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McSharry leads Irish swimming quartet to Olympic qualification

Mona McSharry is among four Irish swimmers to secure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics at Swim Ireland's Irish National Team Trials. 

Joining her on the plane to Japan in the summer will be Daniel Wiffen, Shane Ryan and Darragh Greene.

Sligo native McSharry had previously been just three hundredths of a second off the Olympic qualifying time prior to the meet at the Irish Sports Campus.

The 20-year old produced a time of 1:06.97 in the 100m breaststroke to book a maiden Olympic appearance.

"It’s still sinking in, but I am excited to go and jump around my apartment for a little while," McSharry said afterwards, "Just, talk to my family and be happy about it – soak it all in and make sure that I am actually enjoying the moment.

"Sometimes you can forget to live in it for a minute, so I am definitely going to work on that today, because I have been striving for this for so long.

"I was trying not to think about it this morning, which I’ve been doing the last three weeks.

"Just trying not to build it up so much in my head – it’s just another 100m Breaststroke and I’m just going to swim it. I had a set plan this morning and I have a very organised way that I do stuff to make sure I don’t have time to sit and worry about my race.

"The first 50 felt really good. I could see Niamh [Coyne] beside me, so that was definitely pushing me on.

"When I turned, I could still see her there and I knew I would have to pick it up and really go for it. It definitely burned in the last 10m. At that point you just have to push through.

"I did have that wonder, does this burn and I’m not going fast enough, or is it because I’m pushing to new levels. It’s very hard to distinguish sometimes.

"You just have to push to the wall and see what the time is. I knew I was going to do it, and I knew I could do it, but it was still really nice to turn around and be surprised to see it on the board."

In the first race of the morning, Wiffen took a whopping 21-seconds off his best time in the 800m Freestyle. The Larne Swimming Club member came in 2-seconds under the Olympic qualifying time.

Wiffen's time of 7:52.68 also beat the eight-year old Irish senior record of Andrew Meegan by a whole 13-seconds.

"It’s probably the most nervous competition I’ve ever been to," Wiffen said.

"I only managed to eat cereal for breakfast. I was thinking about it all day.

"I knew I had to be in and around 3:55 out on the 400m Free, so I wanted to be quite comfortable out.

"I kinda knew I went out the right time and towards the end I had a cheeky look at the clock on the last 50 to see where I was.

"I just got my head down then to get that time. It’s unbelievable – 19 and going to the Olympics. I am over the moon and I just have to thank my parents, my coaches and all of my friends for helping me get here."

Shane Ryan will be competing at his second consecutive Olympic Games, having equalled the qualifying time of 53.85 in the 100m Backstroke. Ryan had already gone quicker at the Irish Open in 2019.

Completing the Tokyo-bound quartet is Darragh Greene. He'd gone under the Olympic threshold in the 100m Breaststroke at the 2019 World Championships.

He set a new Irish record best of 59.76 in Abbotstown on Tuesday morning.

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Daniel Wiffen Darragh Greene Mona McSharry Olympic Games Olympics Shane Ryan Swimming Tokyo 2020

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