Phil Healy came within one-hundredth of a second of her 400m personal best as she burst into the European Indoor Championship semi-finals, with Nadia Power also advancing in the 800m.
Paired in a heat with reigning champion Lea Sprunger, Healy led the field around to finish in a time of exactly 52 seconds, with the Swiss athlete trailing after Healy for the second automatic qualification spot.
But for a slight ease up, the Bandon sprinter would have broken her 51.99 PB but she keeps fuel in the tank for Friday evening's semi-finals, at 6.33pm, which could well see that mark beaten.
Fastest qualifiers for the women's 400m semifinals in #Torun2021.— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) March 5, 2021
🇮🇪 Healy 52.00
🇵🇱 Swiety-Ersetic 52.06
🇬🇧 Knight 52.17
🇨🇭 Sprunger 52.25
🇧🇪 Bolingo 52.27
🇬🇧 J Williams 52.35
All three Dutch 🇳🇱 athletes qualified automatically: Klaver (52.74), Bol (52.77) and De Witte (52.82). pic.twitter.com/qgVUZu3Swh
Healy was also the fastest winner in any heat, 0.06 faster than home favourite Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, to earn herself a favourable lane for the semi-final.
National 400m champion Sophie Becker missed out on qualification despite a good performance, finishing third in her heat in a time of 53.31 behind Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands and Ukraine's three-time European medallist Anna Ryzhykova.
Sharlene Mawdsley finished last of five in her first major championship at senior level. The Tipperary athlete featured prominently in the first half of the race before fading in the sprint to the line, clocking 53.68 behind Greece's Irini Vasiliou.
What a run by Phil Healy. Looked really strong to win that heat in the 400m☘️🤞semi final on tonight.— Derval O'Rourke (@DervalORourke) March 5, 2021
Nadia Power qualified for the 800m semi-finals with a strong run behind Poland's Anna Wielgosz to finish second with the top-three qualifying. In the fastest 800m heat, Power was perched on Wielgosz's shoulder throughout and a stumble by the Netherlands' Britt Ummels ended any contest for those qualifying positions.
Power's 2:03.16 time saw her advance as the second-fastest qualifier across all heats.
In an earlier heat, Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner was disappointed to exit the 800m in a time of 2:04.47. The national record-breaker was a surprise fourth-place finisher, closing in the final straight but never looking like catching Spain's Daniela Garcia for third.
Georgie Hartigan also finished fourth in her heat, crossing in a time of 2:04.74. Hartigan briefly held the lead with 300m to go but slipped to fourth on the final lap and couldn't break back into the qualifying places.