Cork's Wiffen brothers take centre stage at Irish short Course swimming championship

Cork's Wiffen brothers take centre stage at Irish short Course swimming championship
Silver medallist at 800m & 1,500m freestyle, Liam Custer with the Wiffen brothers, Daniel & Nathan. Photo: David Kiberd Photography with permission to use.

THE Wiffen brothers took centre stage on Day 1 of the Irish Short Course (ISC) Championships recently.

Daniel posted a 7.69 second PB to claim the first medal of the championships at 800m freestyle, in a new Irish Senior Record (ISR), 7:54.15. 

He was twelve seconds clear of Liam Custer who knocked almost 20 seconds from his previous best 8:06.74, denying the Lisburn twins the top two places. 

However, Nathan, with an impressive 15.65 improvement ensured his place on the podium, clocking 8:20.51. 

The distance pros repeated the feat on the final day, adding the 1,500m freestyle.

Amelia Kane led the ladies to a similar result when she touched on 8:51.46 to win 800m on day 2. 

She was followed by Grace Hodgins 8:59.00 with Jessica Gannon 9:06.59. On the final day, all three repeated the feat at 1,500m with Kane posting an impressive 16:59.20.

Irish Record holder, Brendan Hyland was notably absent from the 200m butterfly but spectators were served up a classic with Cillian Melly 1:58.15 and Paddy Johnson 1:58.96 claiming the top two places. 

Both had just returned from a successful European Championships senior debut. Just behind them there was a battle royale for the bronze with Ethan Hansen 1:59.82 clinching it from Finn McGeever 1:59.94.

Danielle Hill was in record breaking form at European SC. She set a new ISR at 100m backstroke, she reset that record to 58.29 to claim her first medal of the meet. Katelyn Bergin and Maria Godden completed the podium.

Ireland’s fastest ladies went head to head in the 50m freestyle final with Hill claiming her second gold of the night 24.78 just outside the ISR she set in Glasgow. 

Mona McSharry claimed the silver on 25.19. Hill had an outstanding meet which saw her add a further three National Titles, bringing her total to five, adding 100m freestyle 53.81 (ISR), 200m backstroke 2:10.99 and 50m backstroke 26.90. This brings her ISR count to seven over the two week period.

SWSC Bronze medallists at 4x50m Freestyle Relay, Liam Custer, Peter & Paul Higgins, and Andrew Feenan with Coaches, Tom Cross and Richard Cassidy. Photo: SWSC with permission to use.
SWSC Bronze medallists at 4x50m Freestyle Relay, Liam Custer, Peter & Paul Higgins, and Andrew Feenan with Coaches, Tom Cross and Richard Cassidy. Photo: SWSC with permission to use.

Shane Ryan and Conor Fergusson were notable absentees from the 100m backstroke, leaving the way open for Rory McEvoy to claim the title 53.59. 

He was followed by Sean Scannell in 2nd 54.56. Scannell reversed the placings over the longer 200m. 

A fast 56.98 first 100m gave him a sufficient lead to hold off the chasing McEvoy on the closing 100m. Scannell clocked 1:57.13 (6.36 PB) with McEvoy 1:58.11 (1.94 PB).

The ‘Well’s’ Liam Custer dipped under the 2 minute mark, shaving 8.25 from his PB to claim bronze 1:59.61.

Bangor team-mates David Thompson and Curtis Coulter took the top two places at the ‘Splash & Dash’ 50 freestyle 22.57 & 22.67 respectively. Isaac Fitzmaurice completed the podium 23.19.

The 14-year old sensation, Molly Mayne, fresh from a very successful first senior International, continued that form with a 7.42 second PB to claim silver at 200m IM 2:16.39 behind Rebecca Reid, 2:15.34 (4 years her senior). 

Hannah O’Shea was unable to match her PB swim in the heat and placed 8th overall 2:24.72. Club mate, Heather Fane placed 3rd in the ‘B’ final 2:24.85 with Lauren Farr in 10th 2:27.98.

Fresh from his first International final at the European SC, Brendan Hyland reclaimed the ISR at 200m IM posting 1:56.74. 

Liam Custer touched on 2:05.26 to place 6th overall. Clubmate, Alan Feenan dipped under the 2:11 mark with a 3.71 PB to place 3rd in the ‘B’ final 2:10.89. Hyland reset his own ISR to add the 100m butterfly title, clocking 51.33.

Feenan is Cork’s only member on the National Squad and was impressive over the four day meet. Swimming with the ‘big guns’ in the breaststroke events, Feenan shaved 6.83 seconds from his PB over 200m clocking 2:15.36 just missing out on bronze. 

NCL athletes Eoin Corby 2:08.04 (IJR) Liam Doyle 2:10.52 and Uiseann Cooke 2:14.74 claimed the top three places.

Darragh Greene and Eoin Corby dominated the Men’s 100m breaststroke final with impressive lifetime bests, Corby’s an IJR. 

The duo were the only two swimmers under the minute mark with Greene topping the podium in 58.13 and Corby in silver in 58.38. 

Doyle completed the podium 1:00.03. Feenan dropped 3.09 seconds to touch on 1:02.73 for 6th overall.

Greene and Corby shared the top spots at 50m with Corby closing the gap 27.29 to 26.83 for Greene. Feenan placed 8th overall 29.41 (.78 PB).

With a 1.87 PB at 100m IM, Feenan came very close to dipping under the minute mark at 100m IM 1:00.02 to place 9th overall. 

He anchored the ‘Well’ relay, along with brothers Peter & Paul Higgins and Liam Custer to win bronze in the 200m freestyle relay. Peter Higgins placed 5th in the ‘B’ final at 50m freestyle 24.16.

Hannah O’Shea and Hannah O’Flynn, placed 6th & 7th respectively in the 200m butterfly, both on PB performances. 

The event was won by Ellen Walshe on 2:09.94.

Three ladies from SWSC, Beth Nolan, Sharon Semchiy and Lauren Farr placed 5th, 8th and 10th overall in the ‘B’ final 100m backstroke. 

Neddie Irwin placed 8th on 58.67 in the men’s final. Luke Brophy, Mallow repeated his PB swim from the morning heats 1:00.26 to place 5th in the ‘B’ final, James Ryan, SWSC in 10th 1:04.40. 

Irwin placed 6th in 200m 2:04.38 and Alfie Kelly 9th 2:06.00. 

Rory Lee and Noah Coleman placed 5th and 9th respectively in the ‘B’ final.

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