CASTLEBAR swimmer Nicholas Quinn came agonisingly close to qualifying for the semi-finals of the 200 meter Breaststroke swimming event in the Olympic Aquatic Stadium in Rio this evening, missing out on place in the penultimate round by less than half a second.
Quinn, a student at the University of Edinburgh, was competing in his second event at his first Olympic Games, and put in a brilliant performance to win his heat in a time of 2:11.67. However, it was not enough overall to see him qualify for the next round, and the 23 year-old finished in nineteenth place overall, just .41 of a second outside the final qualifying berth and 3.73 seconds behind the top placed swimmer - Russian Anton Chupkov - one of two swimmers from the scandal-plagued Russian team to place ahead of Quinn in the event.
Speaking to RTÉ after the event, Quinn said he was delighted with his performance but understandably disappointed to miss out on qualifying for the semi-final in what was his preferred distance swim. He explained that it can be very hard for swimmers to consistently replicate peak performance, but reiterated his belief that there is more to come from him, before adding that he prepared as well as was possible for the games and has no regrets at all about his Olympic adventure.
Former swimmer Andrew Bree, in the analyst’s chair in the RTÉ studio this evening, said that he expects Nicholas to beat his still standing national record in the 200 meter Breaststroke in the near future.
Quinn had earlier in the week swam in the 100 meter Breaststroke event, finishing fourth in his heat with a time of 1:00.29 and finishing in thirty-third place overall.
Quinn had qualified for Rio with a time of 2:11.24 in the 200 meter Breaststroke event in Eindhoven in April, en-route to winning the Eindhoven Cup. Had he matched that time today he would have been in the semi-final as the swimmer in sixteenth place in the event - the last qualifying spot- finished with a time of 2:11.26. Quinn now has no remaining events to compete in at Rio 2016.
The disappointment at RTÉ’s lack of live coverage of Quinn’s first swim on Saturday was compounded this evening when the national broadcaster did not show the Castlebar man’s successful heat. There was much annoyance expressed on-line and across local airwaves on the matter earlier in the week, and given that RTÉ television were broadcasting live Olympic events on two channels this evening just before Quinn was took to the pool, more annoyance has been expressed.
The Irish men’s hockey team had just been defeated by Germany and analysis of that game was being shown on RTÉ 2 at the same time as Quinn’s 200 meter Breaststroke heat was beginning, while RTÉ News Now had concluded their coverage of the Rugby Sevens game between Britain and Kenya and were broadcasting Olympic memories from the Seoul games in 1988 at the time.
Quinn’s many supporters at home had to resort to trawling the internet looking for a live on-line feed, which some found via RTÉ, while others resorted to watching it on European channels they could tune into on-line.
Mayo County Councillor, Brendan Mulroy, said that ‘RTÉ have hit a new low’.
“How can sport progress in this country if our national broadcaster won’t recognise young Olympians like Nicholas Quinn. Absolute disgrace,” he fumed.
Another comment on social media added that the BBC had given more coverage to Nicholas Quinn than had RTÉ.