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Bursting with pride Mona McSharry's mum shares her delight at daughter's Olympics achievement

The 20-year-old Sligo woman became only the second Irish swimmer ever to make an Olympic final

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Ireland's Mona McSharry

Ireland's Mona McSharry

Ireland's Mona McSharry

The proud mother of Mona McSharry, who made history at Tokyo 2020 this week when she made it to the finals of the 100m breaststroke, has spoken of how they would have loved to go to Olympics to cheer her on. 

The 20-year-old Sligo woman became only the second Irish swimmer ever to make an Olympic final.

She finished fourth in her semi-final to qualify in eighth overall when she clocked a time of one minute 6.59 seconds, just 0.3 of a second off her Irish record.

Speaking on RTE Radio this morning, her mum Viola, said: “Of course, we would have loved to go and be there in person but we were just glad in the end that the Olympics actually took place and that the athletes could go and perform.

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Mona and her family on Ireland's Fittest Family

Mona and her family on Ireland's Fittest Family

Mona and her family on Ireland's Fittest Family

“Because it looked like for a while there that it wasn't going to happen at all. So we’re just glad that they all could go ahead and put their training to the test.”

The McSharry family are no strangers to hard work, having been named as the winners of Ireland's Fittest Family back in 2019, following a thrilling and fiercely competitive finale.

Under the guidance of coach Donncha O'Callaghan, Mona - along with her mother, father, and brother, the team of adventurous and active athletes excelled from the start.

Mona, then just 18-years-old, had already made a name for herself as an accomplished swimmer, and had represented Ireland at an international level and won numerous medals and championships.

She was joined by her younger brother Mouric, then 16, and their parents, Aidan and Viola, who were as adventurous and competitive as the other.

“We squeezed that in while Mona wasn't training so hard after recovering from glandular fever, so it kind of slotted in nicely,” Viola explained, adding, “we all try and do our best”.

However, Viola revealed that behind the scenes there have often been disappointments and challenges in Mona’s rise to success.

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“There have been many races when she comes out of the pool disappointed and that’s the hard side,” she said.

“You have to pick yourself up afterwards and get back to training and go back with the same intensity and that's where Mona I think is very, very good. She just kind of gets straight back into it. She had glandular fever there in 2018 so that took her out of the pool for a long time and then Covid came so it was a very unusual time.”

Karen Somerville of Ballyshannon Marlins, Mona's club, said: “Our hearts are just bursting with pride. It has been such a wonderful few days and there has been huge excitement here in Ballyshannon.

“She is a wonderful, wonderful person as well as a fantastic swimmer and it was just amazing watching her walking out there with a beaming smile on her face.

“She is such an inspiration and a role model for all our young swimmers,” Karen added. “They’re back in the pool this morning with a pep in their step, hoping to be the next Mona. It is just incredible.”


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