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Superb Sloan books place on World Championship stage

 

By David Kelly

Bangor's Jordan Sloan was the outstanding performer at the Irish Open swimming championships in Dublin last night. Sloan set the tone for his campaign at the championships on the opening morning when he clocked a new Irish senior record of 1:47.41 for the 200m freestyle in the heats, breaking the mark of 1:47.94 set by fellow Ulsterman Ryan Harrison eight years ago.

He then returned last night to take the gold in 1:47.77, with 17-year-old clubmate Jack McMillan picking up silver, touching in 1:51.03 which should see him on his way to the World and European junior championships this summer.

Sloan's new record was under the qualification time for the World long course championships in Budapest this summer as well as the World University Games in Taipei.

Shortly afterwards, both Sloan and McMillan, along with Conor Ferguson and David Thompson, smashed the Irish club record for the 4x100m freestyle relay, clocking 3:23.38 - five seconds quicker than the UCD quartet's mark set just 12 months ago.

Sloan, 24, said: "I'm really pleased with getting the record and doing the World championships time.

"I knew coming into the championships I was swimming well - I had done well in the short course season and now I've done well in the long course which is great.

"I can now enjoy the rest of the meet... getting the relay record was really good. Taking five seconds off the record was nice."

Sloan was also quick to hail the potential of teenager McMillan, saying: "Jack and I push each other in training, he's got a lot of talent and I'm delighted he's got his World juniors time."

Ferguson retained his Irish 100m backstroke title, easing to victory in 54.61 seconds, while Larne's Danielle Hill (left) won the women's event in 1:02.32, touching ahead of Stirling's Natasha Hofton, 1:02.68.

Lisburn's Daniel Wiffen swam under the European Youth Olympics consideration time to take gold in the 1,500m free in 16:12.99, while his team-mate Rachel Bethel won the 800m free in 9:00.19.

Brendan Hyland took over half a second off his own 200m butterfly Irish record. The Tallaght swimmer swam his fastest time in three years, clocking 1:58.08 to secure his fourth consecutive Irish title.

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