Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: McMahon left with sinking feeling after glory bid falls short

By Nik Simon

Sycerika McMahon missed out on the chance to go for gold in the women's 50m breaststroke final by an agonising four-hundredths of a second.

The Portaferry youngster set a new personal best in the heats at Tolcross but crashed out in the semi-finals with a ninth fastest time of 31.56s. McMahon was edged out by Scotland's Andrea Strachan who finished with a time of 31.52s.

It was a popular result for the 4,000 home supporters but it was a bitter pill for McMahon.

"I guess this happens sometimes," she said. "Looking back on it, I was maybe thinking about it too much. This morning was a good start and I was looking to go a bit faster. I feel fit but tonight just wasn't the night for me. I'll just go back to the drawing board and focus on what lies ahead."

Frustratingly, the 19-year-old's impressive heat time of 31.12s would have secured an easy progression to the final.

McMahon's performance in the morning session was an indication that her American training was beneficial, but the pressure proved too much.

She accepted a scholarship at the Texas A&M University last year and, having not won any major silverware since medalling at the 2012 European Championships, is now one of Northern Ireland's biggest hitters in the pool. McMahon had another crack in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay but Northern Ireland finished in eighth position.

There were signs of a new talent emerging in 15-year-old Gemma Kane. The Rockport student qualified for the semi-finals. Kane was quickly followed up by Jordan Sloan in the men's 100m backstroke semi-final.

The 20-year-old from Bangor finished last in his race with a time of 57.03s.

Rachel Bethel and Danielle Hill, both just 14-years-old, failed to qualify from their heats in the women's 200m freestyle. They finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Conor Munn won his heat in the men's 50m butterfly but his time was not good enough to qualify for the semi-finals.

Curtis Coulter also missed out following his sixth-place finish in his morning session heat.

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