Paralympic Swimming: Keane and Ní Riain qualify for finals

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Team Ireland had two swimmers in action early this morning in the Tokyo Aquatic center on Day Two of Paralympic action

Ireland’s busy morning in the pool began just before 03:00 Irish Time.

Róisín Ní Riain – S13 100m Backstroke (Heats)

Ní Riain was looking to go one better from her admirable performances yesterday in the pool. The 16-year-old, in her first Paralympic race, swam a personal best to reach the final.

Today she went in heat two of the 100m backstroke. Starting in lane seven, she lined up against Team USA, Uzbekistani, and Spanish swimmers.

Her good form continued today as she started fast off the blocks and she held a position near the top of the pack at the turn. The speed continued with the final straight and she finished in third place.

Ní Riain swam her second personal best in two days with a time of 1:09.23, this time would be good enough for her to reach the women’s final later today.

Ellen Keane – SB8 100m Breaststroke (Heats)

This was Keane’s first race of her fourth Paralympic Games. The 26-year-old is one of the more experienced Irish athletes in Tokyo and showed her class to qualify for this year’s competition.

Keane would go in lane five and be up against a tough opponent in Pasco from New Zealand.

Both swimmers started very fast and broke out in front ahead of all the other athletes. At the turn, Keane was holding onto Pasco’s shoulder and maintaining the pace.

The final 25-meter stretch was very close as the Irish woman began to attack the finish line. By the narrowest of margins, Keane snuck into first place as they stretched out for the wall.

She can be very happy with herself finishing the heats with the fastest time of 1:21.71, a new personal best, and qualifying in good stead for the finals later today.

Keane seems like a strong medal candidate which is very impressive due to a change in classification last year seemingly leaving her hard done by.

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