Former United States National Team swimmer Shane Ryan has announced that he will be moving to Ireland in May in an attempt to qualify to represent the country at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Ryan, who has completed three seasons of eligibility at Penn State, made the announcement via his Facebook page.
I’ve been given the opportunity to train with the Ireland national team and work towards possibly representing them in the Olympics . It was a tough decision for me but I’ve decided that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I’m moving to Ireland in May and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve had such a great time here at PSU the last 3 years and I’m going to miss everyone. But I will be back in 2016, to swim for Penn State and to finish my senior year and graduate. If your ever in Ireland give me a call!
Because Ryan’s father, Thomas, is Irish, he is eligible to change his sporting citizenship to that country’s, though it will mean living in the country and taking a year-long break since the last time he represented the United States internationally. While simply being on the National Team doesn’t lock Ryan into American sporting citizenship, representing the country at the 2013 Duel in the Pool does, which triggers the mandatory residence and wait periods before he can officially compete for Ireland.
The official FINA rule:
GR 2.6 Any competitor or competition official changing his affiliation from one national governing body to another must have resided in the territory of and been under the jurisdiction of the latter for at least twelve months prior to his first representation for the country.
With a good year of competition, Ryan should be able to qualify for the Irish Olympic Team. He was 2nd in 2014 at the NCAA Championships in the 100 back as a sophomore (44.78) and was 3rd as a junior (45.24).
Ryan’s immediate contribution will be in the 100 backstroke, where his best time in long course meters of 53.84 is already faster than the 54.44 Irish Record in that event done by Karl Burdis in 2009. He’ll have to repeat the feat, likely at next year’s Irish Olympic Trials, for that record to count officially.
He’s also faster than the Irish Records in the 100 LCM free (49.27), the 100 SCM free (48.14), and the 100 SCM backstroke (51.01). Ireland is unlikely to qualify any relays for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, but Ryan could conceivably compete for the country at the 2016 European Aquatics Championships in London.
In the summer of 2014, Ryan ranked 7th in the 100 back in long course and 9th in the 100 free.
Ryan’s comments indicate that he intends to return to the Penn State program to complete his eligibility in the 2016-2017 season.