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Sligo swimmer Mona McSharry took to the block for the 100m women’s breaststroke final in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre early this morning
The 20-year-old McSharry had already made history by being the first Irish swimmer to make an Olympic final since Michelle Smith in 1996.
She came into the race as the slowest swimmer in the semi-finals but knew that she could knock at least another two tenths of a second from her time based on her national record and personal best.
The young swimmer was also to face the Olympic record holder, USA’s Lily King and the World record holder, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker.
As McSharry had said herself after the semi-final, the medals are up for grabs and the winners would have to earn them in the final.
So proud of #Sligo girl #MonaMcSharry !Congrats on a superb swim. Three races under 1.07 secs. Worth getting up at 3am for. #Olympics #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/RMKtoFD1Z6
— Sorcha Crowley (@sorcgirl) July 27, 2021
Women’s 100m Breaststroke – Tokyo Aquatic Centre – 27th August
At 03:17 McSharry lined up on the blocks beside the best of the best in world swimming, starting in lane eight.
The Sligo swimmer swam another consistent race but it was not enough to beat the world class line up. She managed a time of 1:06.94, only less than half a second slower than her qualifying time.
This final is where the USA athletes turned on their class with 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby grabbing a surprise gold medal in a time of 1:04.95.
She was followed by South African Schoenmaker for silver and USA’s King taking the bronze medal.
Mona McSharry gives it everything in the 100m Breaststroke final to post yet another sub 67 seconds swim 💪
Ireland's first Olympic swimming Final in 25 years. She finished 8th and is back Wednesday for 200m Breaststroke heats!#TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 @swimireland pic.twitter.com/V8ncBB66JU
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 27, 2021
McSharry understandably left the pool with mixed emotions, hoping to have clocked in a faster time but also very proud to have been there.
As the third youngest women in the race with winner Jacoby and Russia’s Evgeniia Chikunova, the future is looking very bright for her.
The next Olympics in Paris is only three years away and McSharry has now left her mark on the swimming world showing that she means business with the rest of her career.
Her Olympics are still not over as she will now compete in the 200m breaststroke heats on Wednesday.
This is still a major achievement for someone who only took up swimming at the age of five because she fell into a lake in Austria, needing her father to rescue her, so her parents wanted her to be able to swim.
McSharry has made her country proud as one of Ireland’s best swimmers to date and we can only expect more from the 20-year-old Sligo star.