By John Kenny in Berlin

Sycerika McMahon completed her European Swimming Championships programme with a second-placed finish in her heat of the women’s 400m freestyle in Berlin.

The 19-year-old's time of 4:13.26 was a new personal best for McMahon, three seconds better than her junior European-winning time of two years ago, and it placed the Texas A&M based swimmer 13th overall, outside the top-eight qualification places for the final.

It rounded off a tough week for McMahon, who was bitterly disappointed at not making today’s 50m breastroke final, an event in which Fiona Doyle competes at 1510 Irish time.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport after today’s 400m freestyle heats, McMahon explained that her back foot had slipped on the blocks at the start of yesterday’s 50m breaststroke semi-final.

“It was a terrible swim all round for me,” said McMahon

“I slipped on the block and got a pretty bad start. But that’s still not an excuse as I swam absolutely terrible.

“I dived in and I was behind everyone from the word go and I just started spinning and that’s the worst thing you can do in a 50m race.

“It really, really was very disappointing for me, but you know it’s done now and all I can do is just learn from it.

“This summer has been pretty terrible for me overall, but at least I know where I am now. It’s a good indicator of what I need to work on and obviously there is a heck of a lot for me to work on right now.

“I’ve been training hard all year, but obviously it’s not quite enough. It’s just really disheartening at this moment in time. To not even make a final at the Europeans or the Commonwealths, I didn’t train for that."

Irish attention in Berlin now switches to Limerick's Fiona Doyle who is the sixth-fastest qualifier for this afternoon's women’s 50m breaststroke final.

Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte is the gold medal favourite, and the world champion and fastest qualifier looks nailed on for gold, but the rest of the eight swimmers in the final, including Doyle, will fancy their chances of snatching silver or bronze.

Fiona Doyle