MONA McSharry received a wet and warm welcome in Ballyshannon tonight on her way home from the Olympic Games.
Last week, McSharry reached the final of the 100m breaststroke – her specialised event.
The 20-year-old scholarship student at University of Tennessee has been living a dream this week.
The graduate of the Marlin’s Swimming Club in Ballyshannon, who hails from nearby Grange in Co Sligo, bridged a 25-year barrier in becoming Ireland’s first Olympic swimming finalist since Michelle Smith in Atlanta 1996.
The homecoming, organised by Marlin’s, saw her being escorted through the town before giving a short interview on the bridge.
A separate, joint homecoming event in Grange for Mona and Chris O’Donnell, may take place in Grange over the weekend.
McSharry finished second in her 200m breaststroke heat at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
In front until the final 50m of the heat, she finished runner up behind Kryistyna Horska, the Czech swimmer.
McSharry was just 0.05 seconds adrift in a time of 2:25.08.
That shaves 0.84 seconds off the 2:25.92 she clocked at the Irish Olympic Trials in April, but still wasn’t enough to secure qualification for the semi-finals with only the top 16 fastest going through.
McSharry’s time saw her ranked 20th overall in the heats.