By Daire Walsh
Templeogue Swimming Club’s Ellen Walshe enjoyed a brace of productive performances on Day Three of the Ireland National Team Trials in Blanchardstown.
In January of last year, Walshe made history by becoming the first Irish woman to break the one-minute barrier in the 100 metres butterfly.
Smashing the previous national record of 1:00.21, she came home in a time of 59.54 to earn a gold medal at the Flanders Swim Cup in Belgium.
She repeated the same feat at the National Aquatic Centre today – albeit she was in the pool by herself on this occasion.
Her final time of 59.73 was just shy of the record she had set 15 months ago and is a sign of the progress she continues to make.
Nevertheless, it was still marginally short of the 57.92 time that is required to earn a place on the squad for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Walshe had enjoyed a near-perfect start to the day’s action, with a time of 2:17.02 in an early morning heat ensuring she led the 200 metres individual medley semi-final later in the evening.
Taking to the pool roughly 30 minutes before her butterfly effort, she came straight out of the blocks and led the chasing pack after 50 metres.
She slipped back to third spot midway through this event, but the former Echo Sports Star of the Month quickly regained momentum and was comfortably in front at the three-quarter mark.
While she was pushed all the way by Julia Knox, Walshe ultimately emerged as the winner of the race – just under a second clear of her nearest challenger at 2:18.04. The next phase of this competition is due to take place tomorrow night.