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Rising star Wiffen has eyes on Olympics spot

 

Winning combination: coach Martin McGann and champion Daniel Wiffen
Winning combination: coach Martin McGann and champion Daniel Wiffen
David Kelly

By David Kelly

The Lisburn Swimming Club has been enjoying a real revival over the past couple of years and twins Daniel and Nathan Wiffen have been to the fore.

Coach Martin McGann has been at the centre of recent success and there were more celebrations at the weekend in the Ulster Short Course Championships.

Daniel Wiffen finished off his campaign on Sunday with a new 800m freestyle Ulster senior record, which also proved to be an Irish junior record when he clocked 8:01.84. The time was also 1.9 seconds away from the Irish senior record.

Daniel, who also finished 19th in the 1,500m free at the World Junior Championships in the summer, is now looking ahead to the European Senior Championships next month in Glasgow.

"I want to go there and smash the 15-minute mark for short course. I was actually surprised by how fast I went at the weekend so I'm feeling good ahead of the Europeans," said Daniel.

Coach McGann, who will be leaving the club next month, is adamant that 18-year-old Daniel has the potential to secure a spot at the Tokyo Olympics, either in the 1,500m free or on the 4x200m free relay team.

"Daniel is taking distance swimming in Ireland to a new level. The time he did at the weekend puts him as the fifth fastest 18 and under in Europe," said McGann.

"Ireland are trying to qualify a relay team for Tokyo which he is part of so we have been focused on speed for that as well as the endurance needed for the 1,550m free. He needs to drop 39 seconds for that but over the past 12 months he has already dropped 31 seconds. I've no doubt he can do it. We've given him ambitious targets and he has responded."

Also in top form at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex was Amelia Kane of Ards who, on Sunday, won the women's 1,500m free, 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley.

The final day of the Championships also saw Ellie McCartney land a third successive 200m breaststroke title.

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