Swim Ireland's team for the FINA World Championships in Korea this week was set to be spearheaded by Laois swimmer Shane Ryan, but unfortunately he has endured a tough start to the championships.
The FINA World Championships kicked off at the Nabu University Municipal Aquatic Centre in Gwangju, South Korea earlier this month. A team of three divers and ten swimmers, Ireland’s biggest ever World Championships team, have their first opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games during the course of the World Championships.
Portarlington’s Shane Ryan, Ireland’s first ever medalist at the World Championships in 2018, was hoping to lead the Irish team in pursuit of a place in Tokyo.
Ryan started his games with the Ireland’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team alongside Robbie Powell, Jordan Sloan and Jack McMillan where they were in record breaking form with the quartet combining for a time of 3:17.38 in the heats, knocking two tenths of a second off the previous record (3:17.55) set at the 2018 European Championships.
Ryan continued to the 100m Backstroke on Monday morning, and went into the event off the back of setting a new Irish senior record of 53.73 seconds at the Irish Open Swimming Championships at the NAC in Dublin back in March.
However, a bad start to the race proved to be his downfall, and he couldn't make up the sufficient distance to claw his way into qualifying from heat 6. He finished with a time 54.24 in seventh place, and only 1.39 seconds behind qualifying for the semi-finals.
All is not lost for Ryan though, as he still has a 50m Backstroke on Saturday and 4x100m Medley Relay on Sunday to turn his attentions to. He will be hoping he can get back to his very best, which will see him back in contention in those events.
We'll keep you updated on Shane Ryan's progress after the weekend's results. Best of luck Shane.