THE rise of Irish swimming on the international stage was enhanced further yesterday when the relay team of Conor Turner, Philip Duffy, Nicholas Quinn and Luke Campbell set a national junior record in the 4x200m freestyle at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade.
The boys came home a very respectable 14th overall in 7:54.08, missing out on the semi-finals, but nevertheless demonstrating Ireland's growing strength in depth in the sport, which is celebrating the double gold success of northern teenager Sycerika McMahon.
McMahon will today bid to make it a golden treble after qualifying third fastest for the final of the 200m freestyle in the Tasmajdan Swimming Complex in Belgrade.
The County Down star, who has already won 50m breaststroke and 400m free golds, finished third in the semi-finals yesterday with a time of 2:02.32.
The fastest qualifier was Austrian Eva Chavez-Diaz, 2:01.31, with Amelia Maughan of Britain coming second fastest in 2:02.09.
The Irish team believe that McMahon, who also qualified for the 100m butterfly semi-finals before withdrawing, can secure the gold medal if she repeats or betters her personal best of 2:00.79.
Commenting on the Irish performances, national performance director Peter Banks said: "We are now halfway through this competition and it is great to see so many strong performances from the entire squad in Belgrade.
"The Irish boys should be really proud and, hopefully, they continue to improve after setting new records in both the relay events and recording best times in their individual swims.
"Sycerika McMahon has been dominating her events, with the two gold medals so far a real bonus for the Irish team."
Also yesterday, Jane Roberts (Kilkenny SC) set personal best times in both the 50m backstroke (31.53) and 200m freestyle (2:08.82), while Nicholas Quinn (Castlebar SC) set a personal best in the heats of the 50m breaststroke, finishing in a time of 30.50.
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