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Sixth fastest Daniel Wiffen into 1500m World final with massive personal best

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Daniel Wiffen

Daniel Wiffen

©INPHO/Andrea Staccioli

Daniel Wiffen

Northern Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen admitted his exceeded his own expectations after setting two new Irish Senior records to reach the 1,500m Freestyle World Championship final in Abu Dhabi.

The 20-year-old, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics over the summer, broke his own record that he set at the FINA World Swimming Cup in Budapest back in October, touching up in 14:32.13 to beat his previous time by 16.11 seconds.

That saw Wiffen finish fourth in his heat and sixth overall, which qualified him for today’s final, while he also set a new Irish Senior 800m record during the same race by beating the previous time of 7:41.82 — set by himself — by five seconds.

The Loughborough University student now holds eight Irish Senior records and he has his sights set on potentially turning that form into a medal in today’s final.

“It’s unbelievable. That was my goal for this meet, to make the final, and I’m not even in last, I’m in sixth, so I’m not even in the outside lane, which is going to be good. And I got a massive PB as well,” said a delighted Wiffen.

“I wanted to go with the guys at the front anyway to see what it was going to be like holding the pace, and I think I stuck with them for quite a good bit and then obviously I just tailed off a bit at the end.

“I definitely think I can improve maybe tomorrow, so looking forward to it.”

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Elsewhere, another Belfast man, Jack McMillan, narrowly missed out on breaking an Irish Senior record of his own in reaching the final of the 100 metres after clocking 46.70 seconds to finish eighth in his heat.

The 21-year-old’s time was only .02 off the current record, held by Shane Ryan, and he too will take to the pool again today bidding to come away with a medal.

McMillan, who also competed in Tokyo over the summer, was also part of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team that reached the final on Sunday, finishing in sixth.

Larne Swimming Club’s Danielle Hill signed off her year by finishing 22nd in her heat for the 50m, touching up in a time of 24.83 seconds.

Olympic swimmer Hill will finish 2021 with that 50m result, along with a 14th-placed finish in her 50m backstroke semi-final on Sunday.

There was further joy from an Irish perspective as Sligo’s Mona McSharry claimed bronze in the 100m breaststroke final, setting a new Irish record of 1:03.92 in the process.

“I was definitely nervous going into it because I knew I had the potential to medal and it’s really nice to see that all come together in a race,” a delighted McSharry said after her race.

“It felt really good and I’m glad I dropped time too.

“It’s been amazing. It’s been really enjoyable to watch other team mates swim really well and have a great time.

“This is the first time we’ve gotten together as a group since the Olympics and it’s much of the same swimmers, and it’s just really nice to be able to have fun and compete together and be up against the best in the world.”

China’s Qianting Tang won gold in a time of 1:03.47, with Sweden’s Sophie Hansson taking silver in 1:03.50.


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