Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 4. Three Golds won today!!





Day 4

Result:

100m Freestyle Eoin Nolan 53.88 GOLD!
50m Backstroke John Kealy 28.43 GOLD!
400m Freestyle Vincent McArdle 4:36 6th place
Eoin Nolan 4:16.06 GOLD

First up, we had Nolan competing in the 100m Freestyle. Once again, Natalchuk (Ukraine) was in the lane next to him. In the 1st 50m Nolan was in the lead, his pace was fast and steady. The supporters had every faith that he would win a place in the top three. Nolan’s parents flew to Greece to watch their son swim; they certainly have every reason to be proud! Pride filled their faces as Nolan continued to be in the lead in the final lap. Nolan said “ I could see I was in the lead in the 1st 50m, I was delighted to see that I was still in the lead in the 2nd lap. However, as soon as I passed the 25m line, I saw Ukraine creeping up on me. So I ducked my head down and swam as fast as my arms and legs could carry me.” Thanks to his arms and legs, he came first!

John Kealy prepared for the 50m Backstroke, his favourite stroke. The current world record (WR) of 23.9 was won by Kealy. He aimed to beat his own WR, winning a gold would be a bonus he said. Like in any situation be it swimming or cooking, one hopes for a good start. Unfortunately, Kealy did not have a good start, the electric board that is used to push the swimmers into the water was very slippery. Kealy’s propulsion was affected therefore his pace was too. He saw his opponents in each side of the lane in the lead, he pulled himself together as fast as he could and just swam with all his might. The pool hall was filled with the sound of the supporters roaring, (mainly from the Irish fans) Kealy’s comeback was magical! He came first, bringing him his first gold in the E.C. “ I’m disappointed I didn’t break the WR. I pulled out of the 100m freestyle to concentrate on breaking the WR as I would not have enough recovery time if I competed in both events.”

Two Irish swimmers competed in the 400m Freestyle, McArdle and Nolan. It was McArdle’s first final in the E.C. He admitted he felt nervous but he was also tired from competing in the Heats earlier in the morning. Turner coached him and mentally prepared him! After all, mental preparation is half the battle. McArdle, a fresh face to the E.C had no idea what lay ahead. Nolan wished his fellow teammate the best of luck as they walked out to the starting line. Now they were both swimming against each other, both battling for a place in the top three. The supporters remained equal to both of them! Nolan, having not trained for the 400m, entered the race at the encouragement of his coach Turner. Perhaps a surprise lay in store! Nolan and McArdle dived into the pool, McArdle was within the first 5 leading the race! Turner was quiet during the first 2 laps, which was a change for a first as he usually shouts the place down! The final two laps saw McArdle slowing down and the first 4 men in the lead. Nolan was one of the first four; Turner started getting excited and returned to his old self. It was as if Nolan had heard Turner roaring somehow, he started to get in the lead. All the supporters were on their feet, egging Nolan to swim faster as Sweden was approaching at a menacing pace, Nolan said “ Sweden was obviously getting tired, I used that to my advantage as throughout the race, I followed his pace as I know how much he wanted to win it. Once we passed the 25m mark, I ignored his pace and started swimming at mine.” “The Nolan Pace” brought him his second gold for the day!! He was given a gold medal for the second time as well as his flower. Having given the first flower to his number one fan, his mother, his second flower went to Sarah Jane. “I gave the flower to S-J as she has been a great supporter and every time I touch the finishing line, I always see her screaming and jumping around with delight, I don’t need to look at the score board to see if I’ve won! S-J just shows me!”

Comment for the day:

Donal Desmond
Supporter

“I cannot believe Nolan has won three gold!! It is brilliant! I recall seeing Nolan being very worried about the 400m before the event. I was just as surprised as he was when he won! I’m very proud of McArdle, he did very well today and is a very promising swimmer!”

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