McMahon latest to secure Olympic qualification

Seventeen-years old Sycerika McMahon, who qualified for the Olympic Games on Tuesday, finished a creditable fifth in the final of the women’s 100 metres breaststroke at the European Swimming championships at Debrecen in Hungary

McMahon was never really in contention to medal and her time of 1.08.72 was .35 of a second slower than her heat and semi-final time which earned her a place at the London Games.

The teenager was entered in the heats of the women’s 200 metres individual medley yesterday morning in Hungary but withdrew to concentrate fully on last night’s final.

However the centre lanes dominated the race as the gold medal went to Germany’s Sarah Poewe in 1.07.33, with Jennie Johansson in silver and Spain’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui in bronze with McMahon, in lane two, back in fifth.

Only three Irish swimmers — Gary O’Toole (Bonn 1989), Michelle Smith (Vienna 1995 and Seville 1997) and Gráinne Murphy (Budapest 2010) have ever medalled at a European Long Course championship.

Dubliner Karl Burdis posted 25.87 in the 50 metres backstroke and that was good enough for the Irish record holder to advance to the semi-finals in 15th. But the NAC based swimmer failed to progress further although he bettered his heat time to 25.78

Melanie Nocher, who also qualified for London yesterday in the 200 metres backstoke, swam the 100 metres backstroke heats and was placed 7th in a modest time of 1.03.43. Nocher failed to make the semi-finals.

Nuala Murphy pulled out of the women’s 800m freestyle to concentrate on the relays later this week.

Today the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team are aiming for Olympic qualification and the team of McMahon, Nocher, Murphy and Bethany Carson will need to post a time which will rank them inside the world’s top 16 to qualify.

Fiona Doyle and Shani Stallard will swim the heats of the 200m breaststroke, while Irish senior record holder Bethany Carson will swim the 100m butterfly.

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