Bethany Carson put bitter disappointment behind her to set a new Irish junior record at the Irish championships in the Laganvalley Leisureplex last night.
Carson, of Lisburn ASC, felt robbed of a place on the Northern Ireland team for the Commonwealth Youth Games, while she also missed the time for the World Youth championships when she seemed certain to be part of the Irish squad in the summer.
But yesterday, 16-year-old Carson took gold in a new junior record of 4:16.90 and coach Andrew Reid believes she is getting back to her best.
Reid said: “She’s had a hard time of it lately.
“At the qualifying meet for the World Youths in May she didn’t make the time due to a few things - her training had been interrupted so that was a blow.
“And then it had been announced that she was going to India for the Commonwealth Youth Games but when the emails were sent out in August she didn’t get one and she was left gutted.
“But credit to her, she has shown plenty of character and has just got on with her hard training and it has paid off.
“This is a great swim, a big personal best and she has shown everyone once again the potential she has and she has another two years as a junior.
“I’m very proud of the way she has responded and all my swimmers have worked very hard right up to these championships, they
haven’t had a rest and it has worked very well.”
Carson, who smashed the previous best time held by Grainne Murphy, was followed home by 13-year-old City of Belfast girl Sycerika McMahon, 4:19.21.
Conor Leaney anchored the City of Belfast team to a new 4x100m relay Irish junior record of 3:29.13 and the girls made it a club double in the women’s relay, taking gold in 4:02.68.
Aisling Cooney was in majestic form as she eased to victory in the 200m backstroke without the threat of Irish record holder and big rival Melanie Nocher.
The ESB swimmer came home in 2:16.81, well outside her personal best but she is focused on preparation for the European championships in December.
Cooney said: “This year my priority is my education because last year I put my education on hold in order to concentrate on my swimming.
“But I have to get my leaving cert sorted out and then I’ll have three years to focus on London 2012.
“Beijing was fantastic, a great experience and I feel that it has set me up for international competition over the next three years and I‘m looking forward to the European championships.”
In the men’s 400m free, Kevin Stace touched for gold in 4:01.39, edging out Joe Murphy who clocked 4:01.48.