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Swim Ireland have announced their teams for the 2021 FINA World Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and the LEN European Championships (25) in Kazan, Russia, the latter event beginning next week.
In the main, athletes were selected to compete in one or other of the two events, as it is unusual for both to take place in the same calendar year; events being pushed back because of the pandemic has resulted in the end of 2021 and much of 2022 being more hectic for international racing than usual.
The World Championships is set to run over six days from 16th – 21st December, with the European equivalent also running over six days from 2nd – 7th November 2021.
Ireland’s youthful European Championships team features three athletes – Eoin Corby, Molly Mayne and Grace Hodgins – that will focus on gathering experience, while among the 12 athletes in Ireland’s heading to Abu Dhabi are eight Olympians, including Tokyo 2020 Olympic finalist Mona McSharry.
The Irish team for the World Championships will also feature Olympic Top-16 finisher Daniel Wiffen and Shane Ryan and Danielle Hill, who have performed notably in the 2021 season of the International Swimming League (ISL).
Fellow Olympians Brendan Hyland, Finn McGeever, Jack McMillan, and Ellen Walshe will also compete, with Darragh Greene the only Tokyo 2020 swimmer not travelling, as he only recently returned to the training pool after an extended post-Olympics break.
Identified relays will once again be a strong focus for the Irish contingent with some athletes selected to the team specifically for this purpose. The Irish team will be led by Team Leader Jon Rudd and Head Coach Ben Higson, with Michael McCarthy also selected as a team coach to support the travelling contingent.
The Irish team at the European Championships in Kazan will be led by Head Coach John Szaranek, who will be assisted by Trojan Swimming Club coach Jonathan Preston.
On this team, multiple Irish Junior Record holder Eoin Corby is the most experienced of the group. He and teammate Molly Mayne recently started their short course season at the FINA Swimming World Cup.
They will be joined by youngster Grace Hodgins, who will gain her first Irish cap at all levels when she first steps onto the blocks.
National Performance Director Jon Rudd said: “After what was our most successful Olympic Games in at least 25 years, we are delighted to be able to return to some high-quality international racing, something that eluded us during 2020 and 2021 as we approached Tokyo.
“There’s very much an eye on the future with some of these athletes and they all met what we felt was a stringent and robust Selection Policy to make these teams.
“Some athletes have been unable to take up their places, particularly for Kazan, as November is not an easy period for those in full-time education, but for those who can take the opportunity, we will look forward to some fast and exciting short course racing across the two meets.”
The Swim Ireland Selection Policy permitted Mona McSharry a place on both Irish National Teams at these two events, but McSharry will focus on the Abu Dhabi event due to her ongoing academic commitments.
The athletes returning from Kazan will also race in the 2021 Irish National Short Course Championships, which take place at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin from the 16th – 18th December.
|2021 FINA World Championships (25m), Abu Dhabi, UAE|
|Name||Home Programme||Home Programme Coach|
|Calum||Bain||University of Stirling, Scotland||Bradley Hay|
|Niamh||Coyne||National Centre (Dublin)||Ben Higson|
|Danielle||Hill||Larne Swimming Club||Peter Hill|
|Brendan||Hyland||National Centre (Dublin)||Ben Higson|
|Finn||McGeever||National Centre (Limerick)||John Szaranek|
|Jack||McMillan||National Centre (Ulster)||Davy Johnston|
|Mona||McSharry||University of Tennessee, USA||Matt Kredich|
|Robert||Powell||National Centre (Dublin)||Ben Higson|
|Shane||Ryan||National Centre (Dublin)||Ben Higson|
|Jordan||Sloan||National Centre (Ulster)||Davy Johnston|
|Ellen||Walshe||University of Tennessee, USA||Matt Kredich|
|Daniel||Wiffen||Loughborough University, England||Andi Manley|
|2021 LEN European Championships (25m), Kazan, Russia|
|Name||Home Programme||Home Programme Coach|
|Eoin||Corby||National Centre (Limerick)||John Szaranek|
|Grace||Hodgins||Trojan Swimming Club (Dublin)||Jonathan Preston|
|Molly||Mayne||Hamilton Aquatics, UAE||Ash Morris|