Mona McSharry: First Irish swimmer in Olympic Final since 1996

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’It’s the second fastest second 50m that Mona has ever done!’ – Olympian Nicholas Quinn speaking on Mc Sharrry’s performance

For the first time in 25 years, Team Ireland will have a swimmer in an Olympic final.

Mona McSharry booked her spot in the Tokyo 2020 100m Breaststroke final on Monday morning.

The 20-year-old from Grange in Sligo touched the wall in fourth place in her semi-final. She swam a time of 1:06.59 to qualify for the Olympic final in 8th place.

Michelle Smith in 1996 was the last time an Irish swimmer achieved this accolade.

Coming in ahead of her in her semi-final were World Record-holder Lily King from the US, Tatjana Schoenmaker from South Africa, who set an Olympic Record in the heats, and Martina Carraro from Italy, who holds the World Record in the 50m Breaststroke.

McSharry was ranked 11th coming into the event and has now moved up three places in the rankings, finishing 9th in the heats and 8th in the semi-finals. Her lifetime best, the Irish Senior Record, is 1:06.29.

The Sligo native is now based at the University of Tennessee, and was the 2017 FINA World Junior Champion and LEN European Junior Champion in 100m Breaststroke. She was also a medallist.

McSharry said:

“I’m over the moon. I knew it was going to be tough. I’m just so happy to get another opportunity to race tomorrow.

“It was 0.2 slower (than the heats), but considering I got to bed quite late last night, and I was a bit groggy this morning, I’m not surprised about that. I’m happier with how the race felt, so I’m hoping I can pull the two together and swim a fast time (in the final).

 

She added: “It’s been amazing. Yesterday I was having lunch by myself and some other Irish person I didn’t know, Philip, a rower, came over and sat beside me and the two of us had lunch together.

“That’s really nice if you don’t have your swimming teammates there, to be able to look around and see other Irish people and sit with them and chat. That’s the great thing about the Irish spirit as well, we are very close as a nation.”

The 100m Breaststroke final takes place on Tuesday morning at 03:17 Irish time. Team Ireland has two swimming heats still to come on Monday.

 

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