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Super Sycerika wins eight golds

By David Kelly

Leander coach Bobby Madine wore a satisfied smile as protégé Sycerika McMahon touched for 200m breaststroke gold in yet another record time at the Irish short course championships in the Laganvalley Leisureplex.

The 16-year-old and swimmer of the championships Barry Murphy were the two outstanding performers over the three days in Lisburn with both claiming eight gold medals.

But McMahon’s 200m breast Irish senior and junior record-breaking victory gave Madine particular pleasure.

“That’s the first time in two years that Sycerika has done the 200m breaststroke. We deliberately waited for the right moment and today it came,” said Madine, who watched McMahon storm to victory in 2:27.18, virtually 15 seconds ahead of silver medalist Niamh Bryson of Templeogue.

“I’m very pleased with how she has performed at these championships — eight golds and one silver.

“It’s been a very good year and we now look ahead to 2012 with optimism,” he said.

“She will go to Egypt now for a week’s long course training.”

McMahon also took gold yesterday in the 400m individual medley in a time of 4:44.89 ahead of Bryson once again with Lisburn’s Jemma Bingham taking bronze in 5:11.90.

Murphy, who walked away with the Larry Williamson trophy, was simply outstanding throughout the meet, which came a week after the European championships that he had to miss due to illness.

Murphy broke the 2002 record of William Carey in the 50m butterfly heats, shaving a massive half-second off the old time in 24.03. The Michigan-based Dubliner returned to the pool last night to set another Irish senior record of 23.95.

Murphy said: “I was really disappointed that I had to miss the European championships because I had been working really well in training in Michigan and I think I’ve shown that at these championships.

“It’s nice to pick up the swimmer of the meet award,” Murphy added.

Enniskillen’s Chelsey Wilson also ended the championships in style when she won gold in the 100m backstroke in 1:02.10 ahead of Kilkenny’s rising junior star Jane Roberts, 1.03.53, and third placed Katie Reid of Belfast club Invictus, 1.03.59.

There was also a noteworthy swim from Paralympian Bethany Firth who clocked an Ulster squad time to win the B final of the 100m backstroke, 1:07.93.

Firth’s Ards team-mate Curtis Coulter took the Irish 200m freestyle title when placing second overall in 1:51.57, two 10ths behind Open champion Kyle Stolk of Holland.

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