Largest Irish Olympic Swimming Squad Makes Mark On Tokyo


The nation of Ireland may not be on top of the overall swimming medal table but a steady force has been awakened here in Tokyo.

The 9-strong Irish squad competing represents the nation’s largest-ever Olympic swimming team, with 8 of the members making their Olympic Games debut.

Mona McSharry was the sole swimmer to advance to an individual final here, making the grade in the women’s 100m breaststroke. The University of Tennessee student-athlete produced a time of 1:06.94 in the final to place 8th.

The most recent team achievement came in the form of 20-year-old Daniel Wiffen in the heats of the men’s 1500m freestyle. The Magheralin native punched a time of 15:07.69, obliterating his previous PB and Irish standard of 15:16.90 notched at the Irish Olympic Trials this past April. His outing here garnered him 20th place overall.

Of his performance, Wiffen stated, “I loved it! It was a fun race, I enjoyed it, taking it all in and got a nine second personal best time as well!

“My target was to go and PB and try and get closer to the 15-minute barrier. I’m obviously closer now, seven seconds off. The tactic was just to get in, if there’s a racer, race with them. If not, I had to assess it during the race and pick it up if I wasn’t going fast enough.”

National Performance Director Jon Rudd said of these Olympics, “This is our best Olympic swimming result for a long time and I am extremely proud of these nine athletes and all that they have achieved.

“The staff here have been amazing in preparing them across the course of three weeks and we also have to thank and congratulate the coaches in the home programmes that got them here and helped us en route.

“An Olympic Final plus the equivalent of two Semi Finals (Top-16 finishes) is outstanding for us, as is achieving five Irish Senior Records across seven days of racing. We had 15 swims in total and in 13 of them, we rose through the rankings or held our pre-meet position. It’s all fantastic work from and within this team – and we are excited at what this team can achieve in three years time when Paris comes calling”.

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1 month ago

Ireland gets partial credit for Siobhan Haughey since her uncle was prime minister of Ireland

Reply to  wonkabar23
1 month ago

As I recall, when Michelle Smith was perhaps doping herself to gold medals in Atlanta 25 years ago, it was said that there was not one long course pool in all of Ireland. I know that they have since built a very fine swim center in Dublin, and perhaps a few other counties and towns on the Emerald Isle have swim centers as well. In any case, it’s great to see a fine island nation develop a national swim program.

Last edited 1 month ago by JVW

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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