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4x200 Record for Irish F-Teamers

30 July 2019

Irish Boys
Brendan, Jack and Robbie teamed up in the 4x200 freestyle to dominate.

Ireland's relay team of Jack McMillan, Robbie Powell, Jordan Sloan, and Brendan Hyland broke the Irish 4x200 freestyle relay national record by an astonishing 16 seconds last Friday at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Their time of 7:13.91 placed 16th in the heats, representing Ireland?s first ever men's 4x200 freestyle relay at a World Championship.

The previous national record of 7:30.45 was set at the 2013 US Open in Irvine, California by the team of Sean Leahy, Seamus Stacey, Hyland (then 18 years old), and Curtis Coulter. Ireland also broke the national record in the 4x100 freestyle relay earlier in the week, with Shane Ryan joining Powell, Sloan, and McMillan to clock a 3:17.38.

Jack had a cracking good time in Gwangju.

McMillan, the Irish record holder in the 400m freestyle, opened the relay with a 1:48.00, a solid half-second drop from his 1:48.56 from the Irish Open in March. Powell followed up with a 1:48.84, well under his 1:49.64 from the same meet. Both just 19 years old and competing at their first World Championships, they took the new experience in stride.

"I used the adrenaline from the nerves and the atmosphere to my advantage," McMillan said. Powell agreed, saying, "I'm getting better at controlling my nerves so I don't believe they affected me any worse than what they would at any other competition."

Sloan put up the fastest split of the four with a 1:47.84. Though just over his winning time of 1:47.63 from the Irish Open, it was a massive improvement from his 1:48.60 in the individual 200m freestyle earlier in the week. He handed off to Hyland, who chopped 1.3 seconds off his personal best to anchor in 1:49.23. His split was also more than 5 seconds faster than his 1:54.31 from Ireland's previous national record-setting relay back in 2013.

This was not the first significant time drop for Hyland at these World Championships. He broke the Irish record in the heats of the 200m butterfly (1:57.09) only to break it again that night in the semi-final (1:56.55). While understandably disappointed that he missed the FINA A cut by 0.07, Hyland has established himself a serious contender not just for the Olympics, but the Olympic final next year. A 1:56.03 made the final in 2016.

"Honestly making it through to my first World semi-final and racing two lifetime bests, with my Dad waving his Ireland flag from the stands, was unbelievable," Hyland said. "He's always been there, and to swim the best time of my life, with him supporting me on the other side of the world, was just mad."

Robbie loved the opportunity to race against and talk to some his swimming idols in Gwangju.

All four swimmers seem very capable of dropping time in the next year, meaning they have the potential not just for lowering the record, but for making the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Ireland was one of several teams hoping for a top-12 finish, as this would have automatically given them an Olympic berth. However, they were nearly 2 seconds outside 12th-place Switzerland, whose 7:12.08 required an average split of 1:48.02.

Funky Trunks would like to congratulate F-Teamers Jack, Robbie, and Brendan, as well as the rest of Swim Ireland, on their tremendous performances at World Championships.

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