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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 19 October, 2018

Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Shane Ryan

The 22-year-old is one of three swimmers to represent Ireland in Rio.

Shane Ryan Ryan has one year left in his degree in Sports Management at Penn State University. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Event: Swimming; 100m backstroke, 50m and 100m freestyle.

Who is he? Ryan is one of three Irish swimmers to have qualified for the Olympics, along with Fiona Doyle and Nicholas Quinn.

Where’s he from? The 22-year-old was born in Pennsylvania in the United States, but has strong Irish roots through his Portarlington-born father.

Olympic CV: The Penn State student will be competing in his first Olympics this summer in Rio. Although he has represented the United States in previous competitions in the past, Ryan has said his intention was always to represent Ireland at the Olympics.

Road to Rio: Ryan’s first outing as an official Irish swimmer came in May’s European Championships, where he made the 100m backstroke final.

Nicholas Quinn and Shane Ryan Source: Andrea Staccioli/INPHO

Ryan had already achieved the Olympic standard qualifying time in Bangor back in March when he clocked a time of 53.93 in his gold medal performance in the 100m backstroke final at the Swim Ireland Dave McCullagh/Swim Ulster International.

When does he start? You’ll first be able to see Ryan on the opening weekend of the Games. His first heat takes place on Sunday 7 August at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

Where can I follow him? You can catch Ryan on Facebook here.

What he says:

I played (GAA) when I was younger. Where I’m from, there’s a bunch of Irish people. I didn’t really get into swimming until about four years ago — that’s (in terms of) doing doubles (training in the morning and afternoon) and lifting. Then I just dropped a significant amount of time — three seconds in one year just from the training.

The42 caught up with Ryan earlier this month, and you can read the full feature here.

Medal chances? After making the final in his favoured event, the 100m backstroke, in the European Championships, a place in the semi-finals would represent a fine achievement. Still, Ryan would be an outside bet to make the final so he scores two out of five on The42‘s scientifically-developed, patented Jerry Kiernan scale…


And here’s something you probably didn’t know: Ryan has spent the past year living in Ireland in order to be eligible to represent the country. He also shares a house with diver Oliver Dingley in the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown and works as an intern with the Football Association of Ireland in the events and marketing department.

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About the author:

Shane Costello

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