2018 McCullagh International Meet
- Friday, February 16th – Sunday, February 18th
- Aurora Complex, Bangor
National record holders Conor Ferguson, Jordan Sloan and Mona McSharry were among the primarily Irish competitors who descended upon the Aurora Complex in Bangor over the weekend to compete at this year’s McCullagh International Meet. The meet is named for the Irish Amateur Swimming Association’s first director, Dave McCullagh, who lost a battle with cancer in 2002.
17-year-old McSharry led the pack with an impressive 6 individual titles through the 3-day affair. She swept her bread-and-butter breaststroke events, taking the 50m sprint in 31.42, the 100m race in 1:08.42 and the 200m distance in 2:31.77. However, the World Junior Champion also made waves in the freestyle sprint races, taking down a national record in the process.
First in the 100m free, McSharry threw down a personal best mark of 56.94 to take the gold in the only sub-57 second time of the field. Entering this year’s meet, McSharry’s career fastest sat at the 57.12 she recorded in Bangor last year. Splitting 26.98/29.96, the teen was able to dip under 57 for the first time and also closer to the Irish National Record. That standard sits at the 56.19 now-retired Sycerika McMahon registered back in 2013.
McSharry’s real fireworks came in the splash n’ dash, where the Marlins swimmer charged to the wall in a new Irish Senior National Record time of 25.60. Taking the win by over a second, McSharry’s mark overtook the previous national standard of 25.85 held by Danielle Hill since just last year. Her outing over the weekend represented the first time McSharry has dipped under 26 seconds, with her previous personal best checking in at the 26.13 she produced at this meet last year.
McSharry also stole the show in the 50m butterfly, where she came within .07 of the national record en route to the top of the podium. 27.06 is what McSharry fired off in Bangor, threatening the 26.99 national record set at this same meet in 2017.
19-year-old Conor Ferguson was another multi-event winner, sweeping his signature backstroke events over the course of the 3 days. Ferguson wrangled in wins in the 50m back in 25.62, the 100m back in 54.79 and the 200m back in 2:00.80. The national record holder’s resume includes respective personal bests of 25.24, 54.51 and 1:58.80 for perspective.
Darragh Greene also did damage across the men’s breaststroke events, sweeping the 50m, 100m, and 200m races. The UCD athlete produced a winning time of 28.30 in the 50m event, while winning the 100m in 1:01.92 and the 200m race in 2:16.96.
Additional notable performances came in the women’s 100m butterfly where 17-year-old Ellen Walshe came out on top in a swift 1:00.91. Brendan Hyland was this weekend’s 100m butterfly winner for the men in a solid 53.94, just over half a second away from his personal best in the event.