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Mona McSharry and Conor Ferguson secure semi-final spots in Doha

Mona McSharry and Conor Ferguson have booked semi-final spots at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha following comfortable Monday morning heat swims.

McSharry, who has already booked her ticket to the Paris Olympics, was second in her 100m breaststroke heat in 1:06.49. The 23-year-old, who was fifth at the 2023 edition of the World Championships, cruised through the heats and ranks third overall for the semi-final.

"I'm happy," the Sligo native, who holds the Irish record of 1:05.55, said afterwards.

"February is a weird time to be getting up and doing a world champs swim and I think it’s exciting to try and progress through the rounds and be as good as I can at this time of the year and then just build on that for the summer.

"It was a good swim this morning, well-paced, just try and shave a little bit off each 50 metres and see what we can do."

McSharry’s breaststroke semi-final takes place at 4.28pm today.

Ferguson dipped under the 54 second mark for the first time in his career with a personal best swim of 53.95 in the 100m backstroke heats.

The 24-year-old was second in the first of the seeded heats and progresses 11th overall.

His semi-final takes place at 4.17pm with an Olympic qualification time of 53.74 on offer.

"It’s a step in the right direction and I know I’ve more to give, the first one’s always a bit nerve wrecking but it’s good to get that out of the way, it’s a good confidence builder," he said after his heat.

"Historically looking, my afternoon swims are always better than the morning. It was a good swim this morning, but I just have to forget about it and focus on tonight now."

Also, in action this morning, Maria Godden swam her first individual event, the 100m backstroke, touching in 1:01.99, for 20th