Thursday 18 January 2018

Swimming: O'Neill eyes fresh record

Mark O'Driscoll

DONAL O'NEILL is one of many expected to set new standards at the Irish Open short course swimming championships, which start today at the NAC in Abbottstown.

The veteran backstroker has been a revelation since returning to the sport last year and continued his staggering comeback last weekend when clocking two new Irish records.

O'Neill, who is based at the NAC's new High Performance Centre, set a new record of 25.02 for the 50m back and 53.43 over the longer distance.

The Dublin financier is just one member of the Irish team aiming to use the nationals as preparation for next month's European short course championships in Istanbul.

Another of these is Niamh Sullivan, who is based in Limerick. She also delivered a new Irish record in Berlin when clocking 8:38.02 for the 800m freestyle.

Ulsterman Michael Dawson is also in good form coming into the nationals, having snatched the five-year-old 50m breaststroke Irish junior record held by Barry Murphy, touching in a new best of 28.99 at the British Universities gala in Sheffield at the weekend.

Also in action this week will be European junior champion Grainne Murphy and 2008 Olympian Aisling Cooney.

Ireland's European Championships team -- Donal O'Neill; Conor Leaney; Steven McQuillan; Michael Dawson; Aisling Cooney; Grainne Murphy; Melanie Nocher; Nuala Murphy; Niamh O'Sullivan; Clare Dawson.

Irish Independent

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