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Conor Ferguson and Danielle Hill are all set to dazzle

By David Kelly

Conor Ferguson and Danielle Hill are aiming to make a major impact at the Irish short course championships in the Lagan Valley Leisureplex this weekend.

Both Larne ASC swimmers came away with gold medals and new Ulster records from the Ulster short course championships in the same venue a fortnight ago and club coach Peter Hill is quietly confident they can have another exciting meet.

Ferguson, who struck gold at the Canadian Age Group championships over the summer, is building up towards his attempt to qualify for the European Youth Olympics in Finland next year, which are long course.

The 15-year-old has already shown himself to be one of the rising stars of Irish swimming and Hill believes he can become the first Ulster swimmer to go under two minutes for the 200m backstroke.

"Conor just loves to race, he has a great attitude to competing - he doesn't care who is beside him in the other lane. He showed that when he faced Jordan Sloan at the Ulster championships and obviously Jordan was at the Commonwealth Games in the summer," said Hill.

"This weekend Conor will be up against Rory McAvoy who I am hoping will push him under the two-minute mark. But to be honest Conor is so highly motivated he doesn't need someone to be pushing him."

The Larne coach is also hoping that 15-year-old Hill, who won seven golds at the Ulster champs, can have another great weekend in the pool.

"I have joked with Danielle that she is the Iron Lady of Northern Ireland swimming - just like the Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who is the star of World swimming at the moment. She is in great form and has a great attitude just like Conor," added Hill.

"This weekend she will do fewer events... Danielle's main goal is to qualify for the European junior championships which are in Azerbaijan next summer.

"Like Conor she has had a great year so far and the club is very fortunate to have two very good role models for the rest of the swimmers coming up and it's great that we have a boy and a girl doing so well.

"We have some very good kids coming through a year or two behind Conor and Danielle, so the club is going very well at the moment."

Belfast Telegraph

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