McCullagh International Open Meet: Day 1 Prelims Roundup

by Lydia Ferrari Kehoe 7

February 20th, 2020 Britain, Europe

McCullagh International Open Meet 2020

The McCullagh International Open Meet kicked off today at the Bangor Aurora Complex in Northern Ireland, the first of 4 days of racing. The meet is laid out as the Olympics will be this summer, with prelims in the evening and finals in the morning. As we reported last month, a number of British athletes will be in action this weekend including Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott, as well as a host of others International names.

The first event of the evening resulted in an Irish Senior Record for the team from ARDS (Amelia KaneRebecca ReidEllie McKibbinVictoria Catterson) in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay. They touched in a time of 8:28.85, knocking down the previous mark of 8:34.21 set by UCD in 2013.

Commonwealth Champion Aimee Willmott leads the field ahead of the women’s 400IM final tomorrow morning after her prelims swim of 4:39.61. Seeded 2nd and 3rd behind her are 16-year-old Katie Shanahan and IM veteran Hannah Miley, who went 4:47.09 and 4:49.71, respectively.

World Championship bronze medalist Luke Greenbank and World University Games bronze medalist Joe Litchfield were both up in the men’s 50m backstroke. A strong start from Litchfield secured the top seed time for him ahead of tomorrow’s semi final with 25.82, while Greenbank goes in 3rd with 26.24. He is followed closely by Rory McEvoy of the National Centre Dublin who touched in 26.30.

In the women’s equivalent, Irish Senior Record holder Danielle Hill qualifies in 28.78 (her record sitting at 27.95), while University of Stirling swimmer Kathleen Dawson leads the strong field with 28.36.

The 100m freestyle delivered fast heat swims across the board for both men and women. Mona McSharry (57.90)and Maria Godden (57.60) were the only two women under the 58 mark. In the men’s field, Duncan Scott was the only swimmer under the 50 mark with 49.11. Rio 2016 Olympian Shane Ryan goes in behind him with 50.12.

The visiting British swimmers dominated the field in the women’s 200m butterfly, with Commonwealth 2018 champion in this event Alys Thomas leading the way in 2:10.81, 3 seconds off her entry time of 2:07.40. She is followed closely by Loughborough’s Charlotte Atkinson in 2:11.45 and Hannah Miley with 2:18.05, who undertook the gruelling 400IM, 200 fly double this evening.

The men’s 200m butterfly saw Olympic hopeful Brendan Hyland in action. He eased back on the 3rd 50 yet still posted a respectable 2:01.59 ahead of tomorrow morning’s final (the Olympic A standard sitting at 1:56.48 and Hyland’s PB 1:56.55). He’ll be up against Edward Mildred and Max Litchfield tomorrow who posted times of 1:59.66 and 2:01.39, respectively.

The final individual event of the evening saw stacked fields in both the men’s and women’s 100m breaststroke events. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (1:07.48), Molly Renshaw (1:08.37) and Mona McSharry (1:08.48) were the fastest three qualifiers for the women while in the men’s, World Record holder Adam Peaty put on an impressive display as he cruised to touch in 58.90.

In the second round of relays of the night, City of Glasgow led both the men’s field (3:53.77) and the women’s (4:23.96) in the 4x100m medley relay.


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1 year ago

I know Peaty’s an absolute machine and doing insane things is just what he does, but 58.9 in the prelims of a tune up meet in mid February is unreal. That would have won US Trials in 2016.

1 year ago

1:07.48 heat swim from Siobhan-Marie O’Connor is a good sign, only went 0.2 seconds quicker than that at trials last year

Sapnu puas
1 year ago

Not Miss Willmott going two seconds faster in a heat swim in February than she did at the world champs. Swimming can be strange huh. Also, I’ve prematurely decided miss Siobhan is BACK, going to storm to an Olympic medal in 200IM and secure a solid placing in Olympic final for 4×100 and 4x200m freetstyle, all thanks to a fairly good 100m breastroke heat swim here in February. You love to see it

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 year ago

I don’t want to guarantee anything with Siobhan. But, if she stays healthy I think she is in with a fighting chance of getting at least a step closer to her old form.

1 year ago

Suspect people were swimming pretty hard heats in anticipation for evening heats in Tokyo. Encouraging swims all round.

Thomas Selig
1 year ago

I think Dee’s right in that quite a few swimmers are going hard in prelims, and really using this meet’s format as prep for Tokyo conditions. Some good signs:
– SMOC’s 100 breast, not far off her best from last year. Really, really hope she can get back to her best.
– Mildred had a pretty decent 100 free, 200 fly double. Swam I think a PB, or at least close to it, in the 100 free.
– Scott’s 49.1 is pretty handy for him in season. He looked really smooth, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him roughly match his 48.5 from last week in the final. I really think we’ll see a big drop… Read more »

Reply to  Thomas Selig
1 year ago

Was really wondering why Abbie Wood was making these sudden drops but I have realised that it’s probably because she is now training alongside SMOC who probably pushes her in practice.