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Athletics: Murphy and McMahon strike gold

BARRY Murphy and Sycerika McMahon were the outstanding swimmers on the opening night of the Irish short course championships in Lisburn.

Murphy, who was forced to miss last week's European short course championships in Poland due to illness, returned to the pool and in his first final set a new Irish senior record of 53.34 to win gold in the 100m butterfly. The previous best was Steven McQuillan's 54.06.

London 2012-bound Murphy then went on to win the 50m breaststroke (27.53) and 100m individual medley (55.71), before completing a quartet of gold in the men's 4x50m medley team relay with Aer Lingus. The team of Murphy, Sean O'Brien, Conor Turner and Andrew Meegan, claimed victory in 1:47.42.

"To come to the nationals and set a new Irish record in an event I don't normally do, is very encouraging," the Michigan-based Murphy said. "I feel very good overall with how I have performed and I'm looking forward to the rest of the meet."

European junior champion McMahon lifted three gold medals and all in new Irish-record times.

Northerner McMahon (16) broke her own Irish senior and junior record by a tenth of a second in the 100m breaststroke, clocking 1:07.83 before going on to enjoy a junior record-breaking swim in the 200m butterfly final, touching in 2:13.52.

The hat-trick was sealed when she broke Grainne Murphy's senior 200m individual medley record of 2:12.86, winning in 2:12.41.

Results in Factfile

Irish Independent