Swimming: Harrison happy despite missing out on final spot
RYAN Harrison just missed out on making the final of the 200m freestyle at the European Long Course Championships in Budapest yesterday.
Harrison, who qualified 11th fastest for the semi-finals, clocked 1:49.04 to finish 10th overall, an agonising 0.12 secs away from sneaking into today's final.
Harrison said: "I was a lot smarter than in the morning heats. There were still things that I could have done better, but it's exciting because I know I can go faster. There's much more to come, though obviously I'm disappointed not to have made the final.
"I've been based in the National Aquatic Centre over the summer and I'll stay there working with Paul Donovan leading up to the Commonwealth Games.
"It worked well for me after coming back from my base at the University of Tennessee."
Irish performance director Peter Banks was encouraged by Harrison's performance and feels he can look forward with some confidence to the Commonwealth Games in October.
Banks said: "It was a very good performance from Ryan, though he knows he could have gone quicker and he was just a fraction away from the final.
"But, you know, he has gained a lot of confidence from these championships and he has to be looking at making a final next time. He's making good progress."
Banks also believes these championships are demonstrating the change in mindset of Irish swimmers, who are now expecting to be in finals.
"I would say that a couple of years ago there were Irish swimmers who were just happy to qualify for a major meet like this, but that has gone. Now our swimmers are only happy if they are making finals or challenging for those final spots," he added.
"That is the way it has to be and it's not just with our senior swimmers, but our junior swimmers as well. We have seen that with Grainne Murphy last year winning European junior gold and this year with Sycerika McMahon making finals and getting a bronze.
"The whole mindset of the sport is changing and developing and that is encouraging for me and for the future of the sport."
Earlier in the day, Clare Dawson clocked 57.72 for the 100m freestyle, a second off her personal best, though her main event, the 200m free, is coming later in the week.
IRISH IN ACTION today
800m freestyle and 200IM : Grainne Murphy. 100m backstroke: Melanie Nocher. 200m breaststroke: Andrew Bree. Heats commence at 8.30 Irish time.
Live, Eurosport 8.30, 2.30, 4.0.