05/08/2021

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Laois has another Olympic link to look forward to in Tokyo

shane ryan swimming

Shane Ryan with supporters at the Rio reception in 2016 at the Pint O'Port, Portarlington for the Olympic swimmer. Photo: Michael Scully .

Laois and Portarlington can look forward to cheering on an athlete on the double in this year's Tokyo Olympics.

Irish American Shane Ryan had already qualified for the 100m Backstroke in swimming but he'll be looking forward to another event this summer in Japan in the green of his father Tom who hails from Portarlington.

Ireland have been invited by FINA to send two relays - the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay and Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay - to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

Shane is part of the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay team.

It was Ireland’s goal at the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Budapest last month to qualify at least one relay team for Tokyo 2021, and every relay team that competed at that Championships broke the associated Irish Senior Record to help vindicate Ireland's explicit relay focus for that particular meet.

The Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay set two new Irish Senior Records en route to their invite, finishing with 7:12.00, and the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay set a new standard of 3:34.62 in the Budapest heats, with both times proving to be historic in earning Ireland their first Olympic relay invites since 1972.

Swim Ireland’s National Performance Director Jon Rudd said: “This is a truly a historic moment for Irish swimming and for us all to be part of that, and for the Irish swimming community to have something huge to celebrate after such challenging times of late for our sport is so inspiring and uplifting.

“The athletes have done a remarkable job here in not getting one but two relays over the line, something we haven't achieved for 49 years. The coaches and practitioners who work day in, day out, with these athletes must also receive our praise and our thanks. Now we prepare to do our nation proud in Tokyo - and give everyone a summer of excitement to look forward to," he said.

Shane celebrated his swim in Rio in 2016 with a return to Portarlington where he has plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins. No doubt, he'll be back again aftre Tokyo.

The swimmer chose to base himself in Ireland through the pandemic which has meant he has not seen much of his family in the past year in the USA.

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