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Daniel Wiffen becomes first Irishman to break 15-minute Barrier in the 1500m Freestyle

Ireland's Daniel Wiffen during Heat 1 of the Men's 1500m Freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on the seventh day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Friday July 30, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story OLYMPICS Swimming. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. ..RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder..
Paul McConville

MAGHERALIN man Daniel Wiffen became the first Irishman to break the 15-minute mark in the 1500m Freestyle at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest this morning.

Wiffen, who had held the previous Irish best at 15:02.78, lowered the record by almost five seconds touching in 14:57.66, to finish fourth in his heat and ninth overall. The 20-year-old, who swam the 800m Freestyle final on Tuesday, missed a second final by just .78 of a second, the final place going to Great Britan's Daniel Jervis in 14:56.89.

Tokyo Olympian Wiffen, first took the Irish record in the event in December 2020, breaking Andrew Meegan's record of 15:19.98 in 15:19.04, he has now taken over 20 seconds off that record in 18 months.

Speaking after the race Wiffen said: "I was very happy with my swim as I'm the first Irish swimmer to break 15mins in the 1500m, which is a huge barrier to break. Even though I came ninth and just missed the final by less than a second, I know there is more to come, and I can't wait to get back training and race again at the Commonwealth Games (July)."

The three Tokyo 2020 medallists lead the qualifications with Germany's Florian Wellbrock the top seed in 14:50.12, Mykhailo Romanchuk (Ukraine) second in 14:50.68 and Olympic Gold medallist Bobby Finke of the USA third in 14:50.71.

Attention at the World Championships now turns to diving with Ciara McGing and Clare Cryan competing for Ireland. McGing will make her World Championships debut in the 10m Platform event tomorrow, while Cryan competes in the 1M and 3M Springboard events on June 29 and July 1 respectively.

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