Brilliant bronze for Mona McSharry at World Championships

Sligo’s Mona McSharry has claimed a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis.

The Marlins Ballyshannon club member was less than point-two of a second behind the winner when finishing third in last night’s 50 metres breaststroke final.

The 17-year-old Grange native will now turn her attention towards here specialist distance today when she goes in the heats of the 100 metres.

In an historic night for Irish swimming Conor Ferguson also collected silver, in what were Ireland’s first ever medals in the sixth edition of the event. The result follows Shane Ryan’s 50m Backstroke Gold medal win at the World University Games yesterday, Ireland’s first gold medal in the pool at the event in 26 years.

After cruising to victory his semi-final swim on Wednesday night, 17-year-old Ferguson was in fourth place at the halfway mark but a speedy 27.96 second half saw the Bangor swimmer touch in 54.51 seconds for Ireland’s first World Junior Championship medal.

Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez set a new meet record for the gold medal in 54.27 while Romania’s Daniel Martin was third in 54.55.

McSharry then added World Junior Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke to her European Junior Title. In an extremely tight contest the Marlins Donegal swimmer touched in 30.97 seconds, winning Ireland’s second medal in just 20 minutes.

USA’s Emily Weiss captured gold in 30.78 and Canada’s Faith Knelson was just six hundredths of a second ahead of McSharry for silver in 30.91 seconds.

After their medal winning performances Ferguson (Backstroke) and McSharry (Breaststroke) returned to the pool for the final of the Mixed Medley Relay. Joined by Ellen Walshe (Butterfly) and Robbie Powell (Freestyle), the quartet took almost two seconds off the Irish Senior Record in the event finishing sixth in 3 minutes 52.38 seconds. Ferguson and McSharry with Emma Reid and Gerry Quinn had held the previous record at 3:54.09.

Speaking after the relay a delighted Ferguson said “It’s great to get a medal at the start of meet and that sets me up well for the 200m (Backstroke) later-on.  I felt really honoured to lead out the relay team on the world stage and feel proud that the four of us broke the Irish Senior Record.”

McSharry commented “I’m pleased with a medal at the beginning of the meet particularly when my focus is on the Olympic events (100m, 200m Breaststroke). The relay final was a proud moment too, spectacular for all of us. I love moments like that and hope we have many more between now and Tokyo”.

Ferguson, McSharry, Walshe and Powell are all back in action today (Friday), Ferguson in the 50m Backstroke, McSharry and Niamh Coyne in the 100m Breaststroke, Walshe in the 50m Butterfly and Powell in the 50m Freestyle.

World Junior Championships
Day 2 Results 
Thursday 24th August
200m Butterfly                  Ellen Walshe                    2:19.22 (25th)
200m Freestyle                 Jack McMillan                  1:51.12 (17th)
400m Medley Relay          Ireland (Mixed)                 3:54.12 (5th)     3:52.38 (6th) ISR
50m Breaststroke             Mona McSharry                H 31.41 (3rd)       SF 31.09 (1st)    30.97 (3rd)
100m Backstroke              Conor Ferguson               H 54.95 (1st)       SF 54.53 (2nd)   54.51 (2nd)

Day 3 Schedule
Friday 25th August (2.30pm)
50m Butterfly                     Ellen Walshe
50m Backstroke                Conor Ferguson
100m Breaststroke            Mona McSharry, Niamh Coyne
50m Freestyle                    Robbie Powell