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McMahon leads way as records haul builds confidence

IRELAND'S Sycerika McMahon finished her campaign at the European short course championships in Chartres, France by just missing out on another bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke final.

Despite yet another Irish senior record (1:06.18), the 17-year-old from the Leander club in Belfast finished fourth behind gold medallist Rikke Pedersen of Denmark, who set a new European record of 1:04.12, silver medallist Petra Chocova, 1:05.50, and Marina Garcia, 1:05.82.

McMahon, who had won 50m breaststroke bronze earlier in the championships, also finished seventh in the 100m individual medley relay on Saturday night with an Irish senior record of 1:01.12.

Swim Ireland high performance director Peter Banks said: "Sycerika had nine Irish records and you really can't ask for more than that. Of course it's disappointing for her to miss out on a medal but she did another best time and she has had a fantastic meet.

"We have ended the championships with 21 new Irish records, we've had a great team atmosphere with the 10 swimmers here and the more junior swimmers have seen what can be achieved. There's now an expectation within the squad to have people in finals, which is great."

Dubliner Barry Murphy finished sixth in the 50m breaststroke final on Saturday night in a new Irish record of 26.60 and yesterday set two further national records in the 50m butterfly, making the semi-finals in 23.62 before finishing 15th overall with a new best of 23.57.

Murphy, who recently returned from Michigan to train at the NAC High Performance Centre in Dublin, said: "I'm very pleased with my week, I'm only back training six weeks so I'm thinking that with a few more weeks behind me I could have got a medal in the 50m breast. It was a very fast final which surprised me a bit but it just reminds you that this sport is relentless."

Brendan Hyland (25.05) set another Irish junior record in the 50m butterfly heats before joining team-mates Brendan Gibbons, David O'Sullivan and Cian Duffy to set their second Irish junior relay record of the championships in the 4x50m medley relay, clocking 1:35.53.

Irish Independent