Yesterday, the five member strong Irish delegation departed Dublin Airport for the 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships scheduled to start Moday in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The team includes Ellen Keane, Ailbhe Kelly, James Scully,Jonathan McGrath, and Laurence McGivern. The team had returned to Dublin earlier on the week after training in the warmer waters surrounding the Canary Islands.
Keane is an S9 classified swimmer from Clontarf, Dublin and is a member of the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) swim club. Kelly is an S8 classified swimmer from Castleknock, Dublin who is also a member of the NAC swim club. Scully, an S5 classified swimmer, is the third member of the team who is also a member of the NAC swim club. He hales from Ratoath, County Meath. McGrath is an S8 classified swimmer who is part of the Limerick High Performance Swim team and is from Killaloe, County Clare. McGivern is an S9 swimmer is part of the Invictus Swim team and is from Rostrevor, County Down.
Keane, Scully and McGivern all have international experience, having competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and who all medalled at last year’s world championships. McGivern trains up in Belfast and is competing in only one event, the S9 men’s 100m backstroke, and won’t see any action until day six of the competition. Keane’s first event, the S9 women’s 50m freestyle, is on the first day of competition. Scully also sees action on the first day in the S5 men’s 100m freestyle.
Kelly is the team’s youngster at just fifteen years old. This is her first major international event, and her first race, the S8 women’s 100m backstroke, is the first one on the competition for Irish swimmers. McGrath also gets underway on the first day, in the afternoon session with the S8 men’s 100m backstroke event.
The team was accompanied by seven other members of the delegation including national team coach Jim Laverty, assistant coach Hayley Burke, team manager Mary Seery, performance manager Dave Malone, performance analyst Alan Swanton, and physiotherapist Jon Faulkner.