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Brown and Coulter stay on course to claim Irish championship titles

By David Kelly

Published 02/05/2016

Curtis Coulter completed the sprint double
Curtis Coulter completed the sprint double

The final night of competition at the Irish long course championships proved to be a successful one for Ulster swimmers, with James Brown and Curtis Coulter of Ards leading the way with 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle titles.

On Saturday night, Coulter won an exciting 100m freestle final, taking gold in 50.13 ahead of Longford's Gerry Quinn, 50.53, and he then produced another superb performance to win the 50m free. Coulter touched the wall in 22.73, just three hundredths of second off the qualification time for the European championships.

Coulter's clubmate Brown, who has made good progress in the past 18 months, was crowned the Irish 200m IM champion when he came home in 2:05.18.

Danielle Hill of Larne also enjoyed a golden weekend in the National Aquatic Centre. On Saturday the Commonwealth Games swimmer added the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke titles to her 100m back crown and followed that up yesterday with the Irish 50m backstroke title -sharing gold with Issie Hayes as both touched in 29.98.

Lisburn's Rachel Bethel added to her 200m Freestyle title with a win in the 400m freestyle.

Hill's clubmate Conor Ferguson once again missed out on the 100m backstroke qualification time for the Rio Olympics on Saturday when competing in the Ireland relay team, but he will have one more shot when competing at the European championships in London this month.

"I've got my GCSEs coming up around the same time but I'm hoping we can get it sorted with the school. This means so much to me - it's my dream. I've come so close and I really believe I'm going to get the time for Rio," said 16-year-old Conor.

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