McCullagh Meet Day 3: Hill Becomes Fastest Irish 50 Freestyler Ever


On the heels of two Irish Junior Records falling last night at the Bangor Aquatic Complex, 17-year-old Danielle Hill made her mark on the Irish Senior Record board during tonight’s finals session. Hill broke through the women’s 50m freestyle field with a winning time of 25.94, becoming the first Irish women ever to dip beneath the 26-second threshold in the event.

Prior to tonight’s Hill’s own fastest mark was the 26.08 she earned at this same meet last year. But with tonight’s swift performance, Hill overtook the previous national record of 26.02 held by Julie Douglas since 2002.

Ireland’s Conor Brines picked up where Hill left off, also collecting an Irish Senior Record on the evening. After already having broken the 50m and 100m butterfly short course national records last year, the 21-year-old scored his first long course record en route to winning the 100m butterfly tonight. Splitting 25.06/28.28, the 21-year-old Larne swimmer checked in with a time of 53.34, overtaking the previous national record of 53.59 held by Brendan Hyland since last year.

No records for Mona McSharry tonight, but the 16-year-old did successfully complete her sweep of the breaststroke events. Having already earned wins in the 100m and 200m breast distances, McSharry nabbed gold in the 50m breast in 31.56, while also taking the women’s 200m IM race in 2:19.31. The aforementioned events, along with her earlier 100m freestyle victory, brings McSharry’s total haul to a huge 5 individual gold medals on the competition.

Event sweeps were also completed by a pair of University of Stirling backstrokers, led by Scottish National Record Holder Kathleen Dawson. Dawson broke her own 50m back national mark on night one and followed through with a win in the 100m back. Tonight she finished the trifecta, winning the 200m distance in a time of 2:11.59, a mark that falls within the world’s top 20 outings this season.

Teammate Charlie Boldison also made a clean sweep of the back events, claiming gold in the 200m distance tonight in 2:03.98. He holds a personal best of 1:58.13 from the ASA Youth Championships back in 2014.

Another Stirling swimmer, Duncan Scott, took gold tonight, winning the men’s 200m IM event in a mark of 2:00.49. Scott led a trio of Stirling swimmers in the race, with teammates Dan Wallace and Marty Walton finishing in silver and bronze positions in times of 2:02.44 and 2:04.20, respectively.

Irish swimmers’ next qualifying competition for the European Junior Championships, World Championships, European Youth Olympic Festival, World University Games, European Championships, and World Junior Championships is the Irish Open Championships meet slated for April 6th-9th in Dublin.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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