Magic Mona – Bronze For McSharry At World Championships

Mona McSharry surged her way to a bronze medal at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.

A new Irish record – her sixth in the last five days – saw McSharry take third in the 100m breaststroke final.

Drawn in lane 3, McSharry touched the wall in 1:03.92, taking 0.3 seconds off the record she broke in Sunday’s semi-final.

The 21-year-old finished superbly over the last 25 metres to pip Alia Atkinson from Jamaica, the defending champion, world record holder and four-time world gold medalist, to the bronze.

The race was won by Qiating Tang from China in 1:03.47 with Sweden’s Sophie Hansson claiming the silver in 1:03.50.

McSharry, who cut her teeth at the Marlins Swimming Club in Ballyshannon, has had a stunning time in Abu Dhabi. Having been pipped for a medal in the 50m breaststroke final, a determined McSharry reached with all her might to take her spot on the podium in her favourite event.

Ireland’s Mona McSharry waits for confirmation she had won a bronze medal, which she indeed had, in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final at the Fina World Swimming Championships, at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi. Pic. Andrea Staccioli-Inpho

Earlier this year, McSharry was a finalist in the 100m breaststroke at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

She set six new Irish marks at the Emirates Arena, breaking each of the 100m breaststroke, 100m individual medley and 50m breaststroke records twice.

A new PB of 1:04.22 booked McSharry’s spot in the 100m breaststroke final as the third fastest qualifier from Sunday’s semi-finals, having come through her heat in 1:04.59.

Her previous 100m breaststroke best was the 1:04.36 she swam at the 2019 European Short Course Championships in Birmingham.

In 2017, McSharry won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis.

Earlier this year, the Grange native qualified for the 100m breaststroke final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she finished in eighth spot.

The University of Tennessee kinesiology student, who has won silver and bronze medals at NCAA Championships since relocating to America in 2020, took her scintillating form to Abu Dhabi.

In her 100m individual medley semi-final on Saturday, McSharry swam 59.35 seconds, having become the first Irish woman to dip underneath a minute when recording 59.65 seconds in the heat. She placed 13th overall in the 100m individual medley.

“My target was to break the minute,” she said.

“I’ve kind of had that on my mind for a couple of years. I’m really happy with how that went.

“It definitely hurt coming home but it was a really good time.”

McSharry broke the Irish record twice on her way to finishing fourth in the 50m breaststroke.

The Grange woman finished Friday’s final in 29.59 seconds, breaking the new mark of 29.65 seconds she had set in Thursday’s semi-final.

McSharry was just 0.04 seconds off Sweden’s Sophie Hansson, the bronze medalist, in the 50m breaststroke final, which was won by Anastasia Gorbenko from Israel (29.34 seconds) with Benedetta Pilato (Italy) winning bronze in 29.50 seconds.

‘Amazing’ – Mona McSharry Reflects On World Championship Bronze Medal

Mona McSharry says her ability to ‘change in the moment’ helped her clinch a World bronze medal.

McSharry scooped bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi, swimming a new Irish record time of 1:03.92.

After being agonisingly beaten to a medal in Friday’s 50m breaststroke final, when she finished fourth, McSharry landed a podium spot on Monday.

“I was definitely nervous going into it because I knew I had the potential to medal,” McSharry said.

“It’s really nice to see it all come together in a race because sometimes it doesn’t work out. I felt really good and I’m glad to drop the time too.”

McSharry, a World Junior gold medalist in 2017, has set six new Irish records this week in Abu Dhabi, twice setting new marks in each of the 50m breaststroke, 100m individual medley and 100m breaststroke.

Mona McSharry has won a bronze medal at the World Short Course Swimming Championships..

In Monday’s final, McSharry was fourth at the half-way mark, but came with a superb finish to edge Jamaican star Alia Atkinson, the defending champion and world record holder, to the bronze, with Qiating Tang (China) taking gold and Sophie Hansson (Sweden) wining silver.

The 21-year-old, who was a 100m breaststroke finalist at the Olympic Games in August, pointed to her adaptability as one of the reasons for her success.

She said: “Being able to change in the moment and work on improving stuff through the rounds. I think this racing all together has showed that because I’ve progressed through each round, which was really nice to see.”

McSharry’s Irish team-mate and fellow University of Tennessee student Ellen Walsh won silver in the 400m Individual Medley, while Jack McMillan reached the final of the 100m freestyle.

McSharry said: “It’s been amazing. It’s been really enjoyable to watch other team-mates swim really well and have a great time.This is the first time that we’ve been together since the Olympcs.

“It’s much the same swimmers and it’s really nice to have fund and compete together, up against the best in the world.”

In 2020, McSharry – who advanced at the Marlins Swimming Club in Ballyshannon – moved from her native Grange to Tennessee. A student of kinesiology, McSharry won silver (100m breaststroke) and bronze (200m breaststroke) at the NCAA Championships in March.

She said: “It’s been really good. It’s been busy and they keep us competing a lot.

“That’s what you need, especially with long competitions like this. You need to be able to get up, race and get your hands on the wall first. That’s what I’ve learned in Tennessee.”

McSharry is also entered in the 200m breaststroke, which gets underway on Tuesday at the Emirates Arena.

Mona Mc Sharry

Mona McSharry’s Irish Senior Record Swims in Abu Dhabi

50m Breaststroke Semi-Final – 29.65

50m Breaststroke Final – 29.59

100m Individual Medley Heats – 59.65

100m Individual Medley Semi-Final – 59.35

100m Breaststroke Semi-Final  – 1:04.22

100m Breaststroke Final – 1:03.92

200m Breaststroke Heats – 2:21.59

200m Breaststroke Final – 2:20.19

(Source – Donegal Democrat / Donegal Live – Chris Mc Nulty – 20/12/2021)

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