Darragh bags bronze medal
Welcome success in Scotland
Darragh McDonald won a bronze medal in the final of the 400m freestyle (S6 class) at the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Glasgow on Monday of last week in a time of 5:12.61.
The 21-year-old swam a season's best performance in the heats that morning to qualify for the final, and he was just over a second outside that time in the decider behind Andrei Granichka of Russia in silver (5:06.51) and winner Francesco Bocciardo of Italy (5:06.49).
'I'm really happy to make the World Championship podium tonight,' the Gorey lad said. 'It's been a tough season, and the medal makes for a great finish to it. I'm really looking forward to the year ahead and the road to Rio.'
Irish team manager Hayley Burke said: 'It's been a brilliant first day for the team. Darragh put in a real battling performance to claim bronze, and to get a medal considering he went in these championships lying fourth shows what a tough competitor he is and how well he raced'.
London and Beijing Paralympian McDonald also raced in the heats of the 50m freestyle events on Thursday, and he was pleased with a season's best swim in what is not his main event. Darragh finished fifth in his heat in 34.01, and ninth overall.
McDonald was first into the pool for the Irish in his final event on Sunday morning. The U.C.D. student finished fifth in his S6 100m freestyle heat in 1:13.41 which saw him miss out on a place in the final by one spot, finishing ninth overall.
Afterwards, however, it emerged the 21-year-old had suffered a grade one tear of his pectoralis major muscle during the race which should see him sidelined for about three weeks.
These championships were a key milestone on the road to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games qualification. Swimmers who won gold and silver in their events earn automatic qualification slots for their country. For the others the highest possible finish was vital as the remaining slots are allocated based on world rankings in 2016.