By John Kenny

The Carlton Irish Long Course Swimming Championships which double up as a world championship qualifier, get under way on Thursday at the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) in Dublin. 

Irish swimmers taking part in the four day meet, will be looking to qualify for World and the European Junior Championships which take place in Poland.

London Olympian Sycerika McMahon (100m breaststroke) and Chris Bryan (open water) have already qualified for the World Championships in Barcelona in July while Dubliner Barry Murphy will be seeking to dip under the qualification time of 1:00.86 in the 100m breaststroke this weekend.

The 27-year-old Murphy has quit his US base at the University of Michigan and has returned home to Ireland to base himself at the High Performance centre at the NAC.

"Its good to be back and I'm really enjoying working at the NAC," said Murphy.

"It was something I had planned and its given me a different perspective on how I have been living for the last seven or eight years.

"I'm looking to qualify for the worlds at the Nationals and we set out that goal back in January. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life right now and training with Paul Donovan has really focused me on the work I have to do for the 100 breaststroke."

"I will have three chances this weekend, heats, semi finals and final to get under the qualifying time.I have done it before and I can do it again," Murphy added.

Others Irish swimmers looking to get on the plane to Barcelona include US-based Fiona Doyle who will also compete at the Championships along with Bethany Carson who swims out of the NAC.

Grainne Murphy will be in attendance this week but will not be in competition as she continues her rehabilitation from a virus which ruined her London 2012 preparations.

There will be a number of overseas swimmers competing including the 2009 World 400m individual medley champion Katinka Hosszu who will travel to Ireland as she continues her preparations for the World Championships.

The three-time Hungarian Olympian finished fourth in the 400m IM at the London 2012 Olympic Games and went on to win three Gold Medals at the European Short Course (25 metres) in November last and two Gold Medals at the World Short Course Championships in December.

Hosszu will be competing in all individual events in Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and Medley.

Places are also up for grabs for Irish teams travelling the European Youth Olympic Festival in the Netherlands, the World University Games in Russia and the US Open in California.