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Olympic times in reach for Nocher and McMahon

By David Kelly

Sycerika McMahon and Melanie Nocher finished off the Dutch Open Championships with high hopes that qualification for London 2012 is not too far away.

McMahon, from the Leander club, left Eindhoven knowing she is just 0.75 seconds away from the Olympics mark for the 100m breaststroke and having finished third in the final of the 50m breaststroke yesterday.

The 16-year-old European junior champion qualified for the final third fastest with a time of 31.80 and then improved on that in the final when clocking 31.63 behind gold medalist Jennie Johansson, 31.12, and silver medalist Moniek Nijhuis, 31.17.

McMahon, who will be presented with her Texaco Young Sports Star of the Year award this week in Dublin, was also the fastest Irish swimmer in the 100m freestyle, finishing in 57.33. Fellow Ulster girl Bethany Carson clocked 57.79.

Nocher, who is off to Poland for the European short course championships this week, also ended the Dutch championships with an eye-catching performance, finishing seventh in the 100m backstroke having made the B final of the 200m freestyle on Saturday night.

Yesterday, Nocher clocked 1:02.67 in the 100m back final and is satisfied that London 2012 is within her grasp, having finished 1.2 seconds away from the 200m qualification time.

Nocher said: “After the 200m I knew that I had judged it wrongly, I went out too slowly. I got out of the pool wanting to swim it again, it was also the fastest international swim I've done.

“Then came my 200m free and that was a personal best and only one hundredth off the Ulster senior record so I've been really happy with my swims.”

Nocher and McMahon are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Grainne Murphy who qualified for London in the 800m freestyle in Eindhoven on Saturday night when she came home in 8:31.14 to finish third in the final.

Peter Banks, the Swim Ireland High Performance director, said: “I'm very pleased for Grainne. She was disappointed with the World Championships in the summer but in her first competition back she has now qualified for London and that takes all the pressure off her.”

The Irish 4x200m freestyle relay team of Nocher, McMahon, Carson and Clare Dawson claimed bronze behind the Spanish and Dutch national squads in a time of 8:10.97.

There was disappointment for Andrew Bree who finished three seconds off the Olympic mark when he came home in 2:15.62 in the 200m breaststroke at the US National championships.

Meanwhile, Jordan Sloan produced the performance of the weekend at the Bloomfield Ulster Open championships yesterday when he set a new Ulster senior record for the 100m backstroke.

Sloan, who picked up the senior swimmer of the meet award, clocked a new best of 57.07.

Belfast Telegraph


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