Magheralin swimmer Daniel Wiffen has his eyes firmly on Tokyo later this summer after qualifying for the Olympic Games in stunning fashion.
Wiffen, who recently moved to Loughborough to study and train, recorded a time of 7:52.68 in the 800m freestyle at the Irish trials in Dublin – taking an incredible 21 seconds off his best time.
The 19-year-old’s time – a personal best – was 1.63 seconds inside the Olympic standard of 7:54.31.
A delighted Wiffen commented: ‘It’s probably the most nervous competition I’ve ever been to. I only managed to eat cereal for breakfast. I was thinking about it all day.
“I knew I had to be in and around 3:55 out on the 400m Free, so I wanted to be quite comfortable out. I kinda knew I went out the right time and towards the end I had a cheeky look at the clock on the last 50 to see where I was.
“I just got my head down then to get that time. It’s unbelievable – 19 and going to the Olympics. I am over the moon and I just have to thank my parents, my coaches and all of my friends for helping me get here.”
The honour of compete on the world stage follows on from Wiffen’s 1500m Irish freestyle record set in December – a time of 15:19.04 – knocking 13 seconds off that time.
The previous record of 15:19.98 belonged to Andrew Meegan and had stood since 2013.
It’ll be all eyes on Tokyo now. Best of luck Daniel!!