Sycerika McMahon Out of World Championship Breaststroke Races

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.

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7 years ago

Ouch, that’s really a shame for her. I was impressed by her at the Euro SCs, seems a very versatile and talented swimmer.

7 years ago

Excuses! Firstly, the athlete did not swim the A standard within the designated time period and one would think an NGB doesn’t have to hold her hand to do this. Secondly, and most importantly, the swimmer ain’t number 1 in her best events so the B standard she has won’t cut it. And finally, maybe if she swam the events at the country’s national champs in april she wouldn’t be in this pickle.

7 years ago

Swim Ireland are at fault here they should be keeping swimmers informed the error lies with the top end the head coach. McMahon is a super swimmer a great kid and all round genuine person, lets hope she re-focuses and does well in remaining events.
I’d hate to be in the hc shoes when McMahons coach talks to him a out the error.

Perhaps if she was in the south not the north this wouldn’t have happened????

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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