Darragh Greene became Ireland’s first swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as he set a new Irish Record in the 100m Breaststroke heats at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea today.
Greene had been under the time at the LEN European Championships in Glasgow last year where he clocked 59.92 and was the first Irishman to break the one-minute barrier in the event.
His time today, 59.82 was .11 seconds under the FINA A time for Olympic qualification and pre-validates the National Centre Dublin swimmer for the 2020 Games.
Despite the outstanding time, the Longford man just missed a place in the semi-final by seven hundredths of a second finishing in 17th place overall.
The first time ever a 59 second swim has not made a semi-final at a World Championships.
I’ve a “Bit of mixed feelings with the result” explained Greene. ”I can’t complain, I stood up, did a job, got my pre-validation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, so to do that first day of the competition, yeah I’m happy.”
“It really is a tough competition, to stand up with the world’s best, everyone’s swimming fast so it’s good to get that under the belt” added Greene
The Longford man will be back in action on Tuesday in the 50m Breaststroke Heats.
Ireland’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay of Shane Ryan, Robbie Powell, Jordan Sloan and Jack McMillan were also in record breaking form this morning with the quartet combining for a time of 3:17.38 in the heats, knocking two tenths of a second off the previous record (3:17.55) set at the 2018 European Championships.
Templeogue Swimming Club’s Ellen Walshe made an impressive debut in her first senior international event. 17-year-old Walshe swam her third fastest time ever in heat three of the 100m Butterfly where she finished in 7th place in 1:00.85.
It’s another big day for Irish swimmers tomorrow with three team-mates from National Centre Dublin in action.
Rio 2016 Olympian Shane Ryan gets the day underway in the 100m Backstroke. Ryan has been under the Olympic Qualification time earlier this year in the event, swimming an Irish Record of 53.73 at the Irish Open in March.
The Tokyo 2020 Qualification time is set at 53.85 seconds, anything under that would pre-validate Ryan for the Games next year.
Niamh Coyne, who made her senior debut at the World Short Course Championships in December, swims her main event, the 100m Breaststroke tomorrow.
The 18-year-old has a tough task ahead with the Olympic Qualification time set at 1:07.07 while Coyne has a best time of 1:07.87.
Jordan Sloan completes the morning for Ireland. Sloan will also have to swim a best time to get under the Olympic Qualification time, his best sits at 1:47.41 with 1:47.02 the time to beat.