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Sloan shakes off his frustration to seal place at the Games

 

By David Kelly

Bangor's Jordan Sloan put months of pain behind him at the Ulster Open long course championships as he hit the nomination time for the Commonwealth Games next April on the Gold Coast.

Competing in his home pool, Sloan clocked 1:48.15 in the 200m freestyle heats to essentially book his place on the plane and in last night's final touched for gold in 1:47.78.

Sloan had a disappointing summer when he underperformed at the World Championships in Budapest and revealed it has been a hard road back to full fitness but now feels in fine form ahead of next week's European short course championships in Copenhagen.

"I'm more relieved than anything else to get the time for the Games. I knew I had that time in me, it's not too far off my Irish record but after the summer I've had there were always going to be a little doubt going into these championships," said Sloan.

"The summer was tough because of the problem I had with my knee. I was feeling pain every time I trained and there were times during squads when I just had to stop. I couldn't kick properly so it was very frustrating not being able to do myself justice at the Worlds.

"I had to get a lot of help from the Swim Ulster physio and she has done a great job sorting it out.

"It was only six weeks ago that I was pain free so I am very happy with the time. This is the strongest I've ever felt at this point in the season and I'm really looking forward to the Europeans next week.

"I suppose I was a little concerned about how the knee would hold him but there wasn't a problem at all so I'm feeling very confident."

Sloan joined Conor Ferguson, Jamie Graham and Calum Bain in achieving the nomination standard with their selection for the Games expected to be ratified next month.

Ards sisters Emma and Rebecca Reid once again walked away with some gold.

Emma, who is now based in Dublin with the High Performance squad, took the 50m butterfly title, while 16-year-old Rebecca lifted the 200m backstroke crown.

Their clubmate Paddy Johnston, whose dad Davy is the head coach at Ards, dominated the men's 200m backstroke, the 16-year-old winning in 2:08.97.

There were also victories for 24-year-old in the men's 100m breaststroke and 15 year-old Molly Curry of Coleraine in the women's 100m breaststroke.

Larne's Danielle Hill, 18, is hoping to qualify for the Games this weekend and she warmed up for her bid with victory in the 100m freestyle, while Lisburn's Rachel Bethel, 17, took the 800m freestyle gold.

Hill's team mate from Larne, Conor Brines, 22, missed out on the Gold Coast nomination time in the men's 50m butterfly as he took the title in 24.31 which was four-tenths slower than the time required.

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