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Classy Clare breaks swimming record

Published 18/04/2009

Many had been waiting for some time to see Clare Dawson finally show her true potential and at last night's Irish long course championships in Dublin's NAC, they got their wish.

Dawson, who qualified for the world championships on Thursday night, smashed the seven-year-old 100m freestyle record of Julie Douglas, clocking a new best of 55.63 in the semi-finals.

Earlier, in the heats, Limerick's Fiona Doyle had broken the record by five hundredths and that seemed to galvanise Dawson, who should strike gold in the final tonight and also has the chance to qualify for the World championships in the 100m event.

Dawson, swimming for Bangor, said: "I'm really very pleased with that performance. Over the past three weeks I've taken a second off my PB and that's huge.

"I've always wanted to get Julie's record and after Fiona Doyle got it in the heats I think I was even more determined to get in the semi-finals.

"Having qualified for the Worlds and now got this record I feel that I'm really showing the potential that I have always had. The high intensity work at Stirling University is obviously paying off.

"Now I want to go and do another Irish record in the final and looking further ahead I can't wait for the World Championships.

"There's now 11 swimmers on the Irish team and that is just great because the qualifying standards are going up all the time."

The final of the men's 4x200m free relay saw the NUI Maynooth Devils quartet of brothers Kevin and Seamus Stacey, Jack Nunn and Conor Hughes produce a stunning display as they clocked a new Irish record of 7.43.52 - massive nine seconds better than the previous mark.

Aer Lingus finished in second place to set a new Irish junior best of 7.52.40, while Waterford Crystal were third.

Andrew Meegan took gold in the 800m freestyle, setting a new Irish senior record of 8.20.00, while in-form Steven McQuillan took gold in the 50m butterfly in 24.69, to slip inside his old mark of 24.70 set at the recent Dave McCullough meet last month.

Olympian Aisling Cooney won the women's 50m 'fly in 28.14 ahead of Cormorant's Laura McDonnell, 28.52.

Belfast Telegraph

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