Conor Ferguson sets personal best to make European final

Ferguson booked his spot in the 50m backstroke final at the LEN European Aquatics Championships after a semi-final that saw a new world record set
Conor Ferguson sets personal best to make European final

Conor Ferguson celebrates qualifying for the final. Picture: INPHO/Andrea Staccioli

Larne swimmer Conor Ferguson booked his spot in the 50m backstroke final at the LEN European Aquatics Championships after a semi-final that saw a new world record set.

The 21-year-old posted a time of 25.21 in the 50m backstroke heats, earning lane one in the second semi-final. 

He was fastest off at the start and powered home to finish fourth in a personal best of 24.81. The winner, Kliment Koleshnikov, set a new world record of 23.93.

Ferguson’s performance was enough to see him advance to Tuesday night’s final in sixth position.

Longford’s Darragh Greene was also in semi-final action, swimming 1:00.26 in the 100m breaststroke. That was not enough to advance to the final but he's expected in action again this week in the 200m breaststroke and could feature in Ireland’s men’s and mixed 4x100m medley relays.

Ireland’s bid for Olympic relay qualification got off to a good start on Monday morning when the men’s and women’s 4x100m freestyle relay teams set new Irish senior records.

The women’s quartet of Mona McSharry, Danielle Hill, Victoria Catterson, and Erin Riordan swam 3:44.37, lowering the record set in 2009 by almost three seconds. They finished fifth in their heat and 12th overall.

In the men’s event, Jack McMillan, Jordan Sloan, Shane Ryan, and Max McCusker came home in 3:16.88, bettering the time that was set by McMillan, Sloan, Ryan, and Robbie Powell at the 2019 World Championships.

They also finished 12th, meaning that neither relay team advanced to the final but both did advance their chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Games.

Tuesday’s schedule also features Mona McSharry in the 100m breaststroke and a first-ever Irish appearance in the mixed 4x200m freestyle relay. The team consists of McCusker, Brendan Hyland, Naomi Trait, and Catterson.

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