FOR AN age , Mona McSharry has been dreaming of the Olympic Games.
Now, it will become reality.
Later this year, the 19-year-old will be on the starting blocks of the 100m breaststroke in Tokyo.
This morning, McSharry booked her spot on the plan after a stunning 1:06.97 effort at the Irish National Team Trials.
In one of the week’s early events, McSharry brought an empty National Aquatic Centre to life, setting a new Irish record in the process of beating the FINA A qualifying mark of 1:07.07.
“Sometimes you can forget to live in it for a minute, so I am definitely going to work on that today, because I have been striving for this for so long,” the Marlin’s Swimming Club sensation said.
“It’s still sinking in, but I am excited to go and jump around my apartment for a little while.”
McSharry made the turn in just over 31 seconds and when her head came up, the neon lights on the board confirmed it: She was bound for the Olympics.
She said: “Seeing 1.06 on the board is just overwhelming, it is just so good.”
Last year, McSharry moved to take up a scholarship at the University of Tennesse. She has been in scintillating form since making the transition across the Atlantic.
When the Covid-19 pandemic shut the world in 2020, McSharry was affected more than most. The closure of swimming pools brought new challenges, but the focus didn’t change. Last April, she vowed to Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub: “Next year, I’ll be stronger. I haven’t hit my peak or anything and I’m still building,”
Even then, the Olympic prospects for Tokyo appeared distant with Paris 2024 the firm target.
And yet, this summer the Land of the Rising Sun will come into view for McSharry.
McSharry holds 14 Irish individual records and is regarded as one of the most exciting talents across Irish sport with seven of those individual records are at senior level.
She said: “I was trying not to think about it this morning, which I’ve been doing the last three weeks.
“Just trying not to build it up so much in my head – it’s just another 100m Breaststroke and I’m just going to swim it.
“I had a set plan this morning and I have a very organised way that I do stuff to make sure I don’t have time to sit and worry about my race.
“I did have that wonder, does this burn and I’m not going fast enough, or is it because I’m pushing to new levels. It’s very hard to distinguish sometimes. You just have to push to the wall and see what the time is.
“I knew I was going to do it, and I knew I could do it, but it was still really nice to turn around and be surprised to see it on the board.”Tags: