Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: Disqualification caps a dismal day for Northern Ireland swimmers

Frustration after false start in changeover

By Gavin McCafferty

It's fair to say that Northern Ireland's swimmers have not made enough of a splash for their liking at these Games. And there would be no joy on the final night as the women's relay team ended up frustrated – and disqualified.

A "false start in one of the changeovers" was the official reason given for the disqualification of Danielle Hill, Sycerika McMahon, Gemma Kane and Rachel Bethel.

And Sycerika hadn't anything to cheer in the 400m either; she finished 14th overall (4:16.21), while Rachel was 21st (4:34.30).

The men's medley relay team – Jordan Sloan, Michael Dawson, Curtis Coulter and David Thompson– were eighth (3:51.39) in their event, and unable to better their heat time which was a new Ulster record of 3:47.87.

The last six days may have produced no medals, but there were some promising performances from a young squad that set nine personal bests, five individual Ulster records, two relay records, 12 individual semi-finals and three relay finals.

"We've had a lot more semi-final swims this time than we had in Delhi which is great especially as the performance standard in the world has really stepped up over the past four years," explained Swim Ulster Performance Director Andrew Reid.

"If you take the men's 4x100m freestyle relay as an example, we thought coming here we would reach the final and it turned out the time needed to make the final was nine seconds quicker than it was in Delhi – and the guys broke the Ulster record by four seconds so performance standards are on the rise.

He added: "For some of the younger swimmers there has been a lot to learn and I think they will come away from Glasgow better for the experience.

"They've developed as athletes, they developed as people and going forward they will be much stronger in terms of dealing with disappointments and also being able to handle walking out in front of seven thousand people and into that arena and competing with world and Olympic champions in the lanes beside them."

Meanwhile, after waiting 40 years for their second female swimming gold medallist in the Commonwealth Games, Wales had their third 24 hours later when Georgia Davies touched home first in the 50 metres backstroke.

Davies followed the example set by Jazz Carlin to edge home in 27.56 seconds, breaking the Games record for a third time in 36 hours and beating her own British record in the process. England's Lauren Quigley took silver, 0.13 seconds behind Davies.

English teenager Ben Proud earlier claimed his second gold medal of Glasgow 2014 after edging out a strong Australian challenge in the 50m freestyle final, while Carlin began the last night of Tollcross action by taking silver in the 400m freestyle.

Carlin began the night looking for a gold medal double but New Zealand's Lauren Boyle turned the tables on the Swansea athlete following the 800m on Monday night. Boyle set a Games record of four minutes 4.47 seconds to come in 0.69 seconds clear.

Scotland's Hannah Miley just missed out on her third medal of the Games in her sixth final and 12th race in total. Miley finished fourth, 0.19 seconds behind Australia's Bronte Barratt.

Proud then upset the Australian challenge by coming home in 21.92 seconds in the freestyle sprint – eight hundredths of a second in front of Cameron McEvoy, whose team-mate James Magnussen took bronze.

The Plymouth 19-year-old had already won the 50m butterfly as well as a 100m freestyle relay bronze at Glasgow 2014.

The home crowd had a Scottish record to cheer in the backstroke as 16-year-old Kathleen Dawson improved on her semi-final display by finishing fifth in 28.47.

But the next race produced an even bigger ovation from the crowd as Scotland's Daniel Wallace claimed his third medal of the Games by finishing second in the 200m individual relay.

Belfast Telegraph

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