13 Aug 2022

Laois Irish American Olympic swimmer 'was freaking out' during lockdown as family caught Covid-19


Shane Ryan with his father Tom who caught Covid-19 in the USA while his son Shane lockeddown in Ireland.

Ireland's Olympic swimmer with Laois roots Shane Ryan has revealed how he completed isolated in Ireland during the Covid-19 lockdown while his family in the USA contracted the virus.

Speaking to the Irish Independent Shane, who's dad Tom hails from Portarlington, said he went into solitary confinement in Dublin rather than returning to the USA to his family live in Pennsylvania.

"I had no human contact whatsoever for a full three months. I knew it was going to be bad over there. I wanted to stay here. this is my home, I'm comfortable here," he said.

He revealed how his Laois dad, mother Mary and sisters Beth and Sara all caught Covid-19.

"I had to sit here, by myself, worrying my butt off about them making it through. It took my parents about three-and-a-half weeks to recover. My sister, who goes to Syracuse (University) in New York, got the flu in January. Then she got the coronavirus and she was like 'this is different'. She lost her taste and smell. It was just awful.

"I was freaking out. I wanted to take care of them. They are very strong-willed and stayed away from everything. but they're doing really well now," he said.

Shane, who was due to compete for Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics, doesn't expect to see his family for about a year.

While lockdown was an emotional rollercoaster, he says that while he missed swimming he has bulked up.

"I came out of the quarantine 2kg heavier with muscle and only 10% body fat which was pretty good. So, I'm over the moon with that," he said.

Back swimming again Shane, who has plenty of relatives in Laois, is looking forward.

"I love to live my life. I'm an optimistic type of person. We're really blessed to be back in the water. Everything is moving in the right direction. the lockdown was a good opportunity for every athlete to make themselves stronger mentally," he says.

Shane is looking forward to competing in Italy on August 11 to 14.

The Team Ireland swimmer was speaking at the announcement fo the Circle K's Here for Ireland initiative. 


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