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The rise of Conor Brines goes on as he strikes gold

By David Kelly

Published 07/12/2015

Class act: Conor Brines won gold and set a new record
Class act: Conor Brines won gold and set a new record

Larne's Conor Brines continued his incredible rise when he struck gold in record-breaking fashion at the Irish short course championships last night in the Lagan Valley Leisureplex.

Brines (19) has turned his swimming career on its head with recent Ulster championship success and he has followed that up with Irish glory, winning the 50m butterfly.

Brines, who has improved immensely over the past six months after committing to the sport more than ever, not only won gold but broke Andy Reid's 18-year-old record when he clocked 24.25. The Queen's University student finished just ahead of Commonwealth Games swimmer Conor Munn of Ards, 24.77.

The new record came 24 hours after his team-mate Danielle Hill set a new Irish junior record when winning the 200m backstroke. She also won silver in the 100m back, yesterday.

The 16-year-old knocked seven tenths of a second off Aisling Cooney's 2007 200m record of 2:12.79, finishing in 2:12.03. Kells' Laoise Fleming was second in 2:13.80 while 50m back champion Jane Roberts claimed bronze in 2:16.19.

Rachel Bethel of Lisburn was an impressive winner in the 200m freestyle, the 15-year-old touching for gold in 2:00.16 - holding off 18-year-old Mary Kate McDowell of Ards, 2:01.28. Bethel's 12-year-old sister Leah was second in the B final.

Ards girl Bethany Firth finished off a successful weekend with her fourth individual gold in the 50m butterfly, clocking 27.46 ahead of Jane Roberts of UCD, 27.50 and Emma Reid, 27.83. Teenager Reid also took gold in the 100m butterfly.

Reid, her sister Rebecca, Firth and Mary Kate McDowell completed a quadruple of gold in the relays last night when Ards won the 4x50m freestyle.

The Ards quartet of Conor Munn, James Brown, Sam Manley and Curtis Coulter won the men's event in a new Irish record of 1:31.76, just 0.04 ahead of UCD.

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