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Danielle set for big tests in and out of the pool

By David Kelly

Published 08/03/2016

Commonwealth Games swimmer Danielle Hill
Commonwealth Games swimmer Danielle Hill

Danielle Hill is ready for a busy few months, combining her GCSE exams with competing at the European senior championships in London.

The 16-year-old Larne club swimmer had another great weekend of competition at the Dave McCullagh International meet in Bangor's Aurora Centre, breaking six Irish records and qualifying for the European seniors which take place in May - coinciding with the first week of her GCSEs.

Commonwealth Games swimmer Danielle has dramatically turned her form around after a disappointing Ulster championships in November and is now looking ahead to the Irish Open in April followed by the European seniors and European juniors in July in Hungary.

Belfast Model student Danielle, who broke Olympian Fiona Doyle's 50m freestyle Irish junior record on Sunday as well as her own 200m backstroke time, said: "I broke my Irish record by a second three weeks ago in Sheffield and it was great to break it again by another full second. It shows that the training is working.

"I suffered from shin splints which meant I couldn't do under water work and that was tough so the Ulster championships were terrible for me. But that was all part of the learning experience. If I hadn't known why I was swimming poorly that would have been worse but at least I knew what was wrong.

"Now I am in the gym doing three sessions a week and I am focused on certain events which is allowing me to break records."

Danielle and Larne clubmate Conor Ferguson will be part of the Irish team heading to the Europeans and she admits they are driving each other on to a relentless period of success in the pool.

She added: "Conor's in the lane beside me in training so we push each other. We train really well together, high five each other and drive each other on.

"I'm looking forward to the European seniors and the fact they're in the Olympic pool in London is perfect. I have to talk to my school because they clash with the first week of GCSEs. Apparently I can do the exams at a school in London if I want to so I might be able to organise that."

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