Former U.S. National Teamer Shane Ryan Changing Sporting Citizenship, Redshirting NCAA Season

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.

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samuel huntington
6 years ago

now two potential US 4X100 relay swimmers – Shane Ryan and Santo Condorelli – have left the country

completelyconquered
Reply to  samuel huntington
6 years ago

Yes, key word potential. What do you think their odds of making the US team were? 50 to 1?

samuel huntington
Reply to  completelyconquered
6 years ago

I think both had good odds, especially condorelli. As people have discussed on this site, the US doesn’t seem to have any locks in the sprints outside of Adrian and Feigen. Really anyone who has a good swim that day during trials could make it

TheTroubleWithX
Reply to  completelyconquered
6 years ago

I’m pretty sure that the 48.83 Condorelli swam a few weeks ago at the Canadian trials would’ve garnered him a relay spot on pretty much every major international USA men’s roster ever, except for maybe 2008 and 2009.

Danjohnrob
6 years ago

Well, it certainly would be difficult for him (or anybody for that matter) in the US to qualify for the Olympics in the 100 back! This way he may be able to have a chance at an Olympic experience, not to mention getting the chance to live abroad and widen his world view. Good luck, Mr Ryan!

bobo gigi
6 years ago

Lack of ambition.
Doesn’t want to fight.
He could have tried to qualify for the US 4X100 free relay.
All these swimmers choose the easy way.

jman
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Bobo, looks like Shane and his mom don’t like your comment. But i agree with you…it is the easy way. But not sure i blame them though.

Mary Beth Ryan
Reply to  jman
6 years ago

I usually don’t comment but since there seems to b a case of mistaken identity, here goes….Jman, why would u think just because someone signs the name SwimMa, that it’s automatically Shane’s Mom? (Which Thank u to her, for the nice comments!) There r tons of us awesome Swim Moms out there. This however is Shane’s Mom. those of us that know him r proud of him & know that this is 1 of the hardest decision’s he’s ever had to make. It’s not the easy road, u have no idea all of what he is giving up? Athough, now u r correct, as I just hit the down red arrow!
BoBo, apparently u don’t know Shane, as he… Read more »

sally brennan
Reply to  Mary Beth Ryan
6 years ago

Right on Mary B. Best to Shane.

Annette
Reply to  Mary Beth Ryan
6 years ago

Shane is going all the way..he has worked so hard and has achieved so much….he is already a winner and inspiration..can’t wait to see him in the Olympics…Keep going up Shane and never look back…we are all here for you rooting you on. God bless.

Swimma
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

He wants to compete on the grandest stage of sports around the world. If he has to move to another country and has that option, he would be a fool not to. He’s not going to go to Ireland and slack off because he can. He’s still going to race against the U.S. team. He is fighting for his chance at the Olympics in his own way. Go Shane!

mcmflyguy
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

some people have this dream of competing in the Olympics. and the best way for them to get there is to go back to their original nationality. cant blame them. USA is a hard team to make. in 2014 he was 7th and 9th, so in 2016 he could be close to medal contention. is it a lack of fight or smart on his part since he could be swimming for medal contention.

Gina Rhinestone
Reply to  mcmflyguy
6 years ago

To be sure , It is not exactly his ‘ original ‘ nationality but his father’s original nationality .

Not that it always matters . Irish immigrants right off the dock were ‘ invited ‘ into the Union Army . Smart Northerners could evade service themselves by paying a tidy sum or getting a replacement hence the poor irish men were met at the shipway by beaming smiles. .

Nationality is mostly just chance . .

mcmflyguy
Reply to  Gina Rhinestone
6 years ago

Wow… thanks for the history lesson. doesn’t change anything I said. smarter for him to go to Ireland and have a chance at a medal maybe than chance even making the team here in USA.

Guy #2
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

BOBO GIGI stirring up the pot! This is a great call on his part – he is no doubt elite in the U.S., but no guarantees he will get a relay spot on the U.S.team. As a young guy, pursuing the olympic dream and getting to spend some time abroad is something that a very very small percentage of people can say they’ve done. Good for him. Keep the dream alive Shane!

Wrong.
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

I hope you know him on a personal level before you try to attack his ambition or drive.

Yeah sure he could have tried to make the relay, but it doesn’t mean he would have made it. There’s a better chance of him going to the Olympics representing Ireland than the U.S. As a swimmer if I have a solid chance to make it to the Olympics I would take it…regardless of the route because it’s every swimmers’ dream. So let’s not knock his ambition or fight in him because it’s definitely not our place to do so.

rjcid
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Don’t usually disagree with Bobo, but in this instance, the assumption that he has a lack of anything in this sport is 100% wrong.

