Ennis native Chris Bryan kicks off Ireland’s campaign at the World Long Course Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China tomorrow morning when he swims in the 10 kilometre open water event at Jinshan City Beach at 09:00 local time (02:00 Irish time).
Bryan, 21 arrived in China at the weekend from the Irish training base in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he was preparing with teammates Clare Dawson, Sycerika McMahon, Barry Murphy, Gráinne Murphy and Melanie Nocher, for the eight day meet in Shanghai. Chris was the first to reach Shanghai, ahead of the others who will arrive later this week.
National Performance Director Peter Banks alongside coaches Ronald Claes and Damien Bryan (open water) are heading up the team staff, together with team managers Michael Dennihan and Alan Nocher, physiotherapist Scott Murphy, biomechanist Conor Osborough and team doctor Suzi Clarke.
The top swimmers in the world will descend upon Shanghai this week, including Michael Phelps, the most successful swimmer of all time. With the focus firmly set on the London 2012 Olympic Games, this meet is critical in the build up to qualification for the Games, and Swim Ireland hopes to have two Olympic ‘A’ standards achieved by an Irish swimmer at the meet.
Bryan, who trains alongside Gráinne Murphy under the watchful eye of coach Ronald Claes at Swim Ireland’s Limerick High Performance Centre, will become the first Irish open water swimmer to race for Ireland at a World Championships. A top-ten finish for Chris tomorrow in his premiere event would fulfil FINA’s criteria for Olympic qualification.