Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Swimming: Sycerika’s bronze delight

Making waves: Sycerika McMahon on her way to bronze at the European short course championships

Sycerika McMahon demonstrated once again in emphatic style her huge potential when she scooped a bronze medal in the final of the 50m breaststroke at the European short course championships in Chartres, France.

The 17-year-old from Portaferry set new Irish records in the heats, semi-finals and final when she finished strongly to win bronze in a new Irish best of 30.34. Gold went to Petra Chocova of the Czech republic in 30.02 with Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen taking silver in 30.25.

McMahon has been in a solid block of training since the Olympics and this was her first competition since London 2012 but the European long course silver medallist still managed to deliver once more on the big international stage.

McMahon said: “I'm really pleased with my performance. I didn't come here thinking of a medal. My coach (Bobby Madine) and I just wanted to come here and get some competition and look to swim well and get close to my PBS because of the stage of my training at the moment.

“So to get three PBs is very pleasing because I just kept getting faster and faster.

“I felt really good in the morning heats, that was a big PB, I felt good in the water and just kept on going.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere in the arena and there's a great atmosphere in the camp, we have 10 Irish swimmers here so it's great to have that support.

“It’s the same as every year I have to work hard to keep my school work up, it's my final A level year and I have exams coming up which means I'll only be able to do two days at the Irish championships next week.

“I couldn't do it all without the support of my coach Bobby and mum and the school.”

Swim Ireland chief Peter Banks was quick to salute another outstanding performance from McMahon.

“Considering these were her first swims since the Olympics, I think this was a very good performance,” said Banks.

“After the Olympics and the big high that goes with that, it's not always easy for athletes to get up for the next competition, but Sycerika is very determined to keep improving and you could see that in all her races.”

Meanwhile, the latest star of the pool, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu edged out Hannah Miley in the final of the 200m individual medley. Triple 2012 Olympic finalist Miley set a new British record as she claimed silver in the 200 IM behind the Magyar who lifted £125,000 in the recent World Cup series.

Miley was eighth at the end of the butterfly leg, moving through the field to fourth on the backstroke before producing the fastest breaststroke leg in the field to turn first going into the freestyle.

The Garioch swimmer was then overhauled by Hosszu, who dominated the recent World Cup series, with the Hungarian touching in two minutes 05.78 seconds, 0.43secs ahead of Miley whose time of 2mins 06.21 secs lowered her own British record by 0.49secs.

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