Swim Ireland has announced its roster of 12 athletes who will compete at the 2016 European Championships in pool swimming, in addition to diver Oliver Dingley, who is the country’s first international-caliber diver in a generation.
Among the swimmers expected to race are Shane Ryan, although his participation is dependent upon his nationality-change paperwork coming through. Ryan, who is an American dual-citizen, competed for the United States at the 2013 Duel in the Pool meet, which meant that to compete for his ancestral home of Ireland, he had to absorb a year-long waiting period. That waiting period is due to expire on May 13th, with pool swimming to begin on May 16th.
Among those joining him will be fellow Olympic qualifiers Fiona Doyle and Nicholas Quinn.
Doyle qualified for the semi-finals of the 100 breaststroke at the 2014 European Championships and was 7th in the 50 breaststroke; and in 2015 won two sprint breaststroke medals at the World University Games (Summer Universiade).
Quinn is similarly a breaststroker, who has gone lifetime bests already this year in both the 100 (1:00.95) and 200 (2:11.24) meter breaststrokes already this year.
Those three have already qualified for the Olympics and are more likely to be trained through the European Championships. The other 9, aside from specific competitive goals, will be using the meet as a final opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games. Included among those hoping for a final surge is the Irish National Record holder in the 100 backstroke Conor Ferguson. At last week’s Irish Open Championships, he missed the FINA “A” time to qualify for the Olympics by just .05 seconds.
On a broader scale of sport, Ireland is abuzz at the exploits of 23-year old Oliver Dingley. Dingley has qualified to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which makes him their first Olympic qualifier in diving since 1948. Dingley formerly represented the UK and won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the 3-meter springboard but recently became eligible to represent Ireland. Even at the last Olympics for Irish diving, in 1948, Eddie Heron was fully unable to compete due to jurisdictional disputes that led to the withdrawal of the entire Irish swimming and diving teams, though only after Heron had completed prelims.
Ireland will send now a team of 3 divers to the meet after Ireland has been absent from European diving for 20 years.
“Our whole team has been lifted after Ireland gained their first Olympic qualifier in 68 years and we go into these European Championships excited and full of optimism.” Diving head coach Damian Ball said. “The back room staff have worked hard getting our divers into good physical shape, and I’m extremely grateful for the support given to diving to get our team this far. The Euro’s will be a tough challenge for Ireland’s divers, there’s no getting away from that, but we will enjoy the ride together and see where it takes us.”
The Full Irish Roster
- Shane Ryan (Olympic qualifier)
- Fiona Doyle (Olympic qualifier)
- Nicholas Quinn (Olympic qualifier)
- Sycerika McMahon
- Dan Sweeney
- Alex Murphy
- Jordan Sloan
- Brendan Hyland
- Curtis Coulter (drafted to anchor the men’s medley)
- Danielle Hill (junior)
- Mona McSharry (junior)
- Conor Ferguson (junior)
- Oliver Dingley (Olympic qualifier)
- Natasha MacManus
- Jack Ffrench