Conor Ferguson Stakes Claim On 100 Back On Day 1 Of Irish Olympic Trials


The 2024 Irish Open Championships started today from Dublin with the nation’s best swimmers vying for slots on the Olympic roster for this summer’s Games in Paris, France.

A handful of athletes have already qualified, courtesy of performances at the 2023 World Championships and 2024 World Championships, but plenty of lineup spots are still looking for an Irish swimmer to make the grade.

The men’s 100m back is one such event, with 25-year-old Conor Ferguson wasting no time throwing his cap into the potential qualification ring.

Ferguson fired off an impressive performance of 53.87 in this morning’s prelims, a mark sitting just .13 shy of the 53.74 Olympic Qualification Standard. His time shaved .03 off his previous best-ever result of 53.90 clocked in Doha.

He added slightly during this evening’s semi-final to register 54.12 but still maintained the pole position for tomorrow night’s final. Chasing him is 17-year-old John Shortt who nabbed the only other sub-55-second performance in 54.70 as the 2nd seed.

National record holder Ellen Walshe dove in for the heats of the women’s 200m IM, an event in which she’s already qualified for Paris as a result of her 2023 World Championships performance.

In Fukuoka, University of Tennessee’s Walshe crushed a new Irish standard of 2:10.92 en route to placing 9th overall. The nation’s selection policy states that swimmers must also contest their pre-qualified event at these championships, so she contested the prelims and logged 2:11.95 to take the top spot by over 6 seconds.

After Walshe dropped this evening’s final, Ellie McCartney stepped up with a time of 2:14.92 to earn the lane 4 privilege for the main event tomorrow.

19-year-old Evan Bailey nailed a new big-time lifetime best in the heats of the men’s 200m free, capturing the #1 seed in a time of 1:48.49.

Bailey opened in 53.06 and closed in 55.43 to set himself up for success, overtaking his previous PB of 1:50.63 to dip under the 1:50 barrier for the first time in his young career.

He added slightly in the semi-final but still kept his pole position in 1:48.73 for tomorrow evening’s medal-contending contest.

Already qualified for the Paris Games, Daniel Wiffen struck a new championship record in the heats of the men’s 800m free.

Loughborough-trained Wiffen clocked 7:51.47 to outswim his twin brother Nathan Wiffen who established a short-lived championship record and new personal best of 7:56.40 just minutes earlier in this morning’s session.

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Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

Is finals televised? Youtube? Peacock?

NornIron Swim
Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

There might be a stream on the SwimIreland website.

1 month ago

Some very good times, and as ever impressed by the way Ulster swimmers punch above their weight in Ireland.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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