Shane Ryan wins 50m backstroke gold in Taipei

US-born swimmer sets a new Irish record of 24.72 at the World University Games

Shane Ryan won 50m backstroke gold at the World University Games. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Shane Ryan won 50m backstroke gold at the World University Games. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Shane Ryan has set a new Irish record on his way to winning gold in the 50m backstroke at the World University Games.

US-born Ryan edged out the USA’s Justin Ress to take top spot – beating the world number two by 0.01 seconds in Taipei.

Ryan’s medal is just Ireland’s second gold at the Games, following the one won by Gary O’Toole in 1991.

In Tuesday’s preliminaries Ryan swam a time of 24.97 – breaking his own record from 2016 and becoming for first Irish swimmer to swim the 50m backstroke in under 25 seconds.

And he went one better in Wednesday’s final, as he won with a time of 24.72.

Ress, who had won 100m backstroke gold on Monday, finished in second place in 24.73. Korea’s Youngjun Won was third in 25.06 seconds.

Ryan just missed a podium place on Monday when he finished fourth in the 100m final behind Ress.

“All I wanted to do was win,” admitted Ryan after the race. “I knew it was going to be tough but I believed I could do it. I’m honoured to be bringing the gold medal home to Ireland.”

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