Ireland’s senior swimmers will be in competitive action this weekend as the 10-strong team begin racing at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea.
The team, who will race from July 4th – 11th, is led by 2011 World University Games medalist Fiona Doyle. The 23 year old has risen through the ranks to become one of Ireland’s top swimmers in recent years, all while completing five years studying Kinesiology at the University of Calgary in Canada.
Doyle, who just missed out on the Olympic Games in 2012, won Silver in the 100m Breaststroke at the World University Games in Kazan in 2013 in a time that was under the 2016 Olympic qualification time. She was also just one hundredth of a second off Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke.
The Limerick woman will be looking to make the 100m Breaststroke Final and go under the qualification time for Rio 2016 when she takes to the pool on Sunday (5th July), with standard at the meet expected to be extremely high in the year before the Games.
In order for Doyle to be Ireland’s first swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Games she will need to swim under 1:07.85, she is the current Irish record holder in 1:07.66.
Doyle is joined in South Korea by London 2012 Olympian Sycerika McMahon. McMahon, from Portaferry, Co. Down, is currently studying at Texas A&M University, she also be seeking Rio qualification with her best chances coming in the 100m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley.
Wexford’s Grainne Murphy returns to international competition at the Games, she will compete in her favoured 800m and 1500m Freestyle as well as the 400m Freestyle. Murphy’s first event will be the heats of the 1500m Freestyle on Sunday.
There is a trio of UCD swimmers representing Ireland at the Games, Alex Murphy, Shauna O’Brien (Waterford) and Shani Stallard (Kilkenny) will all compete tomorrow. Murphy is part of the World Championship team for Kazan in August while O’Brien recently broke the 100m Butterfly Irish Senior Record and will look to lower that in the event heats on Tuesday (7th).
Nicolas Quinn (Castlebar) and Daniel Sweeney (Sunday’s Well, Cork) are Ireland’s 200m Breaststroke specialists while Jordan Sloan (Bangor) will swim his main event, the 200m Freestyle on Sunday.
Chris Bryan will be the final Irish swimmer in action in Gwangju when he competes in the 10K Open Water race on Saturday 11th July. This will be the Clare man’s final preparation race before his first opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Games at the World Championships in Kazan.
Day 1 Schedule
W 50m Butterfly: Shauna O’Brien
W 400m Individual Medley: Shani Stallard
M 100m Breaststroke: Alex Murphy, Nicholas Quinn
World University Games Squad
Fiona Doyle (Uni of Calgary/Portmarnock SC), Sycerika McMahon (Texas A&M/Leander SC), Dan Sweeney (Loughborough University/Sunday’s Well SC), Nicholas Quinn (Uni of Edinburgh/Castlebar SC), Alex Murphy (UCD), Shauna O’Brien (UCD), Shani Stallard (UCD), Grainne Murphy (University of Limerick/New Ross SC), Jordan Sloan (Ulster University/Bangor SC), Chris Bryan (University of Limerick/Ennis SC)
Swimming news courtesy of Swim Ireland.