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going for gold Qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics is a 'dream come true' for Ireland's Mona McSharry

The Sligo swimmer qualified on Tuesday with a personal best in the 100m breaststroke

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Swimmer Mona McSharry. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Swimmer Mona McSharry. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Swimmer Mona McSharry. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sligo swimmer Mona McSharry has said her Olympic qualification is “a dream come true.”

The 20-year-old, who attends the University of Tennessee, secured her place at the Tokyo Games at the Irish Olympic Trials on Tuesday.

Before this week’s race, McSharry’s lifetime best in the 100m breaststroke was three hundredths of a second outside the 1.07.07 qualifying time.

But in Tuesday morning’s heats, the swimmer went under 1.07 for the first time in her career and earned a new Irish senior record of 1.06.97, booking her place at the upcoming Tokyo Games.

It is the first time an Irish female swimmer has ever broken 1.07 for the 100m breaststroke in a long course pool.

McSharry will also compete in the 200m breaststroke trial this week, where she will be hoping to qualify for a second event in the Olympics.

Speaking to the Off the Ball podcast, the Marlin’s Swimming Club star spoke of her victory, saying that “it’s a dream come true.”

“It’s still sinking in slowly... This has been weighing on my mind since 2016 really because I knew that I was close enough in 2016 to know that I would definitely be able to make the 2020... It’s great to have it done and just be able to enjoy racing again,” Mona said.

“I kind of moved away from the 200m over the last few years and really focused in on the 100m and that’s great, I’ve qualified in that now so it takes a bit of the stress off.

“If I can qualify in another event, that would be great. Two events at the Olympics would be just amazing.”

The Sligo native told listeners about one of her earliest memories watching the Olympics when they took place in London back in 2012.

She credited Lithuania’s Rūta Meilutytė, who became a gold medalist at the age of 15 in the 100m breaststroke event, as her inspiration.

McSharry explained: “I definitely remember watching 2012 and watching Rūta who was a really good 100m breaststroker back then. I think she was only 15 and she won the 100m breaststroke at the age of 15. Just watching that was unbelievable for me.

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“Watching her do it at such a young age was so inspiring because I could kind of relate to that a lot more than someone who was 21 or 22 and that was kind of my first moment. I guess from that point on, 12- or 13-year-old me was thinking, ‘I’d like to be there. I’d like to be at the Olympics,’” she added.

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