Walshe smashes national 100m butterfly record on hectic opening night

Templeogue swimmer kicked off Irish Open by breaking 58 seconds in the final to clock the eighth-fastest time in the World this season 
Walshe smashes national 100m butterfly record on hectic opening night

RED HOT: Ellen Walshe broke 59 seconds in bboth the 100m Butterfly heat and final. File pic: INPHO

Ellen Walshe highlighted the opening night of the Irish Open Swimming Championships at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre in Dublin, with a new Irish Senior Record and Championship Record in the 100m Butterfly.

Walshe, who was the first Irish swimmer to swim under 1 minute in the 100m Butterfly in 2020, broke 59 seconds for the first time in Saturday morning’s heats in 58.32. The Templeogue swimmer then broke 58 seconds in the final to clock the eighth-fastest time in the World this season in a blistering 57.96.

Walshe’s time was under the World Aquatics ‘A’ time for the 2023 World Championships in Japan and the consideration time for the European U23 Championships in Dublin in August.

"I wasn’t really expecting it this morning," said a delighted Walshe. "I’ve been training IM (Individual Medley) rather than Butterfly, it’s nice to go back to an event that I kind of stepped away from for quite a while, and come back with no nerves I guess."

Walshe is back in action Sunday in the 100m Breaststroke.

Danielle Hill retained her fastest-ever Irish female title, winning the 50m Freestyle in a great battle with Mona McSharry and Erin Riordan. Hill clocked 25.35 ahead of McSharry’s 25.39 and Riordan’s 25.76. In fourth place, Grace Davison set a new Irish Junior Record of 25.88, breaking Danielle Hill’s 2016 standard of 26.08. The time was also good enough to have the National Centre Ulster swimmer considered for the European Junior Championships and European U23 Championships.

Daniel Wiffen, already with a consideration time for the World Championships after his silver medal win at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, set the first Championship Record of the Meet in this morning’s 400m Freestyle Heats. Wiffen touched in 3:51.17 in that heat, a time good enough for European U23 Championships consideration. The Loughborough swimmer went on to win the National Title in 3:52.83 and was joined on the podium by his twin brother Nathan who claimed silver in 3:54.65 and National Centre Limerick’s Finn McGeever (3:54.95). In the same race National Centre Limerick’s Denis O’Brien posted a time of 4:07.64 that ensures he will be considered for the European Youth Olympic Festival.

In the Women’s 400m Freestyle Final, 18-year-old Grace Hodgins topped the podium in 4:17.73, under the consideration time for the European U23 Championships. Hodgins Trojan team-mate Rebekah Friel was second in 4:23.53 with National Centre Limerick’s Ella Carroll third in 4:33.64.

Eoin Corby and Darragh Greene had a titanic battle in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final. Corby, of National Centre Limerick, got to the wall just .02 ahead of National Centre Dublin’s Greene (1:01.02) in 1:01.00. Corby’s time will see him considered for the European U23 Championships. Liam O’Connor, in sixth, also posted a consideration time for the U23 Championships as well as the European Junior Championships.

Shane Ryan was impressive in winning the 50m Backstroke, taking the Irish Title half a second ahead of second placed John Shortt of National Centre Limerick in 25.67. Swim Belfast’s Brandon Biss completed the podium in 27.19.

National Centre Limerick’s Jack Cassin closed out the day with a win in the 200m Butterfly as the only swimmer under the 2-minute mark in 1:59.72, bringing the number of swimmers under consideration for the European U23 Championships to seven after one day of competition.

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