Mona McSharry wins Ireland’s first gold medal at World Juniors

Sligo swimmer takes 100m breaststroke title in Indianapolis in new senior record time

Ireland’s Mona McSharry won gold in the 100m breaststroke final at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s Mona McSharry won gold in the 100m breaststroke final at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. Photograph: Inpho

 

Sligo teenager Mona McSharry made history in Indianapolis on Saturday night as she became the first Irish swimmer to win gold at the World Junior Swimming Championships.

The 17-year-old from Grange was victorious in the 100 metres breaststroke, breaking the national senior record as she touched the wall in 1:07.10 to beat Canadian favourite Faith Nelson. Zoe Bartel of the United States took the bronze medal.

McSharry, a member of the Marlins Swimming Club in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, led after 50 metres in a split time of 35.81, and held off her opponents to claim a famous victory.

McSharry punched the air at the Indiana University pool after realising her achievement.

Speaking after the medal ceremony, she said: “It’s wonderful to win here at the World Juniors, to stand on top of the podium and hear our anthem played. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me on my journey so far; and now for the 200m [breaststroke] – I’m not finished yet!”

In just eight weeks,McSharry has won world and European 100m breaststroke Gold, world bronze and European gold in the 50m breaststroke and European 200m breaststroke silver. The world 200m event takes place on Monday.

Also in action on Saturday night, Conor Ferguson came agonisingly close to a medal in the 50m backstroke final. The Bangor swimmer, who claimed Ireland’s first ever medal at the event in the 100m backstroke on Thursday, touched in 25.48 seconds, just one tenth of a second off Poland’s Kacper Stokowski who won bronze in 25.38.

USA’s Michael Andrew topped the podium in 24.63 seconds, the American then went on to win the 50m freestyle final in 21.75 seconds.

On Sunday, McSharry returns for the 50m freestyle heats, Robbie Powell and Jack McMillan swim the 100m freestyle and Ellen Walshe will compete in the 100m butterfly.

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