Michael Dawson enjoyed one of the best wins of his career last night and gave himself an outside chance of going to the Commonwealth Games.
Dawson, of Ards, was a mere six hundredths away from the time needed to guarantee a place in Delhi when he defeated Barry Murphy in a dramatic 100m breaststroke race at the Irish Open and Youth championships in the NAC.
Going into the final 50m, Murphy was a body length ahead of the Ulsterman but he gradually reeled in the World class Dubliner to touch for gold in 1:03.78 with just a 10th of a second separating the two.
Dawson, who is based at Loughborough University, said: “I'm really pleased with that performance. I could see how far Barry was ahead at the turn but I dug deep and to beat him at the finish was just great.
“It showed me that all the land training I've been doing, the work in the gym since moving to Loughborough has really paid off. My problem all year has been the first 50m but now I'm going out really strong but at the same time keeping a good technique.
“It's a pity I was just outside the Commonwealth Games mark but I'll be putting forward my case and I still have the 200m breast to go as well so maybe I can get the time there.”
Murphy returned to the pool to win the 50m butterfly in 25.08, ahead of Dawson's Ards clubmate Steven McQuillan who clocked 25.20 with Paul Laffan of Sunday’s Well taking bronze in 25.48.
Leander's Conor Donnelly, competing in the 17-18 years 400m individual medley, finished second to visiting Frenchman Paul Schweitzer but more significantly the 18-year-old set a new Irish junior record of 4:36.96.
Donnelly's clubmate Sycerika McMahon won the under-15 100m freestyle in 57.82 and was second fastest overall at the competition as the winner of the Open event, Shauna Smith of Limerick clocked 57.79.
Larne's Conor Leaney was the first Irishman home in the 100m freestyle in 51.93, behind South African Kyle MacMillan who took gold in 51.41 with silver going to Frenchman Eddie Moueddene, 51.74.