Conor Ferguson Again Narrowly Misses Olympic Qualification in Ireland

2016 Irish Open Swimming Championships

Conor Ferguson came agonisingly close to the FINA Olympic A time in winning tonight’s 100m Backstroke Final on the second day of competition at the Irish Open Swimming Championships. The 16-year old clocked a new Irish National Record of 54.41, but was just .05 of a second shy of the required Olympic qualification time of 54.36. The Larne swimmer will have another shot at the time tomorrow as he leads out the Ireland 400m medley relay, where he’ll try to join Shane Ryan, who swam 53.93 at the Dave McCullagh/Swim Ulster International in early March as the second Irish qualifier in the event. Note that while Ryan’s swim from March was technically faster than Ferguson’s swim here, Ferguson’s is actually the new Irish National Record. Ryan is not eligible to represent Ireland internationally until May 13th after switching sporting citizenships from American, and while his Olympic Qualifying Time will carry with him through the change, Irish Swimming is not ratifying his swims in the interim period as National Records.

Mona McSharry was also in impressive form breaking her own Irish Junior Record in the 100m breaststroke semi-final. The 16-year old, who has already qualified for the senior-level European Championships, clocked 1:08.79 to take the middle lane for tomorrow’s final and improve upon her own personal best. Alex Murphy led the field in the men’s event. The UCD student will have another chance to target the Olympic qualifying time in tomorrow’s final after a 1:01.31 swim this evening.

Brendan Hyland collected his second national title of the weekend, with this one coming in the 400m IM final. The Tallaght swimmer added this win to the 200m fly Title in 4:29.87. In the women’s event Galway’s Aoife Shorten clocked 5:03.54 to take the gold medal.

The women’s 100m backstroke final saw Danielle Hill retain her national title in 1:04.25. In the 50m butterfly Shauna O’Brien won with 27.34 seconds while visitor Ivo Staub won the men’s event in 24.58. Conor Munn of Larne was named national champion in the event with a 24.88 second swim.

In the men’s 100 free semi-finals, Gerry Quinn (50.91), whose already got one event win this week, Curtis Coulter (50.94) and David Prendergast (51.08) topped the semi-finals but David Thompson, Calum Bain and Shane Ryan are also contenders for the blue ribbon event. The women’s semi-finals were led by swimmers from Luxembourg, Germany and Scotland with Niamh Kilgallen the best of the Irish swimmers in 58.47.

Friday night’s final event saw Aer Lingus Men (7:56.54) and Ards Women (8:42.35) win the 800m Freestyle Relays. 

Irish Swimming contributed to this report.

Finals Results Day 2

Men 400m IM Final: 1st *R Stacchioti Luxembourg 4:23.08 2nd B Hyland Tallaght 4:29.87 3rd *T Tsiopanis Uni of Bath 4:31.67

Women 400m IM Final: 1st *S Russell Canada 4:52.80 2nd *M Ruszkowska Wales 5:01.11 3rd A Shorten Galway 5:03.54

Men 100m Backstroke Final: 1st C Ferguson Larne 54.41 2nd *S Ryan NAC 54.93 3rd *G Feldbergs Switzerland 55.89

Women 100m Backstroke Final: 1st *K Steins Latvia 1:01.85 2nd D Hill Larne 1:04.25 3rd I Hayes Sundays Well 1:05.03

Men 50m Butterfly Final: 1st *I Staub SK Bern 24.58 2nd *S Ryan NAC 24.63 3rd *T Maurer SK Bern & C Munn Larne 24.88

Women 50m Butterfly Final: 1st S O’Brien UCD 27.34 2nd *D Villars Switzerland 27.69 3rd E Reid Ards 27.74

Men 4x200m Freestyle Team Relay: 1st Aer Lingus 7:56.54 2nd Ennis 8:00.84 3rd Ards 8:10.34

Women 4x200m Freestyle Team Relay: 1st Ards 8:42.35 2nd Sundays Well 8:42.94 3rd Aer Lingus 8:53.64

*foreign swimmer

Qualification Times Met (including from prior selection-eligible meets. Selection of athletes for all events will be made at a later date)

LEN European Swimming & Open Water Championships, 16th – 22nd May, London, United Kingdom

Qualifiers: Fiona Doyle, Christopher Bryan (Open Water, July), Jordan Sloan, Conor Ferguson, Brendan Hyland, Antoinette Neamt, Sycerika McMahon, Dan Sweeney, Nicholas Quinn, Shane Ryan, Alex Murphy, Mona McSharry, Danielle Hill

European Junior Swimming Championships, 6th – 10th July 2016, Hungary

Qualifiers: Rachel Bethel, Niamh Coyne, Conor Ferguson, Danielle Hill, Rory McEvoy, Mona McSharry, Antoinette Neamt, Emma Reid, Ellen Walshe, Gerry Quinn, Iseult Hayes, Emma Moloney, Ally Cunningham, Rebecca Reid

Olympic Games, 6th – 20th August 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Qualifiers: Fiona Doyle (Swimming), Oliver Dingley (Diving), Shane Ryan (Swimming), Nicholas Quinn (Swimming)

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6 years ago

Conor Ferguson will have another chance in two weeks, but even if he doesn’t qualify for the team he is certainly a star for the future. Mona McSharry has impressed as well! Shame Antoinette Neamt hasn’t swam this week yet…

6 years ago

Conor is 17 now I think.

Reply to  Dee
6 years ago

16 DOB:11/10/98

Reply to  Dee
6 years ago

He’s 16 DOB 11th Oct 99

Irish Ringer
6 years ago

The Irish are slowly building their program with this young talent who draw inspiration from the great Connor McGregor.

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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