Irish swimmer, James Scully is no stranger to the world stage. With two Paralympic games and a number of European and bronze medals under his belt, Scully is familiar to the pressure that elite competition brings.
One thing that was new to the highly experienced Scully, was the raucous hometown support that he received at the National Aquatic Centre on the first day of the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships.
“It’s always great to have the home crowd to cheer for you,” said Scully.
“As soon as I got out there it’s brilliant, it’s something I’ve never experienced before, I mean I’ve experienced big crowds but look it was brilliant and thanks for all the lads for coming out and supporting through the week I’m sure all the Irish athletes will be delighted to have that welcome.”
Scully put in an excellent race in his Men’s 200m Freestyle final, finishing fifth which unfortunately was not enough to secure a medal.
Despite this the 25-year old was upbeat about his performance, also outlining that he had his eye on the 50m and 100m races later in the week.
“I’m thrilled with the performance, it’s faster than the heats”, began Scully.
“It’s always good to come back for an evening swim and go faster again, slightly off my personal best but it’s still a solid time, this year’s a little bit different to previous years. Look, I’ll probably still be targetting the 50 or 100 metres more in terms of getting closer to my personal best but very happy with how the first half and the heats went.”
Our superstar James Scully just swam a SEASON BEST with his fastest time since RIO !! Here’s how he felt after the race! Into the final this evening, best of luck James! #Dublin2018 @Para_swimming @AllianzIreland pic.twitter.com/aMm4NWytNo
— Paralympics Ireland (@ParalympicsIRE) August 13, 2018
Scully was keen to mention that there are plenty of races to look forward to throughout the week with a plethora of Irish swimmers in action over the course of the seven days, with the Paralympian’s focusing on Friday and Saturday from his own personal perspective.
“There’s a lot of races to come in the week, a lot of big hopes and big aims, a lot of new athletes coming into the programme and then later on in the week people will start to build, so there’ll be top races dotted all over the week so it’s not the kind of week that will be defined by the end or the start. It will go throughout so definitely looking forward to it from my perspective, Friday and Saturday I’ll be hoping to have a similar race to today.”
Also on day one, 16-year-old Nicole Turner put in an excellent performance in the Women’s 50m Freestyle, with Castleknock native Ailbhe Kelly also, swimming valiantly in the 200m Individual Medley Final.