Danielle Hill, Victoria Catterson Post Irish Records in Dublin at Day 2 Finals

2021 IRISH NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS

The Irish Olympic Trials continued today in Dublin, with eight events running finals and three running semifinals. At this meet, athletes must finish top two and under the FINA ‘A’ cut to be considered for Olympic roster nomination, and times will be considered from prelims, semifinals and finals.

Danielle Hill lowered her own Irish record in the 100 back final, taking it from 1:00.48 done in semifinals last night down to a 1:00.34. She’s painfully close to the FINA ‘A’ cut, which sits at 1:00.25, but has come down from her initial record of 1:00.90 coming into this meet, a time done in February 2020.

“Yesterday after the semi-final I was probably more disappointed than I am now,” said Hill after the race. “I had completely forgotten about today’s second opportunity. You just get caught up in this bubble, and I have got to remember that last year my focus was the 50 Free and we changed it because we had an extra year.”

“Peter (Hill, coach) said after that race – the 100 back – that had this meet not had ‘Trials’ in front of it in the name I would have taken someone’s hand off to come away with those two Irish records. So I can’t be disappointed and there are more opportunities. The only pressure I’ve really felt is from myself. I have the best support around me and the best team around me.”

Hill can indeed swim for the nomination in about a month at the European Championships.

In the women’s 100 free semis, Victoria Catterson swam to the leading time of 55.44, over a second ahead of the field. She’s about a second off of the 54.38 cut needed, but her time nabs her the Irish record. She’s the first Irish woman under 56 seconds in the event, the 20-year-old erasing Hill’s mark of 56.01 from 2019.

Four men broke 1:50 in the 200 free final, led by Jack McMillan at 1:47.67, touching ahead of Jordan Sloan (1:48.38). Neither were able to hit the ‘A’ cut of 1:47.02, and McMillan’s best time came from prelims at 1:47.43. Finn McGeever was third in 1:49.04, while Gerry Quinn nabbed fourth in 1:49.41. Ireland’s 800 free relay still appears to hold the #4 (and final) wildcard spot to be invited to Tokyo, based on their performance at 2019 Worlds, and the Irish selection standards say that the top four swimmers in a freestyle event will be considered for a relay that is invited.

After setting the Irish records in the heats and then coming just a tenth off in semis, Darragh Greene clocked a 1:00.08 to win the 100 breast tonight, just over 19-year-old Eoin Corby (1:00.21). Corby was 1:00.15 in semis, and he again comes just off of the 59.93 ‘A’ cut.

Mona McSharry had massive swims in prelims and semis, going 1:06.97 in prelims to become the first sub-1:07 female Irish breaststroker in history and then blasting a 1:06.29 in semis. Tonight, though, the rising Tennessee sophomore was well off of form, going 1:08.92 ahead of Niamh Coyne (1:09.08). Coyne was also well off of her semis swim, which was a 1:07.58 and just off of the ‘A’ cut of 1:07.07.

OTHER TOP FINISHES

  • 20-year-old Paddy Johnston took the 200 fly win in 1:58.81, with Brendan Hyland second in 1:59.96. Hyland was looking like the favorite after semis, where he went 1:57.86, but he’s been off of his 1:56.55 Irish record from 2019 Worlds.
  • Tennessee commit Ellen Walshe was the fastest finisher in the 100 fly semis, going 1:00.12 after a 1:00.08 in prelims. She’s the Irish record-holder at 59.54 from January 2020.
  • Conor Ferguson posted a 54.57 in the 100 back final, adding a couple of tenths from semis. He’s just short of the 53.85 ‘A’ cut.
  • Calum Bain sprinted to the top 50 free semis time on the men’s side, going 22.46 after a 22.32 in prelims. He’ll have to get past a 2009 Irish record of 22.14 to hit the ‘A’ cut of 22.01.
  • 16-year-old Grace Hodgins won the women’s 800 free, posting a 9:10.73.
  • In the men’s 800 free, Liam Custer, who lives and trains in Florida and holds the U.S. NAG record in the 15-16 1650 free, won the race at 8:14.98.

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Dee
5 months ago

Lots of PBs and a fair few Olympic cuts in Ireland over the past two days – Clear progress for Irish swimming.

Separately, looking at the winning clubs, why is Northern Ireland so dominant? McMillan, Sloan, Catterson, Hill, Bain, Ferguson, Johnston etc… Just more established clubs?

Last edited 5 months ago by Dee
RB.SWM
Reply to  Dee
5 months ago

I don’t really know. Historically facilities were better in North but that isn’t the case since at least mid-2000s. At Age Group level swimmers from South show just as much potential. I guess the stronger swimmers in North for whatever reason seem more willing to “stick with it” come mid-teens. South not helped by the number of sports organisations competing for youngsters – certain schools / areas offering all of rugby, GAA and soccer with all having a similar high profile. Less likely all would be offered in a N Ireland school.

SwimSider
Reply to  Dee
5 months ago

Do they not just represent those clubs Nationally, despite training elsewhere? McSharry is in USA.

Dee
Reply to  SwimSider
5 months ago

I don’t think any of those mentioned have trained in the US. Calum Bain trained in the UK, and I think Catterson did at one point too, but pretty sure the rest all train in NI.

SwimSider
Reply to  Dee
5 months ago

My geography of Ireland is not strong, seems to be balance between NI ‘clubs’ and Republic based NC Dublin and Limerick.

Bain is registered as University of Stirling on the British Rankings.

Last edited 5 months ago by SwimSider
NI Swimming
Reply to  SwimSider
5 months ago

Johnston, Hill, Catterson, McMillan, Sloan etc all based in NI. Some have spent time elsewhere on the Island of Ireland & some on the mainland too. Ferguson was at Ellesmere for a while and Bain has been based at Stirling.

Hmm
Reply to  Dee
5 months ago

From what I know being a swimmer here, people like Ferguson and Bain have trained in the UK, Bain in Stirling atm and Ferguson in millfield I think, in general though you are spot on, the club scene is way better Larne,Bangor,Ards all have serious swimmers..

In the republic the system is quite odd, there’s an intense focus on National centres, ppl tend to go there the earliest chance they get Niamh count Brendan hyland have been there since early teens and recieved a lot of support but that isn’t really there for clubs. Aer lingus has produced Barry Murphy, and a few European level swimmers but that’s about it and UCD has another few but these swimmers tend to… Read more »

Hswimmer
5 months ago

Liam Custer is swimming for Ireland?

Hmm
Reply to  Hswimmer
5 months ago

There’s a good few swimmers that have Irish heritage but don’t live here full time that rep us Custer, Shane Ryan, Molly Mayne, Sean mcnicholl, they usually just rock up for nationals

Swimbob
Reply to  Hmm
4 months ago

Forgive me if I’m wrong but I think Shane Ryan has lived and trained in Dublin for over two years now.

Aquajosh
4 months ago

How can Custer hold a US NAG record if he represents Ireland?

Admin
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 months ago

He is a dual citizen. He does not represent any nation internationally yet – you don’t have to declare sporting citizenship to attempt to represent a country internationally in most cases, just once you’ve actually done so.

SwimRef
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 months ago

Actually, USA Swimming rules require only that a swimmer be an American citizen and be representing a USA swimming club or Swimming unattached. A swimmer’s “sports citizenship” is irrelevant. He/she could represent a foreign country for international competition, but for the NAG must be a US citizen, a USA swimming member, and swimming in a USA swimming meet. I don’t know if this has ever happened, but it is certainly allowed in the rules. A NAG is not the same as an “American” record, which would require the swimmer to be eligible to represent the USA.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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