#Santander2014 - Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern are the third and fourth Irish sailors to clinch their spots for Rio 2016 on Day 8 of the ISAF Worlds in Santander, joining James Espey and Annalise Murphy among those already bound for Brazil.
Despite still having one more race to go tomorrow (20 September) in the 80-boat 49er class, the Northern Irish pair have built enough of a points gap to secure a coveted top 10 nation place in the 49er class.
Only 10 places are up for grabs in Santander by the top nations from a competing pool of 33. But the Northern Irish pair, who previously sailed at London 2012, knew that to qualify for Rio at this early stage would significantly ease the pressure.
Upon hearing the news, Seaton said: “Getting the qualification for Rio is a big boost for us. It’s one box ticked but we still have a job to finish. We’re here to get a medal so we’ve still got to keep pushing hard."
McGovern added: “Now we can focus on events in Rio rather than having to compete in Europe at the other qualifiers. From a preparation point of view it makes things a lot smoother”.
Seaton and McGovern made waves when they began competing in Santander earlier this week, finishing second in their opening race and quickly stationing themselves at the top of the leaderboard.
After the initial two days of the qualifying series, the pair qualified with ease for the Gold Fleet. From there they have remained in sixth place overall and sixth nation.
After two races today it was confirmed that they had enough of a points lead to have earned Ireland yet another Olympic place. They will have one final Gold Fleet race tomorrow before the top 10 boats progress to Sunday’s medal races, where they’ll battle it out for the 49er world title.
Meanwhile, in today's 49erFX Gold Fleet, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey had a physically and mentally gruelling four races. The pair capsized in the first race and were unable to finish. Things did not improve too much with a 25, 19 and 20.
However, they will have one final shot at Olympic qualification tomorrow where they must be among the top 10 nations. The pair are currently 14th nation.