again and she's always been a very determined girl. We're already planning some new training for next year to really push her on -- we have a connection in Sweden, which will be of great benefit."
Meanwhile, Cooney's European team-mate Melanie Nocher is also in great form, having recently set a new short course 400m freestyle record at the British Universities Championships, clocking 4:05.89 -- five seconds quicker than the previous best of Niamh O'Sullivan set two years ago.