Laurence McGivern claimed bronze for Ireland in the S9 100m backstroke on the final day of competition at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Montreal, meaning Ireland has won a medal on each day of competition in Canada.
Ireland’s latest medal brings the total medal count for the team to eight, that includes one gold, three silvers and four bronze, Ireland’s largest ever haul at a Paralympic swimming meet.
20-year-old McGivern was the fourth-fastest qualifier going into tonight’s final following a morning swim of 1:06.18, just off his best of 1:05.35, which he swam at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
McGivern, however, had the swim of his life in the final, recording a new lifetime best of 1:04.75 to collect the bronze medal - which is his first major medal - ahead of London Paralympic Games bronze medallist Xiaobing Liu (1:05.52) and Australia’s Brenden Hall (1:05.40).
Another Australian, Matthew Cowdrey, picked up his fifth gold medal of the championships winning the race in 1:03.23.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said an elated McGivern. “Going into the race I knew there were things I could improve on but I didn’t think it would turn out like that and a huge personal best, I cannot believe I’ve just won bronze.”
Darragh McDonald came agonisingly close to his second medal in Canada.
Having won gold in the S6 400m freestyle on the first day of competition, McDonald was swimming in the 100m freestyle final tonight.
He touched just .3 of a second behind bronze medallist Matthew Haanappel from Australia in 1:11.70, taking almost two seconds off his heat time of 1:13.60. Colombia’s Nelson Crispin was crowned world champion in a time of 1:10.01.
James Scully was the last of the Irish in action in Montreal.
Scully, swimming in his fourth final of the week, had secured a bronze medal on Tuesday in the S5 200m freestyle final, the 19-year-old finished sixth in his final race of the championships, the 50m freestyle, in a time of 38.32. Brazil’s Daniel Dias won his seventh gold medal and ninth medal overall in a time of 32.41.
Dave Malone, head of Irish Paralympic swimming, was delighted with the team’s overall performance over the seven days, saying: “Realistically we had set our stall at four medals coming out here, and to exceed that with eight medals is beyond what we expected, it’s the first year of our Rio cycle and a good perspective of where we’re at in terms of world competition.
"This is the biggest medal haul we’ve ever had from a Paralympic swim meet and to get five of our athletes out of a six strong team to come home with medals is absolutely fantastic and I think it shows the strength within the team.
“From a perspective of the last World Championships in 2010, we’re gone from no medals to eight; it’s really thrilled all of the athletes and staff.
“We’re also grounded in our expectations I suppose, although we won a lot of medals we still have a lot to work on in terms of some of the performances, we’re in a really good place and this gives us a great platform to drive on towards Rio.”
Ireland's Paralympic Swimmers will arrive home to Dublin on Tuesday morning.