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McSharry and Reid in record form for the championships

By David Kelly

A fine crop of Ulster junior swimmers were to the fore on the opening day of the Irish short course championships in the Lagan Valley Leisureplex. Mona McSharry, one of the sport's brightest prospects, scooped three gold medals as well as an Irish junior record.

The 16-year-old from Donegal took 100m breaststroke gold in a new Irish junior best of 1:06.71 and followed that up with gold in the 200m individual medley and 100m freestyle.

The 100m free proved to be one of the best races of the evening session as McSharry just managed to hold off fellow 16-year-old Rachel Bethel of Lisburn with a time of 56.56 - just four hundredths ahead at the touch.

It proved to be a good night for Bethel as she picked up gold in the 800m free with a time of 8:54.87 ahead of younger sister Leah.

The Ulster success started the morning heats when Bangor's Jack McMillan and Rebecca Reid of Ards clocked new Irish junior records for the men's 400 free and women's 50m backstroke.

McMillan (16) went even quicker in the final, clocking 3:51.51 to take bronze, but his record went to Longford's Gerry Quinn (18) who touched in 3:51.31. As expected, gold went to Brendan Hyland, who also won the 100m buttefly.

Ards teenager Reid (15) clocked a new Irish junior record of 29.58 and then in the final of the 50m back brought it down to 29.10 to take bronze. Silver went to Larne's Danielle Hill in a new Ulster senior record of 28.80 as she was pipped for gold by Jane Roberts of UCD, 28.69.

Reid's sister Emma (17) also picked up a bronze in the 200m butterfly with gold going to Templeogue's Ellen Walshe in a new Irish junior record of 2:11.51.

The Ards quartet of Curtis Coulter, Michael Dawson, Cai Armstrong and Conor Munn took the 4x100m medley relay gold.

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