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Paralympics: Ards swimmer Barry McClements edged out of final spot on Games debut

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Barry McClements has been tipped for a big future. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Barry McClements has been tipped for a big future. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Barry McClements has been tipped for a big future. Pic: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Ards swimmer Barry McClements swam a new personal best as he missed out on a place in the S9 men’s 400m freestyle final by less than a second in his opening swim at the Paralympic Games.

The 19-year-old has been tipped for a big future and came within 0.98 seconds of making it through a heat at the first time of asking overnight in Tokyo as he clocked a time of 4:27:11 but was edged out by Polish swimmer Igor Hrehorowicz.

McClements will have another opportunity to reach a final when he returns to the water for the S9 men’s 100m backstroke on Monday (August 30). He is also competing in the SM9 200m medley and S9 100m butterfly on September 1 and September 2 respectively.

“If Barry stays focused and determined then he has 10 years ahead of him and there is no doubt in my mind that he can bring home a medal one day,” Ards head coach Davy Johnston told the Belfast Telegraph last week. “It may be asking too much to do it this time but he can go and learn what needs to be done to win a medal in the future.”

McClements, competing for Team Ireland, was the first of seven athletes from Northern Ireland in action at the Games.

Tomorrow, wheelchair basketball star James MacSorley will begin his bid to help Team GB to medal glory.

The 26-year-old was part of the World Championship winning side of 2018 and will aim to repeat that gold medal performance in Japan. Their pool campaign begins at 6.45am tomorrow morning against Algeria.

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