Walshe and Coyne strike gold in ISF World Schools Games
ELLEN Walshe and Niamh Coyne made quite an impact at the ISF World Schools Games in Casablanca recently.
Not only was this the first time that Swim Ireland had participated at the competition, but they were the only sport from Ireland to represent the nation at this year’s event.
Templeogue Swim Team star, Walshe, returned home with no less than three gold medals, two of which came in relay competition.
She combined with Maria Godden, Coyne and Mona McSharry to set a new Irish Senior record of 4:12.29 on their way to top spot on the podium in the 4x400m Medley Relay.
Indeed their performance was good enough to surpass the previous national best of 4:12.67 set by Aisling Cooney, Fiona Doyle, Grainne Murphy and Clare Dawson that had stood since 2009.
Walshe was also part of the 4x400m Freestyle Relay squad along with Godden, McSharry and Rebecca Reid that won gold before she emerged victorious in individual competition when she clocked 2:15.09 to stave off the strong challenge of England’s Caitlin Elizabeth Hubbard in the 200m Fly.
Coyne, of Tallaght Swim Club, also enjoyed individual success at this meet with silver medal wins in both the 100m and 200m Breaststroke, finishing second to compatriot McSharry in the former.
Delighted with the performance of the squad, National Performance Director Jon Rudd said “This was a worldwide event, with over 40 nations competing in difficult circumstances.
“None of our athletes see this as a benchmark meet for the season and so for them to produce such fine performances, race hard and deal with inter-continental travel so well is testament to them and the team staff.
“Thirteen medals is an excellent haul, particularly as three of them were in relays.
“When you look at our finishing position on the medal table and which nations we headed in this regard, we can safely assume that we have a strong crop of young talent now starting to find their way a little more in world swimming,” he added.
Both Walshe and Coyne will soon be focusing on this summer’s LEN European Junior Championships in Helsinki, with part of the preparation for this including the Mare Nostrum Tour in Canet and Barcelona.
In all Ireland recorded a haul of 13 medals- six gold, five silver and two bronze- that saw the eight-strong team finish second on the medal table.