Shane Ryan, Stirling Studs Benson & Murdoch Entered In McCullagh

The 2016 Swim Ulster International/Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet at the Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex in Northern Ireland is set to take place this weekend, March 4th-6th. The meet is named for the Irish Amateur Swimming Association’s first director, Dave McCullagh, who lost a battle with cancer in 2002.

With the meet serving as a qualifying competition for the European Junior Championships, European Championships, the Olympic Games, as well as being an IPC-sanctioned meet, several key athletes from the UK are slated to compete, including the studs from the University of Stirling.

2016 SU International/Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet

  • Friday, March 4th – Sunday, March 6th
  • Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex, Northern Ireland
  • Prelims at 9:45am local (4:45am Eastern)/Finals at 5:30pm local (12:30pm Eastern), Sunday at 4:30pm local (11:30am Eastern)
  • Meet Information
  • Psych Sheets

Notable Competitors

Former United States National Team swimmer Shane Ryan is slated to swim 4 events for his now-home country of Ireland, having switched his national federation representation last year. Because Ryan’s father is Irish, he is eligibile to change his sporting citizenship to Ireland, which required the 22-year-old to live there for a year.

In Bangor, Ryan is set to compete in the 50m/100m backstroke and 50m/100m freestyle events, hoping to wrangle in a FINA ‘A’ Olympic-qualifying time. Ryan’s best thus far this season in his most likely Olympic event of the 100m backstroke is the 54.70 he scored at the Euro Meet in January, so he’ll need to use every opportunity he can to shave a few tenths to get under the FINA A cut of 54.36. Ryan is listed as the top seed in the 100 back event at this competition, carrying the 56.67 mark he earned at August’s Canadian Championships.

A pair of breaststroking aces out of the University of Stirling will go head-to-head among the 50m/100m/200m breaststroke races, as both Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson are scheduled to appear in Bangor. 2014 Commonwealth gold medalist and 2015 FINA World Championship bronze medalist Murdoch has been rather quiet as of late, signaling the heavy training the 22-year-old is enduring under Coach Ben Higson.

Murdoch did travel to Amiens to compete on the Golden Tour earlier this year, but turned in rather pedestrian times of 1:01.55 in the 100m and 2:13.98 in the 200m breaststroke, well off his respective incoming McCullagh seed times of 59.09 and 2:08.92. Nonetheless, with British Olympic Trials looming in April, we should see Murdoch step things up a notch, especially with training mate and World Cup silver medalist Benson in the mix.

Benson enters the meet as the 2nd seed behind Murdoch in both the 100m and 200m, where he’s looking to improve up on his Amiens marks of 1:01.97 and 2:14.76. With the top breaststroking times in the world sitting at 2:07.69 by Marco Koch of Germany in the 200m and 58.97 by Cameron Van der Burgh in the 100m, it’d be reassuring for British swimming enthusiasts to see these two young men dip closer to the world’s top 10 at this stage.

19-year-old Duncan Scott is slated to branch well out from his gold medal-resulting freestyle events and take on fellow breaststrokers, fliers and IMs in his monster 7-event schedule. In addition to the 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle, his bread and butter events in which he won gold at the 2015 inaugural European Games, Scott is listed as the top seed in the 200m butterfly and 400m IM events, while also sitting as the 4th seed in the 200 IM. Along with those, the Stirling student-athlete is also entered in the 100m breaststroke and 400m freestyle races.

Scott was a member of Great Britain’s 4x200m freestyle relay that earned historic gold at last year’s World Championships and his best bet at making a British Olympic roster spot may very well be in that relay role. Look for him to use the 100m breast and even 200m fly as warm-up events leading to his potential 200m freestyle shining moment at the meet.

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8 years ago

Are the Chinese athletes competing those that are currently training in Stirling(with the Studs)?

Interesting Mirdoch doesn’t really ever post in season swims that catch the eye, but comes good when it matters. Probably a result of a better manifested training philosophy around peaking and periodisation….

Charlie Boldison
Reply to  Scot-Wahay
7 years ago

The Chinese swimmers are indeed racing, we got them entered last minute! 🙂

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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