Family of Mona McSharry say they are ‘very proud’ of Sligo swimmer

Twenty-year-old was first Irish person to reach a swimming Olympic final in 25 years

Mona McSharry reached the women’s 100m breaststroke  final. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Mona McSharry reached the women’s 100m breaststroke final. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

A 20-year-old Irish swimmer has ended her historic week at the Tokyo Olympics by finishing in eighth place in the women’s 100m breaststroke final.

Mona McSharry from Sligo finished with a time of 1:06.94 seconds.

This was her first Olympic Games, and she now has her sights set on the Paris games which will take place in three years time.

Mona is the first Irish Olympic swimming finalist in 25 years.

She swam in lane 8 in the Tokyo Aquatic centre just after 3am Irish time.

She came two seconds behind American Lydia Jacoby, who won the event. Ms Jacoby’s time was 1:04.95 seconds.

Mona said she was very proud of her achievement. “It’s amazing. When you think about it like that, 25 years and there hasn’t been anyone else, I think it puts it into perspective,” she said after her swim.

She added it was hard to tell how well she was doing while she was racing. “It definitely felt like a good race and anything sub [under] 1:07 is a good race in my mind, so I’m happy with the race.”

Mona will also compete in the 200m breaststroke on Wednesday. She said she was not feeling as nervous about this event.

“You know, it’s not my main event so I think there’s a bit more relaxation I guess, so I’m just going to see what happens.”

Mona’s mother, Viola, said that her daughter will now set herself new goals for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

Ms McSharry told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that her daughter started out small by training in the local pool.

She first noticed her daughter’s aptitude for swimming when she was 10 or 11.

However, it was “gruelling” sport and Ms McSharry said Mona was very fortunate that her local swimming pool in Ballyshannon worked around her school schedule so she could train early in the morning and after school.

Ms McSharry added that the past few years were challenging for the swimmer. She suffered glandular fever in 2018 and 2019 and then the pandemic hit.

Mona’s father Aidan said it was really special for his daughter to reach the Olympics in Tokyo. “I didn’t think she’d go as far as she did, but we’re really, really happy that she did for her and for us of course and my family here, that she’s done us really proud.”

Her sister Luca said Mona’s achievement was incredible. “You stop for a second and you think it is really amazing – she’s gone to the Olympics, gone all the way to the finals – that’s pretty cool.”

Her brother Mouric was still taking it all in. “It’s hard to comprehend now straight afterward, it will take a minute to set in, but I’m very proud first off. It’s great that she can go out there in her first Olympics, make it to a final and do so well.”

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