Magheralin swimmer Daniel Wiffen celebrates smashing the Irish 800m freestyle record - putting him in contention for the Tokyo Olympics.
At the Irish Olympic trials last week, 19-year-old Magheralin swimmer Daniel Wiffen started the event off with a bang in a breathtaking performance in the first race the 800m freestyle.
Daniel not only smashed his own personal best time but also smashed the eight-year-old Irish record by 12 seconds to finish with a time of 7:52.68, this was a 21 seconds drop in his personal best time and well under the FINA Olympic qualifying standard of 7:54.31.
Daniel is the first Irish man to go under eight minutes in this event and is now a strong contender for Tokyo, ranking 12th in Europe and 18th in the world.
Daniel will only be the 50th swimmer to represent Ireland at an Olympic games. He is currently the only qualifier in Ulster to make the consideration time for Tokyo.
Speaking afterwards, Daniel said it had all been “a bit of a surprise”.
He added, “My old coach, Martin McGann told me you don't just want to get the time, you want to smash it and give yourself a good chance of getting into a good heat in Tokyo.”
Daniel then swam in the 200 freestyle, again clocking 1:51.15, dropping 1.4 seconds from his personal best and keeping him as a contender for the Men’s 4x200m relay team for Tokyo.
To finish the meet off on Saturday evening, Daniel then moved onto the 1500m freestyle where he secured another personal best time of 15:16.90 and broke the Irish record in this event also by two seconds.
Daniel said, “I wanted to be out comfortable to 800m, just under eight minutes, but to be honest I think maybe in the middle of the race I was a bit tired, obviously from the build up of the competition - it’s been a long meet.
“I’m still happy with the time, it’s a PB and I can’t ask for more than that.
“I was obviously going for the FINA A time at the start of the week and it was good timing that the 800m was the first event, because that’s when you’re most rested. I was delighted to get that and I’m looking forward to Tokyo.”
Daniel has now returned to Loughborough University to continue training with his identical twin Nathan and the rest of the Loughborough team.
Daniel will be representing Ireland at the European Championships in Budapest in May, he will then complete his last block of training in Loughborough with his coach Andi Manley before heading to the represent Ireland in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
We wish Daniel and the other three Irish Swimmers who have qualified this week every success as they prepare for every athletes dream – the Olympic Games.