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Brines fired up for shot at Commonwealths Games birth

By David Kelly

Conor Brines believes he has the ideal team backing him to enable him to kick on and qualify for next year's Commonwealth Games.

The 21-year-old Queen's University student was one of the outstanding performers at the Dave McCullagh international meet at Bangor Aurora, snapping up the Irish record for the 100m butterfly, breaking the mark set by Brendan Hyland of 53.59. The Larne club swimmer went 53.34 but knows he needs to chop another slice off that to hit the Games nomination time of 52.81.

The qualification period for the Games starts on June 28 and runs until December 16 with five meets designated for swimmers to hit the times, including the World University Games which he has already qualified for.

"At this stage in the season it's great to be going fast because it was the first long course meet of the season. Getting the Irish record was great and hopefully come the summer I can go well under that time. To get to the Commonwealth Games would be a real high point," said Brines.

"I couldn't have imagined two or three years ago that I would be at this point. I had set swimming goals and sometimes I would hit them and sometimes I wouldn't and I think this is a very good example about how hard work pays off.

"I really think it's to do with the support that I have now, even down to a company making wedges for our blocks at the club which just makes it easier to dive off. Physically I've developed a lot with my conditioner Steven McQuillan and also we've had a psychologist come into the club which has also helped, and the Mary Peters Trust has backed me too.

"Not only is Steven good in the gym but he helps me mentally as well because he was a 50m and 100m butterfly swimmer so he knows how I feel and what I'm going through."

Bangor teenager Jack McMillan is hoping to qualify for the World junior championships.

Bangor coach Paul Dennis said: "Jack has done the time for the 200m free for the Euro juniors but an extra 0.2 quicker and then he can go to the Worlds. He's already going to the Youth Commonwealths."

Belfast Telegraph

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