In a devastating blow for Ireland’s top swimmer, an oversight in the FINA qualifying procedures has left Sycerika McMahon out of the 50 and 100 meter breaststrokes for the 2013 World Championships that begin Sunday in Barcelona.
McMahon, who until very recently was the national record holder in the 100, and still is the national record holder in the 50, has been under the FINA A cuts in both events, but those times were done last May at the European Championships.
In an unusually short qualifying period, standards for Barcelona could only be done from July 1, 2012 until July 1, 2013, leaving McMahon out.
“I qualified a month early, and my governing body only told me this when it was past the July 1st (2013) so it was too late to redo the time,” McMahon said of the devastation.
Her training has been strong this year, and at only 18 years old, it was likely that she could have recleared the standards had she been aware of the qualifying period. She trained through the Irish National Championships, resulting in times far beneath her best.
In any other year, she would have been ok, at least in the 100 meter race, with her “B” standard from the Olympics (1:08.80, missing the A by .17). She still would have been out of the 50, and it still wouldn’t have been ideal, but it would’ve been a correctable error.
In 2013, though, with the emergence of her countrymate Fiona Doyle it wouldn’t have helped: because Doyle swam an ‘A’ time of 1:07.66, Ireland would have been only allowed to take her in the 100 breaststroke. McMahon, though, said she barely swam the breaststrokes in long course this year, thinking that she had achieved the standards already.
McMahon will still have an entry in the 200 IM thanks to an A-standard (2:14.76) in that race from London, and will add the 100 free (where she has a B standard) to her schedule. In that 100 breaststroke though, she was certainly a strong candidate to semi-final, and had a chance at finaling as well.
McMahon will come to the United States shortly after Worlds to begin competing and training with Texas A&M University.