Wednesday 21 March 2018

Meegan secures classy double

swimming tennis cycling

DUBLINER Andrew Meegan produced a stunning performance to win gold in the 800m freestyle at the Irish long course championships in the National Aquatic Centre yesterday.

Meegan, who won gold in the 1500m on Thursday, showed his class again when he managed to hold off the major threat of the American Clay Youngquist.

The 19-year-old and Youngquist served up a great encounter as they battled stroke for stroke. The NAC crowd were willing the local man to victory and just when it seemed Youngquist was going to edge ahead, Meegan dug deep to finish in 8:15.40, just 0.35 ahead of his rival.

The Aer Lingus clubman has taken his game to a new level at these championships and it augurs well for the rest of the long course season.

Tennessee-based Barry Murphy won his 100m breaststroke semi-final in 1.03.10, qualifying fastest for today's final and he will be hoping to dip under 1:02.47 in order to qualify for the European Championships in Budapest this summer.

European record-holder Hannah Miley, swimming for Scottish team Garioch, demonstrated her class in the final of the 400m individual medley, finishing 10 seconds ahead of 15-year-old Sycerika McMahon in 4:41.61. McMahon clocked 4.51.65 to take silver and the national title.

Dolphin's Sean Leahy claimed the men's 400m medley title in 4:31.45, ahead of Castlebar's Nicholas Quinn and Meegan.

Fernando Verdasco extended his impressive form on clay with a gruelling 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 win over Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters quarter-finals yesterday.

The sixth-seeded Verdasco has reached the final of his last two events, losing to Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters and winning last week's Barcelona Open. In the semi-finals, Verdasco will face David Ferrer, who cruised past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-1.

Nadal beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals.

Australian Michael Rogers seized the overall lead in the Tour de Romandie after the third-stage individual time-trial yesterday, while little-known compatriot Richie Porte won the day's laurels.

Porte, a 25-year-old former triathlon specialist, who started riding only four years ago, caused a major upset by winning in 30 minutes 54 seconds, outclassing the favourites over 23.4km.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was second, 26 seconds behind, with Russian Vladimir Karpets third.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished in 49th place, one minute and 55 seconds behind the stage winner, and drops down the overall placings to 34th.

Meanwhile, David McCann retained his overall lead in the Jelajah Malaysia on the penultimate stage over 93.1km yesterday.

The stage was won by Suhardi Hassan, with McCann 23rd, thus retaining his 20-second advantage over closest challenger Takumi Beppu. The five-day event finishes today.

Irish Independent

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