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Swimmer Mona McSharry Falls Agonisingly Short In First Senior Final

Swimmer Mona McSharry Falls Agonisingly Short In First Senior Final

It has been a staggeringly good year for the 17-year old swimmer from Sligo, Mona McSharry.

After claiming Ireland's first gold medal at the World Junior Swimming Championships in August, McSharry can look back on a 2017 that also brought two more gold medals at European level.

Tonight, to top it all off, McSharry will discover whether she can become the inaugural winner of RTÉ's young sportsperson of the year award.

Yet, 2017 was not yet over for the Sligo swimmer.

Competing this afternoon in Copenhagen, McSharry participated in her first senior international final. Swimming the 100m breaststroke at the European Short Course Championships, it was yet another step toward her ideal participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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Having qualified eighth-fastest overall, the 17 year old was never going to be a favourite for this afternoon's race.

Already the youngest in the pool by some distance, McSharry was careful to temper expectations in a recent discussion with the Irish Independent:

People expect success but they don't realise how big the jump is to senior.

I'm ready and excited to do it but there's that in the back of my mind.

Yet, despite her relative inexperience at this level, McSharry managed to finish in 5th place - o.2 of a second off the medals. Incredibly, despite being just 17 years of age, McSharry set a new Irish senior record in the process.

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Given the highly pressurised surroundings, that is no mean feat whatsoever.

With such a solid foundation laid for 2018, the 17-year old Sligo native continues to set new targets for herself.

Certainly one to keep an eye on next year.

See Also: Do The GAA Have Any Place Among RTÉ's Sports Awards?

 

Arthur James O'Dea

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