By John Kenny at the National Aquatic Centre
Sixteen-year-old Westport swimmer Dearbhail McNamara became the eighth Irish competitor to qualify for the senior European Championships in Berlin this August on the final day of competition at the National Swimming Championships at the NAC in Dublin.
McNamara finished second to Britain’s Danielle Lowe in the final of the women’s 200m breaststroke in a time of two minutes 32.95 seconds, which qualified her for the German meet by .14 of a second.
McNamara adds her name to that of the seven other Irish competitors, including Olympians Barry Murphy and Sycerika McMahon, who had already qualified.
Joining them will be Fiona Doyle, Swim Ireland’s High Performance Athlete of the Year for 2013, Irish record holder Brendan Hyland, Nicholas Quinn, Dan Sweeney and open water swimmer Chris Bryan.
There was disappointment however, for Andrew Meegan of Aer Lingus. Although Meegan won the gold in the men’s 800m freestyle final, the win was tempered by the fact that that 23-year-old just missed out on European qualification.
Meegan won in 8:09.84, which was an agonising .34 of a second shy of joining the other Irish swimmers who qualified for Berlin in August.
Elsewhere Antoinette Neamt, the 13-year-old swimming sensation from Tallaght, won her fourth national title at the NAC.
Neamt claimed the 400m freestyle title on Saturday, and the young Dublin teenager, who also trains at the high performance centre at the NAC, blitzed the rest of the field to take the women’s 1500m crown.
Neamt had already won the 200m and 800m freestyle events earlier this week, and she won the punishing 1500m gold in a time of 16:54.8, with silver medallist Una Comerford of UCD almost 100m adrift.
However, clearly exhausted by her exertions, Neamt finished outside the medals in the final of the women’s 200m Individual medley (IM) with gold going to Lowe, who won the gold in a time of 2:15.03.
The men’s 200m IM title went to Danas Rapsys of the Lithuanian development squad in a time of 2:03.30.
Full results day 4
Men 800m freestyle final: 1st A Meegan Aer Lingus 8:09.84 2nd B Gibbons Athlone 8:20.99 3rd C Turner NAC 8:33.99
Women 1500m freestyle final: 1st A Neamt Tallaght 16:54.80 2nd L Comerford UCD 17:54.48 3rd A Berry Aer Lingus 17:55.78
Women 200m IM final: 1st D Lowe Aer Lingus 2:15.03 2nd S Stallard UCD 2:21.58 3rd B Carson Lisburn 2:23.44
Men 200m IM final: 1st D Rapsys Lithuania 2:03.30 2nd P Strazda Lithuania 2:06.55 3rd J Brown Ards 2:07.82
Women 200m breaststroke final: 1st D Lowe Aer Lingus 2:30.81 2nd D McNamara Westport 2:32.95 3rd N Kilgallen Claremorris 2:38.36
Men 200m breaststroke final: 1st D Sweeney Sundays Well 2:17.20 2nd N Quinn Castlebar 2:17.68 3rd P Grigali Lithuania 2:21.54
Women 50m backstroke final: 1st K Kavanagh Galway 30.57 2nd T Dunne Ballina Dolphins 30.78 3rd Sinead Mylett Castlebar 31.55
Men 50m backstroke final: 1st J Sloan Bangor 26.36 2nd D Rapsys Lithuania 26.45 3rd D Prendergast UCD 27.00
Women 100m butterfly final: 1st D Lowe Aer Lingus 1:01.44 2nd S O’Brien UCD 1:02.23 3rd G Kane Bangor 1:03.02
Men 100m butterfly final: 1st D Margev Lithuania 54.43 2nd B Hyland Tallaght 54.52 3rd J Brown Ards 57.32
Women 50m freestyle final: 1st M Houghton Aer Lingus 26.07 2nd G Weaver Trident 26.96 3rd A Hyland Invictus 27.43
Men 50m freestyle final: 1st C Coulter Ards 23.23 2nd J Rogozin Lithuania 23.40 3rd M McCarthy UCD 23.65