“She’s a tough girl and she races tough”

By Stephen Leonard

Templeogue Head Coach Sweeney praises Walshe’s record-breaking performance

TEMPLEOGUE Swim Club’s Ellen Walshe has made a blistering start to the new year, becoming the first ever Irish female swimmer to record a sub-minute time in the 100m Butterfly.

Ellen Walshe compressor

Ellen Walshe

The 18-year-old broke the previous Irish best of 1:00.21 set by Shauna O’Brien back in 2015 with a stunning 59.54 that saw her to gold at the Flanders Cup in Belgium.

Her superb swim served also to shave almost a second off her own previous PB of 1:00.44 set at last year’s Irish Open Championships

Her coach at Templeogue, Brian Sweeney was proud of his young protégé, telling The Echo “Ellen’s a racer and she did what she does best. She’s a tough girl and she races tough. She’s got great underwater skills and, even under pressure, her skills hold up.

“Ellen has come off a good block of training. We made some technical changes and it was just about how she employed them to the best effect. She’s matured a lot and she put together a really good race” he added.

It was a busy outing for Walshe in Antwerp with the opening day of competition on Saturday seeing her also strike gold in the 200m Butterfly with a new PB of 2:14.15 while also finishing fourth in the 400m IM and reaching the 50m Butterfly Final.

The following day saw her clock yet another PB of 2:37.1 in the 200m Breaststroke, but it was in the 100m Butterfly Final that she really lit up the stage for her second gold of the event.

It sets her up nicely for a busy programme ahead that will see her line-out in the Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet in Bangor next month followed by the Edinburgh International in March and the Olympic trials in April.

Her double gold at the Flanders Cup was the highlight in another encouraging weekend for Templeogue SC that saw the club field no less than 46 swimmers in the Leinster LC Championships at the NAC.

Also in action at the Flanders Cup was Tallaght and National Centre swimmer Niamh Coyne who made the final in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke.

She raced to bronze in the 100m Breaststroke Final in a time of 1.09:70 before finishing fourth in the 200m Final and seventh over 50m.

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