He can swim more events at the Olympics, he has the speed to final in 100 back, and he can train knowing he’s the best. I had friends who qualified for Puerto Rican Olympic team because they could go to Olympics – mom was Puerto Rican. I even saw them swim in prelims in Beijing – can’t take that away, ever.

Almost, what 80% of swimmers at the Olympics train in US? There are a few who don’t, but the majority live and swim here for college.

This is a smart move –… Read more »

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Holy moly… 103 downvotes….

marley09
6 years ago

There’s nothing “easy” about what shane ryan has done up to this point in his career and certainly nothing “easy” about what he’s planning on doing between now and Rio. All the best to him.

Neil Jones
6 years ago

I would suggest that simply putting in the thousands of hours and reaching world elite status is grounds for being allowed to make such a decision. The easy way out would have been to quit swimming years ago. US depth in those events is way beyond any other country especially with all the old timers still at an elite level. Good for him.

Ole 99
6 years ago

Can’t really fault a kid for taking a path that can ultimately allow him to fulfill what i’m sure is a lifelong dream of swimming in the olympics. That said, it makes me appreciate Matt Grevers decision to keep with the USA in a similar situtation over a decade ago.

floppy
Reply to  Ole 99
6 years ago

Not to mention Mike Alexandrov, who ended up on the other side of the cut twice. And especially Darian Townsend, who had a spot virtually secured for 16, but switched anyway.

Ozsu
6 years ago

Good for him. Unfortunately he still won’t be able to make money for making the Olympics/scoring etc.

Michael09
6 years ago

Saddened to see that all the hard work of the Irish swimmers will be erased off record boards because Shane Ryan wants to make the Olympics, one way or another. National records are a representation of a country’s progress in sports, and should show the efforts of Irish swimmers and coaches. The Irish national records are going to be wiped by an individual who has, up until today, trained and competed as an American. Ambition to make the Olympics is admirable, but it is sad to see that the Irish swimmers, who have trained and competed as Irish, will not receive recognition for their hard work and determination any longer.

SWIMCRAZYSTUFF
Reply to  Michael09
6 years ago

I agree Michael 09 but….isn’t this pretty much what happens many times when the internationals come to the US to compete on the college level? Come in, especially at DII and III so much older, more experience, win and even or two, maybe set a record or two and bolt. Sure some finish a full 4 years and sure they are enrolled more or less playing by the rules but….still not doing much to support the progress and growth of American swimming in that regard…..so…while I agree with what you are saying….this is happening in our own levels of swimming…

Billabong
Reply to  Michael09
6 years ago

There’s still room for any Irish swimmer to go to the Olympics if they can make the QT’s, as each nation can send two swimmers per event. If they can’t make the QT’s they probably weren’t going anyway. I have no problem with the records being broken, after all Ryan is Irish by decent, and lots of Irish swimmers have benefitted from a US collegiate swimming scholarship. Good luck to the man, and I hope that he can inspire other Irish Athletes to go to Rio with him.

swimirishgirl
Reply to  Billabong
6 years ago

Billabong, that’s not necessarily true. Ireland is a small country with little funding and so there are normally only between 2 and 6 swim team places up for grabs per Olympics. That means that Ryan has had the advantage of training and developing in a country with much greater resources and arguably a more supportive culture for youngsters to focus on sporting success and then come into a country in which the swimmers there have had different opportunities to develop and be supported – financially, coaching expertise, pool time, quality of training environment etc. – and effectively take a place from them. This is not a country that will send a full team to the games and placed are limited… Read more »

Be Happy.
Reply to  swimirishgirl
6 years ago

Sure SwimIrishgirl, Ireland only sent 1 Male swimmer (and it wasn’t for Backstroke) to the London Olympics in 2012 & 3 Females. So Shane R. Is not taking anyone’s spot? If anything, it’ll make the other Men there swim faster as they practice with him. I don’t think he’s ever had anyone faster than him to practice with on an everyday basis. As far as better facilities, I don’t think his High School had A pool & the pools he used r just regular 25 yard pools with no frills. Even @ his College. The Dublin facility there is far more modern & up to date. His Coaches were just some young but nice local guys. He is just tall… Read more »

swimirishgirl
Reply to  Be Happy.
6 years ago

Don’t get me wrong, I do see the overall benefits to Irish swimming and the other swimmers as well and of course it will be fantastic to see someone of such calibre don the Irish cap and fight for a medal for Ireland but the problem is that the world will know that that swimmer and his medal is not a product of the Irish swimming system and is not evidence that Irish swimming is on the up and reaping the rewards of their investment. Irish swimming only send between 2 and 6 swimmers to the games not because they are the only ones who qualify but because they only have money to send that size of a team so… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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