February 24, 2023

Day one of the Swim Ireland McCullagh International got underway today at the Bangor Aurora Leisure Centre, Co. Down. The three-day competition runs from 24th – 26th February with over 450 swimmers from nearly 80 clubs competing over the weekend.

The McCullagh serves as National Championships for Relays which mean national titles were up for grabs from the off, with the Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay opening today’s proceedings, Sharon Semchiy, Isabel Kidney, Beth Nolan, and Anna Feenan of Sunday Wells claimed the first gold of the day with a collective time of 9:00.67. Limerick finished closely behind to finish in second place in 9:01.20 while third place went to Ards (9:02.27). In the Men’s event Charlie Eatwell, Matthew Hand Ben Riddell, and Cody Dunnion of Ards were crowned national champions with a time of 8:00.48.

The final relay event of the day was the Mixed 4×100 Medley with Ards (Adam Barnes, Benji Cummings, Ellie McCartney and Grace Davison) coming out on top with a time of 4:09.42. Larne clocked 4:11.23 to take home silver, with bronze going to Limerick (4:15.51).

Grace Davison of Ards took home the first honours on offer this evening in the Women’s 400m IM, Davison clocked 4:52.12 to take first place in comfortable fashion, behind Davison in second place was Nula Gow (Scotland North) with 5:02.47 while in third place was Trojan’s Rebekah Friel (5:07.33).

Up next was the Men’s 50m Backstroke with John Shortt (Bluefin SC) coming home first with a time of 26.37. Adam Barnes (Ards) took the second spot on the podium, touching the wall in 27.11 seconds, while Brandon Biss (Swim Belfast) took home bronze (27.58).

Olympian, Danielle Hill (Larne) went .82 quicker than this morning, clocking 28 seconds in the Women’s 50m Backstroke, Natasha Whittall (Loughborough University) touched in 29.85 in second with third place going to Cora Rooney (30.05) of Enniskillen.

The Men’s 100m Freestyle served up a thriller with Evan Bailey (New Ross) coming out on top, touching the wall in 51.75. Finishing closely behind Bailey was Michael Ripper (Loughborough University) in 52.06, with Robbie Powell (Athlone/National Centre Dublin) and Thomas Leggett (Larne) tied for bronze by both coming home in 52.19.

The finalists of the Women’s 100m Freestyle were up next on the blocks with Victoria Catterson (Ards/National Centre (Ulster), Erin Riordan (NAC/National Centre (Dublin), and Maria Godden (Kilkenny/National Centre (Limerick) battling it out for the top three positions, with Catterson coming home first in 56.41 to take gold, Riordan took home silver (56.84) while Godden (57.75) finished third to claim bronze.

Jack Cassin (Dolphin/National Centre Limerick) cruised home in the Men’s 200m Butterfly to take the top spot on the podium, clocking 2:01.36. Sean Donnellan (Glenalbyn) and Ronan Kilcoyne (Sligo) battled it out for silver and bronze, with Donnellan coming out as eventual winner (2:09.07). Maisie Elliott (Loughborough) took home gold in the women’s event in 2:18.11, with Alana Burns-Atkins (Banbridge) finishing in second place (2:18.80) and third spot on the podium going to Sharon Semchiy (2:20.09) of Sunday Wells.

There was another titanic battle, this time it was in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke between Darragh Greene (Longford/National Centre Dublin) and Eoin Corby (Limerick/National Centre Limerick with Olympian Darragh Greene coming out on top with a time of 1:01.55, Corby took silver in 1:02.29, bronze was claimed by Lachey Reed of Bangor (1:04.83).

The women’s event did not disappoint in terms of excitement with Niamh Coyne (Tallaght/National Centre Dublin) and Ellie McCartney (Ards/National Centre Ulster) battling it out for top spot, Coyne came out on top with a time of 1:09.53, McCartney finished closely behind in a time of 1:09.73. Taking third place on the podium was Eimear Doyle (1:11.89) of Limerick.

The penultimate event of the evening was the Men’s 800m Freestyle with Nathan Wiffen (Larne) cruising home in first place with a time of 8:16.38, nearest competitor to Wiffen was Jack Fleming (Lisburn), clocking 8:31.12, the third and final podium place went to Denis O’Brien (8:40.55) of Limerick.

The last event of the evening was the Women’s 1500m Freestyle, Grace Hodgins (Trojan) clocked 17:00.39 to win gold, with silver going to Ella Carroll (Limerick) with a time of 17:53.48, Aimee Dawson (Lisburn) touched in 18:28.99 to claim third place.

Competition continues tomorrow morning at 9am.



Full Results available HERE.