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December 31, 2004

Swimming: McIlroy targets Games medal

From: Belfast Telegraph (subscription), UK - Dec 31, 2004

By David Kelly
31 December 2004

David McIlroy arrives in Melbourne today for the Deaflympics aiming for a medal.

The Lisburn man, a European Deaf Games gold medallist, is part of the four-man Irish swimming team Down Under where there will be 3,650 athletes and officials from 75 countries.

The championships start next week and McIlroy is determined to make an impact, having worked diligently since he finished his studies at Queen's University.

"I'm feeling in very good shape. I have worked very hard and hopefully I can get at least one medal," said McIlroy, who has had to raise his own funding to make the trip.

"I'm really looking forward to the whole experience and going up against the very best.

"I'm sure that the Australians, the South Africans and of course the Americans will be the big threats."

Meanwhile, Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps has been sentenced to 18 months' probation after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Phelps, who won six golds in Athens, was arrested on November 4 in Baltimore after he failed to observe a stop sign.

The 19-year-old American pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, and his record will be expunged if he complies with the terms of probation.

Prosecutors dropped charges of driving under the influence, underage drinking and failure to stop at a stop sign.

"I recognise the seriousness of this mistake," Phelps told the judge. "I've learned from this mistake and will continue learning from this mistake for the rest of my life."

Phelps was fined $250 and ordered to pay $55 in court costs. He must also attend a meeting sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and give speeches to students at three local schools warning them about the dangers of alcohol.

2004 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd