|Swim Ireland’s team for their premier benchmark meet of 2018, the LEN European Championships in Glasgow will be spearheaded by 2017 World University Games Champion Shane Ryan and 2017 World Junior Champion Mona McSharry.
National Performance Director Jon Rudd has confirmed a selection of twelve athletes to the Irish team for the event in August of this year, following their first ever sole selection trials period, simultaneously utilising the Irish Open in Dublin and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast to finalise all of their summer National Teams. Swim Ireland’s Selection Policy for the European Championships allowed a junior element within the team to be added to the senior contingent for prospective development purposes and Rudd also states that relays are very much in mind with this selection alongside individual performance.
World Junior silver medallist Conor Ferguson secures his place alongside athletes making significant progress under the guidance of National Senior Team Head Coach Ben Higson, with Darragh Greene and Brendan Hyland both very much fitting this bill.
For the LEN European Junior Championships in Helsinki, a blend of individual and relay performance has again been considered with equal priority amongst the fifteen athletes selected, with Jack McMillan, Robert Powell and Niamh Coyne already displaying performances this season which will challenge the best in Europe when it comes to the event in July.
Ireland will also venture to the ISF World Schools Games Gymnasiade for the first time this year. The Morocco-based event will see a team of eight (seven of whom feature in of Ireland’s European Junior Championships team) travel to the competition as a tune up for Helsinki and gain vital multi-sport event experience as part of the opportunity.
Nominations to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) have also been made for a powerful quartet of athletes to feature at the IOC World Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries. McSharry, Coyne, McMillan and Powell will be considered by the OCI for selection ratification in the coming weeks.
National Performance Director Jon Rudd is very positive around the selections made and said, “We asked our athletes and coaches to step up and deliver performances in a sole trials period and this selection is a culmination of that process. Both our season best and lifetime best performances at the Irish Open and the Commonwealth Games were impressive in allowing us to do this and now we can focus on this final cycle into the summer and deliver again in each athlete’s benchmark meet. The Olympic Games creep ever-closer and they will be on before we know it. So opportunities and challenges such as those before us this summer must be used wisely – for the moment itself and in preparation for Tokyo come the summer of 2020. We can both feel and see the progress and the summer of 2018 has to be the next stage for us in that sense.”
*The qualification period for Divers remains open to April 30th and the teams for European Senior and Junior Championships will be announced shortly after.